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BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 20 AUGUST '14
Dr Mariano Spiezia MD on staying attuned to seasonal cycles
I have always loved autumn: it’s a transitional time when Nature — including our bodies — prepares for winter rest after the hectic and intense activities of summer.
Generally speaking, transitions are very important in our evolution: they allow us to follow life’s cycles and they break mental patterns so we can evolve towards new ones. In the I Ching, or ‘Book of Changes’, creation is the result of the encounter between energy and matter, consciousness and form, cosmos and Earth; the changes manifest this constant movement of life during its expression and evolution. To be ‘alive’ we must change constantly from one level to another — and by observing Nature closely we can better understand seasonal changes and how they reflect in our bodies and our skin.
The colours of change
A few years ago I had the joy of experiencing the extraordinary autumn scenery of the Lake District. I was struck by the natural variations of colour: from rust to orange, from light brown to burgundy, from intense yellow to ochre. An orchestra of shades that enchanted my heart.
The colours of the leaves change because of the lower external temperature and lack of light; chlorophyll is no longer produced and what is left in the leaf starts a natural process of degradation. The consequence is that other pigments, carotenoids and anthocyanins, will appear on the scene, giving the yellow and reddish colours.
Another interesting thing I noticed was that the autumnal colours are in the lower part of the iris’ spectrum, representing a natural movement towards a reduction of the frequency and the ‘resting zone’ of the light, in line with those changes that bring the contraction and introspection of the autumn season.
A time to ‘be’
It is a time when Nature retracts the energy from outside, pushing roots back into the soil in preparation for the coming cold. From a psychological point of view we are more prone to ‘be’ than to ‘do’ during this time.
We’re drawn to roots and hot food, and want to spend more time at home in a warm, closed environment. Our inner metabolism changes, increasing the production of cortisol, and we need more carbohydrates and fat to generate heat.
Internal fluids slow down and our circulation withdraws from the external layers, focusing instead on better supplying the inner organs. This is why the skin becomes paler, colder, less oxygenated and more prone to flaking, as less fat is contained in its hydrolipidic layer (epidermis).
Because of the impact of the elements, plus pollution, central heating and all other environmental and metabolic changes, the skin can become arid and dry. People are affected in both the home and the workplace; the dry air produced by central heating damages the respiratory tract and dries the skin, dehydrating it and speeding up the ageing process. Central heating also speeds up the loss of water through the skin, increasing natural evaporation (perspiration insensibilis). In a normal situation we lose 700ml of our internal water daily, but central heating will increase this amount.
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