Summer in North America is almost officially here. In Eastern Medicine and China, the summer is split into two seasons, and the first part of summer began on May 7th.
Days are longer and typically filled with sunshine. The season brings with it abundant energy, growth, and fun-filled activities. In traditional Chinese medicine, the five-element theory, acupuncture, and eastern philosophy, this season is considered in the fire element. It is the time of year for acupuncture treatments to focus on balancing this element.
All elements in acupuncture have corresponding meridians or organs, and the fire element consists of the heart and the small intestine.
The fire element is primarily governed by the heart. In fact, in Chinese medicine, the heart is considered the ruler, much like a queen or king. The heart may represent our relationship with ourselves and others.
In western medicine, we know the heart’s function is to pump oxygenated blood through the body. In Chinese medicine, the same applies. However, they also consider the mind or mental activity to be associated with the heart. Therefore, our emotional well-being, memories, thought processes, and consciousness can all be attributed to the heart and fire. To stay healthy throughout the summer, this is the time to make sure your heart, mind, and spirit are all in balance.
Chinese medicine states that summer has the greatest Yang energy.
Think of Yang as function and Yin as substance. This is the time of year that the heat is in abundance and time to be outgoing, moving out into nature and our lives in general. If in balance, it is the time of warmth, connection, joy, and passion for ourselves and others.
We can sense if we are out of balance if we have trouble saying “no” to others, if we let people or situations into our lives that we know are unhealthy, or just our moods or others’ moods affect our day-to-day interactions. Instead of joy, we feel a lack of joy or depression. Or, we may even have an excess of joy; too much joy can be deemed as mania. You may be experiencing nervousness, agitation, insomnia if your heart meridian is out of balance. A feeling of loneliness, dissatisfaction with intimacy, inability to trust or let love in, hot flashes, skin eruptions, neck and shoulder pain can all be attributed to an imbalance in the fire element or imbalance with the acupuncture meridians of the heart and small intestine.
TIPS FOR SUMMER AND BALANCE OF THE FIRE ELEMENT:
- Go to bed later in the evening.
- Awaken earlier in the morning.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Add pungent flavors to your meals.
- Keep calm and refrain from anger.
It is time to have cooling foods in your diet. Add more seafood as this is a cooling food, whereas meat is considered warming. Cooling foods can clear heat and reduce toxins.
Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Lemon Orange Sprouts, Summer Squash, Mint, Cilantro, Cucumber, Bok Choy, Peas, to name a few.
Keep a pitcher or glass of water with a slice of lemon and cucumber and sip through the day and stay away from greasy and heavy foods.
When the fire element is in balance, the mind is calm, and you will sleep more soundly. Your heart is strong, and your emotions are stable.
Acupuncture, Qi Gong, and mindfulness are helpful with many types of emotional, stress, and anxiety issues. Acupuncture can help start the journey of moving the stagnation to help allow YOU to maintain balance and allow YOU to open your heart and body to the Healer Within.