In Chinese Medicine, human beings are intimately connected to nature and the Universe. This includes the seasonal shifts – not only do they affect us externally, but also on internal and energetic levels. To smoothly support ourselves through the change of the seasons, we must tune our attention to the shifts in nature.
Though not as drastic as the shift from winter to spring, our seasonal change from spring to summer brings its own unique energetic qualities.
In Chinese Acupuncture Five Element Theory, nature is based on five elements and humans are the manifestation of these five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. Summer is connected to the fire element and relates to the heart. Summer is a time of growth, expansion and movement. Days become longer, the plants bloom and temperatures increase. Fire, or heat, elementally causes things to expand and accelerate. Summer is considered the most yang time of the year because of its hot, active, expanded and bright nature.
Internally, what does this mean for our bodies?
We may notice an increase in our physical and/or mental energy. Fire and our heart are related to the feeling of joy, the color red and the sound of laughter.
When our fire is balanced, our minds are calm, our hearts are lively, and our sleeps are nourishing. Out of balance, we may experience emotional disturbances, cardiac troubles and difficulties with sleep.
How can we best support ourselves during this transition?
Using gentle adjustments to our lifestyle and nutrition regimes, we can better align with the flow of summer!
Food Therapy Suggestions
- Focus on including more whole foods, take advantage of farmer’s markets and support local food growers when you can!
- Incorporate seasonal raw fruits and vegetables in moderation (often our digestive fire is at its peak). Avoid over-consumption as it can lead to bloating and indigestion. If you struggle with this, experiment with lightly cooked foods.
- Rely on cooling foods to help regulate your body temperature and keep your body hydrated – cucumbers, leafy greens, snow peas, bok choy, berries, melons, oranges and mung beans!
- Avoid heavy, fried, greasy foods and excessive alcohol. The rule of one drink, one glass (or two) of water is a good one to come back to with all the summer gatherings and get-togethers.
- If you already have a hot body-constitution or are sensitive to heat, reduce your intake or avoid spicy foods altogether.
- Enjoy the little moments – gather with friends and family outside, soak in the lovely weather, deep belly laughs and love that surrounds you.
- Include one thing each day that brings a smile to your face – that could be 10 minutes alone with yourself, reading a chapter of that book you have been meaning to finish or exploring that new hike you’ve had your eye on!
- Focus on movement that strengthens your cardiovascular system – break a sweat with a brisk walk or nice run! Make sure to listen to your body – if you feel the need to nap afterwards, it was likely a bit too intense.
- Stay hydrated! Water can be a bit boring after a while, jazz it up by infusing it with the fresh summer fruits and vegetables – cucumber and mint is a really nice combo. Try making overnight herbal infusions using mints, green tea, chrysanthemum, honeysuckle or white tea. It is always a good idea to book in with your TCM herbalist before including any new herbs!
- Rest often and receive acupuncture to keep you balanced.
By tuning into ancient wisdom, we can begin to learn how to optimally flow with the summertime energy and embrace this expansive season! As this is the most yang time of the year, remember to balance the abundant activity with lots of restorative time to keep a calm heart and peaceful mind.
Talk to one of our Acupuncture and TCM Practitioners at CITCM Acupuncture Clinic in Calgary to find out more how Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help improve your health overall!
Call us at (403) 520 – 5258 or book online here!
Try This Easy Cooling Drink Recipe!
Watermelon & Mint Infused Water
- 1 cup watermelon, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, slightly bruised
- 2 cups room temperature water
Combine all ingredients together in a water jug and allow to infuse for 2+ hours. Can adjust amounts to your liking.
TCM Tips For A Healthy Transition To Summer. Lauren Barrett. Pique Life. June 4, 2020. [cited June 12, 2022]
Seasonal Qi for Better Health. Nan Lu. TCM World. [cited June 12, 2022]