ACUPUNCTURE AND TCM IN DOWNTOWN NELSON B.C. HELPING YOU TUNE IN TO THE RHYTHM OF THE SEASONS
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yǎng Shēng Fǎ~養生法 is the practice of nurturing life and cultivating health through the use of natural methods such as herbal medicine, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle adjustments. It is one out of the 5 branches of TCM that focuses on maintaining wellness and preventing illness.
The energy of summer is associated with creativity, expansion and action. It is the season of adventure, curiosity and heat and it is the perfect time to focus on the qi (relationships) of the season to ensure that its corresponding organs, channel pathways and associations are healthy, open and free flowing.
In TCM we understand that each season is associated with a particular element, set of paired organs and has many other relationships and connections. Summer shows its associations to the fire element, its paired organs are the heart and small intestine, its emotion is joy and its colour is red. Considered to be the Emperor of the body, the heart is the master of the emotions, our consciousness and our cardiovascular health, and has connection to the tongue, the blood vessels, self expression, taste and the facial complexion. Its morality is respectfulness, its sound is laughing and it’s mental function is creativity. It manifests through consciousness, thought processes, perception and emotional intelligence.
Clinically, the pathologies we see as the body tries to attune to Summer energy are related to the heart and small intestine, heat and fire. These patterns tend to ascend, disturb the mind, harass the heart, stagnate fluids or dry out the body. For example, you may notice a heightened sense of anxiety, insomnia, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or edema and fluid congestion, fidgeting and restlessness, skin rashes, mania or even difficulty retaining fluids.
If any of these symptoms appear for you, it is a sign that your system is having difficulty attuning to the seasonal influence of Summer. If this is the case, here are a few Yǎng Shēng Fǎ~ 養生法 ~ lifestyle practices you can include to soften the transition into summer;
Try some physical exercise early in the morning like Tai Chi or Qi Gong to balance the energy of the heart, promoting grounding, balance, equanimity and tranquility. Summer is a Yang season and its energy expands outward in all directions at once promoting maximum growth and expansion so, engaging in practices like tai chi or qi gong can anchor the mind and spirit and help to improve circulation, sooth the emotions and the heart, and balance the energy of the body.
Try adding some cooling foods which are beneficial and help clear summer heat like melons, mint, parsley, sprouts, cucumber, berries or mung beans. Also, in TCM we say a little bit of bitter soothes the heart, so you may also want to experiment with some bitter flavours like a bit of dark chocolate, a bit of dark roast coffee or some dark leafy greens to soothe the energy of the heart.
And remember, as summer is a Yang season we are encouraged by the classics to rise early and go to bed later, taking advantage of outdoor living and aligning with the rising and setting of the sun. Make sure to take afternoon naps and rest while the heat of the day is at its peak, and stay well hydrated adding some lemon, mint leaves, cucumber slices or a pinch of salt to your water.
If you find the expanding energy of the summer overly challenging and would like some support dealing with the heat or, are interested in more information specific to your constitutional needs, please feel free to contact Dr. Pileski or book an appointment online now.
Dr. Julia Pileski
Blue Heron Traditional Chinese Medicine