TCM and Summer
Philippa Harvey, our TCM Specialist, shared a few Traditional Chinese Medicine tips for summer health.
Summer, summer happy summer season! This usually comes with those magic words called vacation, holidays, fun.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the long summer months are divided into two summer periods. It is a great excuse for having two vacations. Should this be possible we could focus on two different organs which we associate with the summer months. These are the Heart, and the Stomach/Spleen. In an ideal world, we could work on different wellness aspects governing these organs and any emotional out of balance issues over this period.
In TCM nature and people are totally interrelated. We believe that we should govern our health according to the seasons. We can divide our summer into the classic summer and what may be termed as late summer. Late summer is in August with its hot, muggy weather and afternoon thunderstorms
Summer in our hemisphere is the warmest season; it also means heat, or fire. This element associated with summer gives us that feeling of warmth, urgency, and in particular the feeling of happiness. This is why when autumn appears, it is not only “post holiday blues” just because we have to go back to work, but energetically the body cools down and there is less naturally less movement.
As mentioned before, there are the two organs associated with the “two summers”: The heart and the Stomach/Spleen. Our heart is represented by happiness excitement, red hot colours, and the element of fire, passion and movement. It is the best time for fun and enjoyment. Late summer is represented by the colour yellow, the element earth. In August, Nature is undergoing its last burst of growth before harvest. It is the time to “earth” ourselves we should look after our digestive system, nurturing our body and work on learning. We can say we ripen, like the summer fruits, using the last of the summer’s beautiful energy.
Here are a few Traditional Chinese Medicine Tips for Summer Health
- Awaken earlier in the morning, to take advantage of the full YANG energy of daytime.
- Go to bed later in the evening. There is plenty of time to rest in the winter darker shorter days.
- Rest at midday, where possible, it is a time of year that if we are holiday our digestive system can also rest. Between 1pm and 3pm is our natural biological clock´s time for our small intestine.
- Drink plenty of fluids; if you forget to drink put an alarm on your phone.
- Eat more YIN foods, which are light and less-greasy
- Eat “Cooling” foods; these tend towards the green end of the spectrum such as lettuce, cucumbers, and watercress, generate healthy body fluids
- Fish and seafood are also good for you, in TCM we refer to these foods as having cooling property, therefore best eaten in hotter seasons.
- Meats are what TCM refers to as foods with a warming property; these should be avoided.
- In the summer eat with moderation; we tend to get more indigestion in the summer months.
So from TMC principles, the summer really is the time to enjoy the heart, and mature ideas that can be put into effect in autumn and winter. Try and watch the stomach and spleen into August, with lighter green foods.