Even with the less-than-perfect British summers, there is no denying that the longer days and higher temperatures at this time of year, have a positive impact on our general health, mood and energy levels. We instinctively tune into the energy of summer by spending more time outdoors, whether dining on the terrace, taking a picnic in the park, relaxing in the garden, going for a stroll after dinner, or playing sports in the open-air. We feel more active, sociable, care-free and lighter: somehow everything is less of a struggle and easier in the summer. We are generally stronger too, with fewer colds and better healing capabilities. The abundance of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables tend to make our diets healthier in the summer. For some people however, the summer-time does not seem to equate with such positive feelings and may even bring up a host of health issues: heat exhaustion, heart related problems, congestion, inflammation, anxiety, low mood, social phobias or withdrawal, low libido, confusion, mania, to name a few. In Chinese Medicine, the summer is associated with the Element of Fire and its four organs: Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and San-Jiao (translated as the Triple-Heater, an organ with no form but a function similar to a thermostat). Each of these organs performs particular functions in regulating our health and wellbeing at both Body & Mind levels. Chinese Medicine has a much broader understanding of the role of these organs than that found in Western Medicine textbooks. For instance, the Heart in Chinese Medicine is seen as the emperor of the organs, and its stability will profoundly affect overall emotional balance. It is said to open into the tongue, and imbalances in it may lead to incessant talking or difficulties communicating. Emotionally, there may be feelings of restlessness or depression, as well as intense dreaming, insomnia or poor memory. At a physical level, profuse or spontaneous sweating, pallor, palpitations, breathlessness or chest pains may signal a Heart disharmony. The Heart works also in close synergy with the Small Intestine which is responsible for sorting the ‘pure from the impure’. As such if the Small Intestine is overwhelmed, it may give rise to toxic thoughts or impurities in the body, such as acne, blemishes or skin infections. The Triple-Heater, or San Jiao, in good health ensures a sound harmony of bodily functions and supports homeostatic activities. Disturbances here may lead to poor body temperature regulation, digestive issues, abnormal heart rate or blood pressure, or an inability to heal appropriately.
Acupuncture treatments at this time of year can therefore be especially beneficial to address issues associated with impaired functions in these particular organs, but can also help you reinforce the nourishment to these organs and imbue them with the season’s qualities of warmth, strength and joy. In other words, a seasonal acupuncture treatment, or ’Horary Treatment’ as it is known, will help you hold onto summer’s feel-good vibe for longer and help your Body & Mind be stronger and more resilient as we head towards the autumn.
It is worth paying attention to our lifestyle and dietary choices at this time of year too: taking time to connect with our heart, checking-in on ourselves, spending time with those that bring joy and love to our lives, and eating the vibrantly coloured red foods that grow naturally during the summer, such as raspberries, strawberries or cherries, will be particularly valuable. This is also a good time to consider including in our diet the bitter flavour of coffee and dark chocolate, which are considered in Chinese Medicine to be important ways to live harmoniously with the season, to counteract fatty accumulations in the arteries and to regulate blood sugar levels.
So make time for a seasonal acupuncture treatment to ensure optimal health and wellbeing.
Choose foods to support your energy this time of year.
The bitter flavour - most distinctive in foods like dark chocolate and coffee - is associated with the energetic of Fire in Chinese Medicine and can be included in small quantities in our diet at this time of year. Other foods and flavours to include in the summer are those that are nourishing to the Heart or have cooling properties:
fresh berries, watermelon, pomegranate
elderflower, hibiscus, rose
beetroot, tomato, endives.
Lisa Lee Acupuncture
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