Summer, Summer… Summertime!
- Posted on: Jul 10 2019
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective each season is associated with an element: earth, metal, water, wood and fire. Summertime, unsurprisingly, is associated with fire. Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or the greatest yang, which means it is a time of heat, movement, openness and is expressed outwardly. It is a season filled with ample energy, long days, sun and heat. As the season of yang, Summer is a time when the body undergoes dynamic metabolic processes. Summer is about expansion, activity and creativity. The Fire element manifests in our body through the heart, small intestine and pericardium organs. The color is red and the taste is bitter. The emotion associated with the Fire element is joy and is expressed as love, laughter, and enthusiasm.
The heart, as the main organ associated with the season of summer, should be a focus and nourished to remain healthy. The heart’s main function is to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, mental activity, also known as Shen in Chinese medicine, is associated with the heart. The Shen is often compared to our mind, but it is much more than that. The Shen includes our thought processes, memory, consciousness and emotional well-being. And summer is the season one should concentrate on calming the Shen and provide it with enrichment that will last throughout the whole year.
When the fire element is balanced:
the mind is calm
sleep is sound
the heart organ is strong and healthy
ability to give and receive love
ability to communicate clearly and resolve conflicts
have and express joy
If the fire element is not balanced:
depression or an excess of joy expressed as mania
inability to trust, inability to be vulnerable
blood and circulatory disorders
neck and shoulder pain
Tips to stay healthy or keep balanced this summer:
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and other fluids
- Wake up earlier in the morning
- Go to bed later in the evening
- Rest at midday
- Go outside
- Where light clothing
- Meditate and practice deep breathing
- Keep calm and refrain from anger
- Add pungent/bitter and cooling foods to your diet: apricot, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries tomatoes, lemon, peach, cucumber, orange, asparagus, sprouts, bamboo, bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, corn, white mushroom, snow peas, spinach, summer squash, watercress, seaweed, mung beans, cilantro, mint, dill, bitter gourd, wax gourd, lotus root, lotus seed, job’s tears, bean sprouts, duck and fish.
To live in accordance with nature and the seasons is one of the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Eating seasonal food and foods that compliment the temperament of the seasons can nourish deficiencies, cleanse toxicities and release excesses, while supporting immunity and strengthening body, mind and spirit.
Posted in: Acupuncture