Living in harmony with the seasons is core to Traditional Chinese Medicine *TCM" practices, "seasonal living". And being in the best days of summer - we thought we share with you some tips of how to best use this season with your bodily needs according to TCM.
Summer is the season of movement and activity and peak vitality. It is ruled by the element of fire, summer is the most yang time of the year. TCM sees it at a time to cultivate your yang energy while protencting your yin energy in the winer. The organs associated with summer are the heart and the small intestine, and that's why you should take great care of these two during the summer. Beyond it physical duties, the heart also encompasses the Shen (mind/spirit). When your heart is out of balance that's when you can suffer from mind/spirit issues such as insomnia, stress, poor memory, and more. It works the other way as well, when the Shen is calm and harmonized, then the heart is nourished.
So Tip # 1: Invest time in nourishing your soul,
whether it be through journaling, talking to friends, going in nature, taking herbs, doing meditations/excersices. Practice to actively let go of the past, and manage your stress and anger as much as possible as you need to optimize the summer months to get prepared for the winter months that are ahead of us.
Summer brings a lot of heat and our natural insects turn to iced drinks, AC on blast, daily ice cream and more. Cold does in fact get rid of hot. But too much cold can get rid of hot in an extreme way that it poses a danger to our health. In TCM, as the summer is said to be the most yang season of the year, it has fiery masculine energy, we shouldn't just completely block this flow (by pouring ice over it per say) that nature is telling us to adhere by, we should work with it. Your stomach is your burner (internal fire) in your body as it digests and metabolizes what you eat, so if you keep on drinking those iced drinks, frozen smoothies, raw cold salads etc. you are really pushing your body to cause imbalance, and agitation in your mind and spirit which lead to weak digestion, mal-absorption of nutrients, weight gain and more. This is the same case with raw uncooked foods as your whole body has to put that extra energy to break it down.
So Tip # 2: Drink warm or room temperature drinks & avoid excess raw foods,
as this will actually help you cool down! If you are having a colder drink like an iced latte, add warming spices like cinnamon to help balance the cold from the drink. Ice requires your body to use more energy to compensate for the change in body temperature in your stomach.
Our bodies are the best communicators to us to assess how we feel and through natural healing you can avoid blocking any energies that you are suppose to be feeling. Let your body keep that balance in the summer to help you through the months of fall and winter ahead. You don't want to feel depleted by exhausting it with baggage of thoughts that drain you, and foods that take up too much of your bodily energies to break them down and ultimately work to our disadvantage. It's really all about the Yin-Yang! That being said get out there and enjoy the sunshine, because we know there is only so much of it left!