15 Dec TCM Health Tips for Summer
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) summer is the extrovert season, governed by fire element. During this season our inner fire expands to our extremities to allow for greater expression of energy. Summer is time for action, play, the release of energy, the ripening of ideas, the realisation of projects, and generally for giving yourself wholeheartedly into life. However, this high vibe season comes with a caution about excess – too much fire will lead to burn out. As with everything, balance is the key – this ultra yang season needs to be tempered with yin foods and tonics to keep that fire in check.
Summer season governs the heart and small intestine, meaning these organs are most active now. Let’s look more closely at some of the common TCM associations with summer.
TCM summer elements
Element – Fire
Emotion – Joy
Meridian/Organs (yin) – Heart
Meridian/Organ (yang) – Small Intestine
Colour – Red
Qualities – Growth, expansion, light, abundance
Cautions – excess (heat, activity, action, emotion e.g. anger)
Meridian clock (heart) – 11am – 1pm
Meridian clock (small intestine) – 1pm – 3pm
Summer TCM signs of imbalance (heart)
Physical heart problems, dryness of the throat, jaundice, pain along the course of the meridian, confusion, memory loss, depression, mania (excess yang), nervousness, insomnia, heartburn, red complexion, speech problems, lack of motivation or enthusiasm, irregular pulse.
Summer TCM signs of imbalance (small intestine)
Pain in the lower abdomen, sore throat, swelling or paralysis of face, diarrhoea, urinary disturbance, deafness, pain along the meridian.
Open your heart this summer
Summer is the heart season – time to check in and see how tightly you are holding onto your emotions and whether there is any guarding there. Gratitude for the abundance that you have already enjoyed, especially all the gifts that nature has bestowed, is a wonderful place to start and a natural way to overcome any fear-based idea of lack. And, as it is the season, giving is the greatest way to open the heart channel – so long as the gift is heartfelt. Whether you give quality time, undivided attention, a helping hand, counsel, kindness, support or whether you lavish your loved ones with physical gifts, the result is that your heart will open to the joy and bliss that is the fragrance at the heart of life.
Tempering anger and excessive emotion
Because summer increases heat and fire element, there is also the tendency to over-boil into anger. Bottled up emotions obstruct flow so their gentle release and expression is an important factor in maintaining overall health. The trick is to avoid aiming stagnant or excessive emotions at others and to find other vehicles for releasing them such as cathartic therapies, physical exercise, counselling, somatic therapies and the like. Anger can also be a first defence to guard the heart by keeping deeper emotions of grief or fear from surfacing and being felt. Finding courage to feel into what is behind the anger defence can set you on the path to emotional healing and the joy that is the natural expression of a healed heart.
Foods to favour during summer
We naturally eat lighter meals during summer. This is because fire element is expanded throughout the whole body, rather than being concentrated around the vital organs as it is in winter. During summer favour foods that provide ample hydration and avoid drying foods and heavy foods that require a lot of digestive energy. Foods to favour include:
bitter gourd (very bitter but very cooling too)
melons (reduce heat – don’t eat with other foods)
seasonal fruits and veges
sprouts & mung beans
Because of the need to temper the yang aspect of summer, herbal teas and other cooling fluids that hydrate our bodies, pacify heat and nourish the heart/small intestine meridian are best. The following herbal teas can be blended and served hot or as ice tea: jasmine flowers, jasmine green tea, cardamom, dandelion, elder flower, fennel, green tea, lemon and lime tea, moroccan mint, rose petals, lavender, chamomile, calendula flower, valerian root, rosella.
What to include on the to-do list for summer health maintenance
1. Tone and support your heart and small intestine meridian by choosing foods, exercises and therapies that support these systems. Acupuncture, Shiatsu and ZenThai Shiatsu Massage, Qi Gong, Yoga and Tai Chi are good options.
2. Favour cooling and pacifying food that is light on digestion and don’t over eat (this applies to every season)!
3. Watch out for burn out from excess – this includes sun, exercise, work or any activity.
4. Avoid things that harm the heart and small intestine health such as excess salt, dehydration, inadequate water intake, excess anger or resentment.
5. Give to restore joy – contrary to the habit of rampant consumerism that we’ve been programmed to accept, we cannot find lasting joy in getting. Our heart’s natural expression is joy and to experience it the heart channel needs to open. Giving in any form strengthens our joy.
6. Supplements from Maple St Acupuncture include: Yin Tonic, Green Tea Tonic, Peace Tonic, Chi Tonic.
Summer health support at Maple St Acupuncture
Our practitioners at Maple St Acupuncture are here to help you to embrace this ultra yang season and stay balanced. Whether you need deep revitalising massage and osteopathy to restore your body and mind from this high activity season or acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to tonify and strengthen your heart and small intestine meridians, there’s something for you. We also have our amazing range of Dark Moon Alchemy TCM tonics in store which you can supplement into smoothies, juices and onto foods to maintain wellness.