Fall is a natural time to express grief. The energy of this season descends and everything dies back. In the five elements (phases) framework of Chinese medicine, it is the Metal element, the season of the Lungs. The Lungs help us wail and sob, they get tight with big emotion and sigh with its release. They are also an aspect of our immune system, the physical and psychological barrier with the outside world, very open to influence (the biological lungs are literally open to the outside world) but also discerning around how and when we connect with others.Like a light mist among the mountains, they are a delicate and hydrating presence in our body. As the weather changes the Lungs become very vulnerable to the Wind, Cold and variable Heat of the transition from late summer into deep fall. We need to take extra care to keep the lungs clear and free from illness, like bundling up and eating warmer foods.

Chinese medicine says that dispersing the Lung energy, as we do in the Qigong exercise below, keeps the pores open and keeps Cold and Wind from lodging in the outermost layer of the body. This prevents upper respiratory infections and ensures the protective energy of the body is intact. Modern research has shown that Qigong boosts immune cells. Additionally, with this specific exercise, you will be able to treat yourself when you get a cold, cough, or flu, especially at the beginning stages. Doing this regularly through the season will help prevent illness from taking hold.

The Metal element is about clarity and purity, the discerning and analytical mind, values and ideals, and expression. I think of healthy Metal as the clear and compelling chime of a well-crafted bell that rings across the land. It is also about grief, which in its deepest form is a kind of cleansing. After a deep session of grief I feel bare, raw, new. The culture of the United States doesn’t allow for a lot of space for grief. The Metal element of this country has become largely rigid and brittle. There is no space in the analysis for feeling, and the rites of purification have become tainted with shame and judgement. There is little space for actual process, and we repress what should be expressed. The Metal rusts and cannot ring. This Qigong exercise is also an invitation into making a ritual of grief, so that our bodies can express what needs to be expressed and our Metal can ring true. 

Qigong (氣功) is broadly translated in English as “Qi” exercise or work. Qi is the functionality and energy of the body. Qigong is a broad practice that historically has many uses, with the practitioner attempting to gather, move, harmonize, refine or purify their energy and physical body depending on the goal. This particular Qigong exercise is for healing and comes from the Six Healing Sounds practice as I learned it from Master Jeffrey Yuen, passed down in his lineage from the Yu Qing Huang Lao Pai (Jade Purity Yellow Emperor Lao Zi School). This Qigong in its entirety has exercises for all the five elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Earth, and Fire. It promotes harmony with the seasons, as well as healing for any diseases associated with the seasonal qualities in us. Any mistakes in the exercise are my own and I do not pretend to represent this beautiful and deep lineage.


A nice compliment to this Qigong is this short guide on acupressure for respiratory health and anxiety from the Zócalo Wellness YouTube channel. It opens the chest and follows the Lung acupuncture channel from the shoulder to the tip of the thumb.


Finally, if you have our Massage in a Box product you can also use your cups to relieve tension in the chest, which goes very well with the above two exercises and further deepens the release. It is also a great way to relieve a simple cough from an upper respiratory infection or post-nasal drip. You can find that video in our member site.

Enjoy these resources for your continued health and happiness. May this offering be a doorway into deeper relationships with your body and the fall season, a time to let your body express what needs to be expressed, and feel nourished.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog post is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.