Chinese Medicine is based on balancing opposites in nature; dark and light, hot and cold, masculine and feminine , Yin and Yang. All seasons have associated flavours, tastes, colours, body systems, disease and emotions which effect health. We can balance our diet and activity patterns by looking to Nature and learn how to balance ourselves with environmental and seasonal changes.
Summer is the most active Yang time of year, with flowers blooming, vegetables ripening and our own holidays and outdoor activities. It is a time of expansion, growth, joy, activity and creativity. In Summer heat, the body undergoes vigorous metabolic processes.
Chinese Medicine recommends cultivating Yang energy in spring and summer, while protecting Yin energy in autumn and winter. The season is filled with abundant energy, long days and sunshine, so it can lead some to do too much. We can sometimes get exhausted with so many events, activities like gardening, hiking, biking and vacationing along with a normal workload.
Summer is Fire, one of the Five Elements. It is symbolic of the most maximum activity and the greatest Yang; a time of heat and movement. Nature is at its peak of growth in summer, and all is moving in upward motion. In anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by Fire, so priority is given to heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer.
When Fire is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, and circulates blood to help assimilate food into the small intestines, and keeps the mind calm for sound sleep. When Fire is out of balance, we may lack joy, be depressed or have an excess of joy, and be in a maniac, agitated state.
Heart & Small Intestines
Fire is associated with heat and circulation, and the organs of heart, pericardium, small intestines and the tongue. It is related to clarity, and compassion, and the small intestine metaphorically, and physically digests and assimilates nourishment.
The hearts main function is to pump oxygenated blood through the body, and for the Chinese, Heart is associated with mental activity, memory, thought, emotional well-being, and consciousness. It is the “seat” of the mind and the minds stability. Its highest expression is love, enthusiasm, warmth in relationships and conscious awareness. Help heal the heart by meditating on clarity, compassion and nourishment.
The heart Chakra is the center of the Chakra system and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity.
The Small Intestine governs separation of clean and dirty, useable and non-useable, from food sent to the stomach. The spleen and stomach transport the useable to the body, and the non-useable moves to the large Intestine and bladder for excretion.
In summer a lighter diet feels better, and it’s the perfect time for cool Yin foods. Chinese classify food according to energetic qualities of temperature, taste, and the ability to strengthen the body.
Food with cool/cold properties can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. Cooling foods tend towards green; lettuce, cucumbers, and watercress are some of the coolest. Fish and seafood are cooling, while most meats are warming. Fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets are good choices, while spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine are heating to the system. Go outside, exercise and drink lots of clean, pure water. To prevent summer ills and remain in harmony with the season:
Wake up earlier
Go to bed later
Nap in the day
Eat in moderation
Drink plenty of fluids
Add pungent flavors to diet
Keep calm and even-tempered
Drink water with lemon and cucumber
Stay away from dairy, heavy, greasy, and fried foods
Eat fruits and vegetables to adjust body temperature on long, hot days
Some good veggies and fruits are: watermelon, apricot, cantaloupe, lemon, peach, orange, asparagus, sprouts, bamboo, bok choy, broccoli, chinese cabbage, corn, cucumber, white mushroom, snow peas, spinach, summer squash, watercress, seaweed, mung beans, cilantro, mint, dill
Acupressure helps stress and anxiety, and Yintang is a point between the eyebrows; the “third eye” which is a very calming and healing spot. Yintang calms the mind, enhances focus, soothes emotions, promote sleep, and relieves depression. You can tap this spot lightly when feeling agitated or angry
The translation for Yintang, is “Hall of Impression.“ Hall is a corridor, passageway, or large entrance of a house. An impression is a strong effect on the intellect, emotions, or conscience, so Yintang can be viewed as the entrance to the mind.