It’s Summertime! Embracing Summer with Chinese Medicine

The summer season, the most yang time of the year, is filled with abundant energy and lots of sunshine. It’s about the fire element, expansion, growth, activity, and creativity. Several thousand years ago, an ancient Chinese medical text, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Cannon, contained the idea that to live a balanced life we should cultivate Yang energy in the spring and summer, and protect yin in the autumn and winter. Here are some tips to help you promote the yang energy.

*Be active: * The heart is associated with the fire element, and it’s main function is to pump oxygen rich blood to your whole body. Getting your heart pumping will help keep it strong. Summer is an excellent opportunity to be active outside while having fun!

Ancient Chinese physicians advised to awaken early in the morning and go to be later in the evening. Follow the pattern of the sun. A midday rest is a great way to recharge.

*Be happy: * In Chinese Medicine, mental processes, memory and emotional well being are all attributed to the heart and fire element. This is the time to live life to the fullest and embrace our potential. Gratitude is great way to nurture joy in our lives. Try starting off each day naming 3 things you’re grateful for.

If our fire element is in balance, we will sleep calmly and our hearts are strong and healthy. If it becomes imbalanced we may have insomnia, rhythmic disturbances in our hearts, depression or mania.

*Modify your diet: * Eat lighter and cooling foods. Summer is the time to eat more vegetables, salads, fish and seafood. Eat with the seasons! Avoid eating a lot of meat and fried foods this time of year since those are warming in nature. Add pungent flavors to your diet such as spices, chili peppers, garlic and onions. Pungent flavors “wake up” the senses. They tend to open the flow of energy in your body and can improve metabolism. As always, eat in moderation.

Live joyfully in the moment, get lots of sunshine, and enjoy Summer!