The ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine tells us to live according to the seasons, for utmost vitality. When we ignore (or aren’t able to heed) the changing seasons’ nudges toward changing certain habits, imbalances in the body can occur and we don’t feel as well.
Moving into Summer, and the Gemini Season, we sense the rising “Yang” energy, which gives us more energy for interaction, fun, and pushing ourselves to finish projects from ideas that came from seed in the Spring.
Yang is the energy of warmth and dryness, action, and outgoingness. It starts building in Spring, and is at full capacity in Summer. Yin is the opposite energy, of cooling and moisture, inwardness, and rest. Yin starts building in Fall and is at full capacity in Winter.
Yang energy is strongest in the early morning, when the Sun is starting its climb. You can use this Yang energy to your advantage by doing your exercise or working on your projects in the morning. Chinese medicine recommends waking earlier and staying up later in the Summer, in accordance with the cycle of the Sun. The extra Yang energy is available to help us do this.
Yang energy can kick up extra heat and fire in those who already have a constitution or imbalance that tends toward heat. In the Summer season, Fire is the element of the 5 Elements that is at the helm.
The Fire Element holds:
-The emotion of JOY
-The taste of BITTER
-The color of RED
-The body part TONGUE
-The organ systems HEART, PERICARDIUM, and SMALL INTESTINE
What this means for us in human bodies is that we can serve ourselves by taking care of our energetic temperature, and our Fire organ systems, using certain seasonal living-inspired tips.
Fire organ symptoms
The Heart, Pericardium, and Small Intestine organ systems / meridians are of the Fire element. We see the Joy in the Heart system, and its capacity for love, friendship, and compassion. We can see imbalances here in overjoy / mania / overdoing it, as well. The Fire element influences these with its extra heat. You can often see this by looking at the tip of your tongue. If the tip of your tongue is red or there are red dots present, there is likely some extra heat in your Fire organs.
Some symptoms of Heart + Pericardium imbalance:
-Insomnia / Wakefulness
-Anxiety and/or restlessness
-Irritability and/or Aggressive anger
Symptoms of Small Intestine imbalance are generally those related to digestion and the abdomen. Those with IBS, IBD, SIBO, recurrent hernias, or similar, can see an increase in symptoms during warmer times.
The Urinary Bladder has a relationship with the Heart and Small Intestine due to the order of Qi flow in the body. Excess heat can travel from the Heart system, to the Small Intestine, to the Bladder, and show up as urinary issues such as infections.
This time of year we need a lot of water, and eating foods that contain water is recommended. Some ideas:
-Leafy greens, especially those that are bitter. The bitter taste is cooling and drains heat, and is the taste associated with the Fire element.
-Green tea (room temp if it’s too warm for hot drinks)
Spicy pungent foods induce sweating, which is cooling to the body. Incorporate garlic, chili, radish, turmeric, and ginger to get this effect.
A word on ice: Often we crave something icey in the summer. It actually takes a lot of energy for the body to process that, and extra energy —> more heat. Sometimes people get a cramping stomach-ache after eating a cold treat or a bunch of cold beverages. It’s because it’s too much for the body to process, and the extra cold causes pain.
There are lots of great points to help with this seasonal transition. For today, let’s focus on Pericardium 7 (PC7, Daling) which is on the inner wrists. Find your wrist crease, and feel for the valley between two tendons. Massage there, and apply firm pressure with a fingertip or your thumb, for 30 sec to 3 min. Do both sides, and repeat as desired.
Use for chest tightness, wrist pain, anxiousness, sleep support, and irritability.
PC7 is the source point for the Pericardium channel, meaning it is the spot where the Qi of the entire meridian pools.
Additionally, don’t forget to rest. Summer is a time when energy is high, the days are longer, and many of us are pressed to pack in activity. Your body needs rest to be able to replenish itself and have systems run smoothly.
Have a great and healthy Summer!
*During Shelter in Place, I am holding hours for Virtual sessions of Chinese Medicine Consults and Reiki. Book your appointment here.