Stay healthy this summer following simple Chinese Medicine rulesThe Five Elements are one of the pillars of the Oriental culture; they are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each element corresponds with different season, stage of growth and internal organs in human body.
Summer is the energy of Fire, which represents joy, laughter, passion, love and growth. It’s the season of growth and maturation, warmth, activity and relationships. Our gardens are blossoming, fruits and vegetables are growing, animals are getting ready to have offspring.
According to Chinese Medicine there is a strong connection between the nature and human body. Health is defined as a harmonious balance of all five elements. To nourish it we should follow the changes of natural environment and seasons, keep in balance with the nature and avoid the invasion of exogenous pathogenic factors (wind, heat, dampness, dryness, cold and summer heat).
Huangdi Neijing (an ancient Chinese medical text, the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine) tells us that the body’s five zang – organs have close relationship with the five elements: Liver belongs to Wood, Heart belongs to Fire, Spleen belongs to Earth, Lungs belong to Metal and Kidneys to water. During the summer, the five internal organs are in their weak moment. Keeping our heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys healthy in the summer will help to remain healthy all year.
During the summer season, heart and spleen are the two most important organs to be looked after. We must pay attention to external heat, summer dampness and humidity as well as an excessive Yang (male/hot) energy.
The basic rules to keep healthy during the summer time are:
- Prevent the summer heat (with very hot and humid weather)
- Avoid the exogenous pathogenic factors (mainly heat & summer dampness)
- Maintain Yang energy level controlled, meaning avoiding excessive intake of cold, like eating too much of ice cream or swimming in the cold water for too long.
Our skin and pores are expelling the sweat and body heat, so cold water closes pores, which leads to retention of sweat with toxins inside of body.
Spleen doesn’t like too much of cold food, such as ice cream or raw food, as they slow it’s function down, which leads to many digestive problems.
Uncontrolled summer heat would affect heart and could result in:
- Sleeplessness (insomnia, restless sleep or sleep disturbances)
- Palpitations, or an irregular heartbeat,
- Anxiety, irrational fears and phobias
What should you eat during the summer:
Due to excessive sweating during the hot summer, we must drink a lot of water. Make sure you are re-hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of pure water per day.
Avoid fatty food and dry hot spicy food!
During summer enjoy: duck meat, fish, shrimps, lean meat, mushroom, shii-take mushrooms, barley, green beans, mint, lentils, celery, asparagus, lotus seeds, mulberry, dandelion tea, chrysanthemum tea & goji berry tea.
Small amounts of ginger, garlic, radish and scallions are recommended too, as they dispel the pathogens, moving Qi, stimulating blood, opening external pathways and eliminating dampness.
Read my post on lotus seeds.
Exercise during the summer:
During the summer, we should not exercise too much, avoiding extreme exercise. Extensive sweating after extreme exercise would damage heart Yin and lead to mentioned above symptoms. So Tai chi, Yoga, slow running and swimming would be best. Cardiovascular exercise during summer months is good, because fire rules the heart and circulatory system.
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