I love the fall season. The rains begin, ensuring that our Emerald City will remain emerald green. The bright sunshine of summer softens to a ruddy gold. And the lush greens of our Northwestern maple, birch and ash trees begin to glow yellow, red and orange. When I was a child the combination of cooler weather, fall colors, and a new school year evoked great excitement. Halloween was coming, with Christmas close behind!
Now that I have grown up and have kids of my own, the onset of autumn has taken on additional meaning: the beginning of flu and cold season. My naturopath taught me years ago that human beings have a natural rhythm that coincides with the seasons. Just as in the summer we are active and take advantage of the long, warm days, in the fall our bodies are meant to slow down, repair and prepare for the cold winter days ahead.
If we ignore this natural rhythm, we risk growing tired and wearing down our immune system, making us susceptible to viral infection. Culturally, we tend to ignore the seasonal rhythms of our bodies. And as we plow headlong into fall and winter and the stress of the holidays, influenza becomes so prominent that immunization programs begin to look like a good idea.
One fall afternoon in my doctor's office I was struggling against general fatigue and repeated bouts of cold and flu. My doctor repeated his lesson on the rhythm of the seasons, and gave me the best medical advice of my life: Go to a spa, get a massage, treat yourself gently, and get lots of rest.
Admittedly, I was initially confused. I was expecting a witch's brew of bitter herbs, odd supplements, and soup. But my doctor explained that at this time of year our bodies most need rest to restore our immune systems. And the spa treatments and massages not only stimulate the liver and lymphatic system; they also get us to slow down, relax, breath more freely, and restore our bodies. In short, a trip to the spa could do more to help with avoiding the flu than anything else he could for me.
So, it's that time of year again; time for a trip to the spa for a few hours of rest and relaxation. Get a massage, a facial, a body scrub. Have some tea and nice lunch. Take the time to be good to yourself and get the rest your need. Halloween is almost here and Christmas is coming.