The fall season is abundant with the smell of spices and baked foods, and its drying and aromatic ingredients are especially beneficial for Fall body types, who tend to experience a heavy, sluggish feeling that pervades throughout the mind and body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, these body types have an excess of cold and dampness that should be balanced by warming and drying the body.
Fall types generally exhibit the following signs and symptoms: cold and clammy hands, water retention, edema, or swollen, arthritic joints which feel worse in cold, damp weather. These body types tend to store weight easily. They complain of a heavy sensation in the body or a congested, muzzy feeling in the head due to sinus congestion or post-nasal drip. Cautious and deliberate, Fall body types may also have a gloomy outlook and a hard time recovering from loss.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
– Albert Camus
The diet of Fall body types should incorporate warming foods cooked with a bit of spice. Baked dishes and casseroles are recommended, as they help to warm and dry the latent cold and damp intrinsic to these body types. Drying grains (e.g. barley, rye, and buckwheat) and foods with diuretic properties (e.g. corn, legumes, and lettuce) can also be helpful for resolving fluid retention, swelling, edema, and symptoms of arthritis.
In order to generate the internal warmth and energy they need, Fall types need to be mindful of encouraging optimal digestion; they must be able to absorb a food’s qi and properly transform it for use by the body. They should minimize their consumption of fats and sweets, because these foods impair the gut’s ability to digest and assimilate nutrients, and also hamper detoxification in the liver. Dairy products should also be minimized as they tend to be too moistening and congestive for these types.
Whole, drying grains
Baked dishes, casseroles, and slow-cooked foods
Foods that promote diuresis and drain excess fluids
Dairy products, especially ice cream
Raw foods and iced drinks
Unfermented soy products
Fried and fatty foods
To clear out the heavy fog and muzzy-headedness they commonly feel, Fall types should consider adding some zest and fervor to their routines. These types need to shed the emotional clutter in their lives and bring their attention to more carefree pleasures instead. Activities that are enjoyed in the company of others, like group hobbies or social clubs, are beneficial. Engaging and volunteering in the community can also help to enliven their spirits and provide them with a sense of social purpose.
As Fall body types learn to lighten up their emotional outlook, they can transform their feelings of heaviness and worry into a more joyous, lighthearted state of being. Practicing gratitude exercises and keeping a journal can help these types to better appreciate life’s mysteries and the human condition. Techniques like progressive relaxation, visualization, and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can also assist them to lighten and release in both their mental and physical realms.
Most Fall types benefit from the introduction or intensification of physical activity. Regular physical activity can help these types to burn off their feelings of heaviness and lose excess weight they may be carrying. Aerobic exercise not only raises the heart rate, but also encourages the release of excess moisture through sweating. Fall body types also benefit from regular massages, which promote movement and circulation.
For Fall types, the most challenging part may be finding the motivation to get started with a physical routine. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, these types should seek out activities that are fun and hold their interest. Laughter yoga is one activity that promotes physical movement in a lighthearted way and helps to clear out blocked emotions. Fall body types may also consider adding some spice to their routines through salsa or dance lessons. Team sports can provide some additional, external motivation, while also offering the social benefits and camaraderie found in group settings.