By Martha O’Regan
I have had requests to re-run this article because “it just makes so much sense.” Yet, because it isn’t reinforced, it’s so easy to forget.
It’s that time of year again for summer colds with sore throats, sinus or chest congestion, sneezing, and coughing. They come on seemingly out of nowhere, usually without fever and not really bad enough to stay home but enough to bring discomfort and a wonder or frustration about what we are “coming down with.” In our culture, we call it a cold but more often than not it is merely a seasonal cleanse, a natural cleansing process in response to change of seasons — moving from the expansive season of summer to a contractive season of fall.
When we truly grasp that everything in all of creation is energy that follows predictable seasonal cycles, we can then begin to support certain changes in our body rather than immediately suppressing them, like we’ve been programmed to do. These expected rhythms come naturally through the foods we eat, the thoughts we think, and the activities we enjoy. As summer turns to fall, with cool mornings and warm afternoons, our bodies are following suit. We begin dressing in layers and enjoying foods that warm us up. The leaves begin to shrivel up and drop, and animals, following their innate wisdom, finish their preparations for winter. We experience the variation of temperatures in our environments as we move from warm homes or offices to cold cars or spend hours at a football game without enough layers. Because our body follows nature, these variations ultimately force the trillion cells in our body to go from an expanded state into a contractive or state. This squeezing process results in a detoxifying or cleansing process, which is often felt through our mucous membranes as a runny nose, sore throat and watery eyes. Our individual lifestyles and the amount of toxins our body is attempting to rid itself may make some of us feel worse than others as our body cleanses.
As soon as we begin to notice our body going through a seasonal cleanse, we can recognize that the symptoms we are feeling are a perfect response to the nature around us. It is actually good (albeit not always pleasant) and a natural occurrence based on basic laws of nature. Learning to begin with being grateful that our body is getting rid of the gunk and supporting the process by drinking plenty of water and herbal teas, allows us to take control of our own health and well being by getting adequate rest, utilizing essential oils, and flushing our sinuses with a neti pot or a simple saline spray.
It is most important to prevent the gunk from getting stuck, and becoming an ‘itis,” another word for inflammation. When the “gunk gets stuck” in the sinuses and causes the tissues to become inflamed, it becomes sinusitis. Likewise, “goop getting stuck” in the bronchioles in the lungs becomes bronchitis. Support the body by using contrast therapy (hot/cold) on your sinuses or your chest using ice packs and hot baths or showers. One good trick for sinuses is to stand at the kitchen sink with two bowls: one with ice cubes and one with a warm compress, preferably with a few drops of eucalyptus, thyme or lavender essential oils. Alternate holding the warm compress on your face over your sinus areas (above and below the eyebrow just at the bridge of the nose and along the bottom of the cheek bone), breathing deeply (until compress cools) then rubbing the same areas with the ice cubes. Keep the cubes moving, staying in each of the six locations for several seconds. Repeating at least three times finishing up with the ice will bring relief as you help keep the “gunk” moving — let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!
Remember that your body is always communicating with you, so as you enjoy the change of seasons, become aware of how your body responds to it. When you take the time to listen and support its natural processes, you can learn to live in your body with much more ease and vitality. Live Well … Have Fun!