A Chinese Medicine Approach to Summer Wellness
Summer is quickly approaching, which means more time in the sun, late nights, enjoying fresh fruit, and according to Chinese medicine, the beginning of the season of abundance!
June 21st marks the Summer solstice, or the beginning of the summer season. In Chinese medicine, summer is considered the most yang time of year. Yang energy is associated with warmth, light, and expansion. The increased daylight hours and warm weather during summer help to expand our consciousness and bring us into a more expansive state of being.
As Summer brings about changes in nature, it also brings about change within the body. Tuning into these changes through movement, lifestyle, and diet can help you tap into the growth and expansion the Summer offers.
When taking a Chinese medicine approach to your wellness, consider what’s happening in the seasons and environment to improve your health and connect to nature.
In Chinese medicine, there are five elements: wood, fire, earth, water, and metal.
Summer is related to the fire element, which governs joy, enthusiasm, and vitality.
The heart is the organ most associated with the fire element. During summer, it’s essential to protect your heart health by taking preventative wellness measures to support the fire element and harmonize with the seasonal changes.
But how do you know the tell-tale signs of a fire element imbalance? We’re created a quick check-list of common symptoms to look out for when your fire-element is in need of some support.
Here are a few different ways to harness the power of Summer, find balance in the fire element, and improve your health.
Summer is a time of high heat when the Fire element is more engaged that can lead to some common imbalances in your digestive systems due to dryness, heat and damp-heat conditions (problems with fluid metabolism).
To balance out these seasonal tendencies toward an imbalanced Fire element, your diet should be full of light, nutrient-dense, hydrating foods during summer.
Hydrating foods can help clear heat from the body and generate body fluids to keep your systems hydrated and replenished during hot days.
Fruit: Watermelon, papaya, cherries, mango, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, apricot, strawberries, cantaloupe, apricot, lemon, lime and peaches
Cooling foods: Watermelon, zucchini, asparagus, corn, spinach, tomato, salads, dill, cilantro, and mint
Summer teas: green tea, chrysanthemum tea, honeysuckle tea, and five flower tea
During Summer, energy increases, both in nature and in your own body, and you may feel bursts of energy and the desire to be more active than usual.
To work with this summer energy, incorporate more active workouts and find new and exciting ways to stay active! Walking, running, swimming, cycling, and other cardio workouts are great for cardiovascular health and promoting circulation, a great way to align your body with the season!
Chinese medicine focuses on aligning your sleep cycle with the seasons.
In the Summer, when days are longer, that may look like rising with the sun and enjoying the outdoors during the cooler parts of the day.
When the temperature is at its highest in the afternoons, your body may feel tired, making it the perfect time to take an afternoon nap.
With the additional rest, you can take advantage of the extra sunshine and cooler evening hours by staying up later than usual.
Aligning your sleep cycle with the seasons helps balance your circadian rhythm for better sleep and overall health.
Of course, we all know the importance of drinking water, especially when it’s hot outside, but optimal hydration goes beyond your water intake.
To stay hydrated, restore your body with minerals and electrolytes. When you sweat, it depletes your body’s sodium levels. Drinking too much water can further deplete your sodium levels, which is why you may feel nauseous, dizzy, lightheaded, or experience muscle cramps.
Drinking coconut water, eating hydrating foods, or adding a pinch of sea salt or trace minerals drops to your water is an easy way to stay healthy and hydrated.
In Chinese medicine, the emotion related to the fire element is joy. When the fire element is imbalanced, your emotions can be too. If you’re feeling nervous, agitated, or high-strung, your fire element may be out of balance.
Taking care of your physical body can keep your emotions balanced. Balancing your emotions can also help to keep your physical body well!
Summer is the season to explore new things, nurture creative projects, find time to play, and seek activities that bring you joy.
It’s also a time to connect with nature and those around you.
Take a barefoot walk around your yard to the ground first thing in the morning and connect with nature. Doing so will calm your body, wake you up, and encourage movement.
Having friends over for al fresco dinner or enjoying a picnic at the beach is a fun way to enjoy the season and connect with your loved ones in a new and exciting way.
If you’re feeling run down or sluggish during the summer, consider coming in for a treatment! In the Summer, you want to focus on uplifting treatments for yang, qi, and blood.
Acupuncture is a treatment that keeps the whole body well by balancing qi, promoting circulation, and healing from the root.
In the Summer, acupuncture can help regulate your body temperature, reduce inflammation caused by excess heat, and help with any areas of imbalance.
Summer is a time to relax and spend extra time connecting with your body.
Massage therapy is a great way to do just that. More than just a way to relax, massage therapy can help to boost circulation and encourage balance.
If you’re feeling out of balance or overly exerted by the summer heat, herbal medicine can be a great way to target the root of your struggle and find balance.
Meeting with a herbalist can help identify the root of your concerns and target the issues with herbal blends formulated explicitly for you. Herbs like Hawthorn berry, Lotus leaf, and Passionflower can be helpful in keeping the heart healthy during the summer months.
Calm San Diego is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic with a simple goal: to make the world a calmer, happier place, one person at a time.
Our mission is to help you understand your body better to regain your power. Our integrative treatment and lifestyle plans equip you with the care, guidance, and tools to help you make the most of each new day.
Schedule an appointment with us today, so we can help you create a calm lifestyle that empowers you to live your happiest, healthiest life.
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