Summer Health

It’s summer!! What a wonderful time of year. It is not hard to see the flurry of activity that emerges with the hotter days of summer. People, plants and animals are all busy with activity this time of year. We might say that summer is the most Yang (active) of all the seasons. Everything is growing and maturing. It is the season of maximum expansion. All that spring planning is beginning to manifest! We only have to look to our gardens to see the activity of the season. Finally the tomatoes plants are high and the onions tips are long! I think everyone can relate that summer is a busy time of year, but oh so full of life! In Chinese Medicine summer corresponds to the Fire element. To give you a brief summary of the Five Element Theory take a look at the following chart: Fire generates Earth. Earth generates Metal. Metal generates Water. Water generates Wood. Wood generates Fire.

Antigonish Acupuncture: Five Elements

Each element corresponds to an organ system, an emotion, a season, a colour, a taste, a smell, a time of day, etc. Summer falls under the Fire element in Chinese Medicine and the organ system is the heart/small intestine. A strong and well balanced Fire element leads to strong heart that governs and circulates the blood. On a spiritual level the heart ?houses? the mind therefore love, warmth, enthusiasm, mental stability are also signs of a healthy Fire element.

Once again we find ourselves trying to live in harmony with nature. During summer the body is exposed to more heat and humidity so it becomes more important to eat cooling foods. Just as in winter our bodies want more warming foods now during the summer our bodies benefit from more cooling foods. Some examples are strawberries, watermelon, cucumber or mint. These foods provide a nice balance when the weather is hot and humid. The Yellow Emperor (regarded as the founder of Traditional Chinese Medicine) had some wisdom on the season of Summer in the ancient text The Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine:

In the three months of Summer there is an abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy descends, and the earthly energy rises. When these energies merge, there is intercourse between heaven and earth. As a result, plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly. One may retire somewhat later at this time of year, while still rising early. One should refrain from anger and stay physically active, to prevent the pores from closing and the Qi (energy) from stagnating. Emotionally it is important to be happy and easygoing and not hold on to grudges, so that the energy can flow freely.

Summer holds the power of maturity. Only when the flower is in full bloom can it share it”s pollen to make more floweres. It is the same with us, when we reach full maturity we can share what we have learned with others. When our fire element is in balance we are able to give and recieve love unconditionally. In turn our relationships blossom. The heart is the sovereign of all organs and represents the consciousness of one’s being. It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom and spiritual transformation.’Qi Bo ‘ The Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine

Simple Strategies

Get out and enjoy the weather. This is a great time to reconnect with the natural world around us. Allow yourself to pause and see the flowers, feel the grass, and hear the birds.
Spend time connecting in your relationships. The natural world is fully alive and vibrant right now. We can do the same with the important people in our lives. Fire energy naturally moves outward, so being expressive with your loved ones encourages a healthy heart and mind. Think family gatherings, reunions, BBQ”s, beach day with friends!

Rest at midday. The time of day for heart is 11am to 1pm. Make sure you are eating a light balanced lunch. When it”s hot and humid take a siesta! This helps avoid accumulating internally heat and it”s a nice balance from all the activity this time of year.

Nourish your spiritual practice. The heart is considered the supreme ruler of all other organs systems. So a calm and peaceful heart will benefit the entire body. If our hearts are troubled the whole body will suffer. Nourish the heart with stillness, meditation or prayer.