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Promote Your Health by Letting Go

by Gretchen Belenchia

In my recent post, The Energetics of Fall, I wrote about the general energy of autumn. Today's post addresses one specific quality of the energy of fall from a Chinese Medicine perspective: the energy of letting go or releasing. You can cultivate this energy of letting go to promote your health.

Promote Your Health by Letting Go, Cloud Gate Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Broomfield, ColoradoThere are five elements in Chinese Medicine: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each element corresponds to a season. The season of autumn falls under the Metal element. The Metal element is also associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine, two organs in Chinese Medicine that have energetic properties in addition to their physiologic ones.

The energy associated with the Large Intestine is the energy of Letting Go. This is both a literal and a figurative quality…i.e. constipation (literal) and the inability to release emotions, thoughts, etc (figurative).

The energy of the Lungs is very much an exchange: a taking in (inhalation) and releasing (exhalation). Both are important to our balance and vitality (again: literally and figuratively), but our culture may need to focus a bit more on the releasing or letting go part of this exchange rather than the inhalation or taking in part.

Think about the amount of information you take in each day. We are inundated with information. If you follow the news, much of what you take in is negative. If you watch shows or use the internet, you are bound to see all sorts of advertisements vying for your attention and perhaps creating desire.

Cloud Gate offers Acupuncture in Broomfield, ColoradoAdded to this are our day-to-day stressors such as financial concerns, relationships, family, work, driving, tests, school, etc. All of these things are a part of our daily life, and we tend to carry them around with us. All of this information and worries that we carry around are a pretty heavy burden and may lead to various health concerns, such as anxiety and depression.

Perhaps our culture would be a bit healthier if we would learn to let go. One way we can do this is by observing our exhalation. In the book Nan Haui-Chin and Peter Senge, Master Nan Huai-Chin talks at length about the importance of proper exhalation and the health benefits received from proper exhalation.

Here are a few of Master Nan’s quotes about exhalation:

“The more one releases, the more one relaxes.”

“Haven’t you noticed how people get relief from tension, pain or exhaustion? They sigh, a very long one. They feel more comfortable after releasing the breath with a sigh. Animals do that, too.”

“People should laugh more. The action of laughing is out breathing in motion. You are relaxed when you laugh.”

Cloud Gate Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Broomfield, Colorado

Proper relaxation of the mind and body leads to better health. Letting go of tensions in our bodies and minds promotes better sleep and allows our bodies to heal from the stressors of the day.

Letting go of tensions in our bodies through the breath can also decrease our dependence on some unhealthy habits that we use to relieve tension such as alcohol, emotional eating, and nicotine.

Promote Your Health by Letting Go, Cloud Gate Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Broomfield, Colorado

Letting go begins with the breath, and fall is an excellent time to begin cultivating the energy of letting go.

Follow this energy right now by taking a breath and then observing your exhalation. Is it short or does it feel incomplete or shallow? Now, take your hand and place it over your lower belly.

On your next breath, take a deeper breath and a longer exhalation, but don’t force it. Keep it natural and repeat until you feel the smooth rise and fall of your hand on your belly. Repeat this process until you feel a shift in the tension in your body. Repeat throughout the day as necessary.

Letting go begins with the breath, but incorporating other healing practices into your lifestyle can help you to further release tension and relieve stress. These healing practices include acupuncture, yoga, qi gong, and meditation, just to name a few.

Promote your health today: breathe, let go, relax.