In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is represented by one of the elements of nature (such as wind, cold, damp or heat). The element associated with summer is heat or FIRE!
Fire energy is considered YANG Energy. Yang is big, yang is expansion yang is excess. As you know, summer is all about expansion. The flowers are in full bloom, the days are long, we spend lots of time outside doing physical activity.
In TCM, every element is also associated with an organ. The organ associated with Fire is the Heart.
When we think about the summer and taking good care of our “heart” we should be thinking about the following.
The Heart Energy (qi energy) is thought to rule our spirit. We call this the shen. The shen oversees cognitive function and mental activity. The shen also oversees the seven main emotions (joy, anger, sadness, grief, fright, apprehension, worry). Oftentimes, emotional imbalances are associated with the Heart.
In the information age we live in, many of us tend to be on “information overload”. Thoughts race through our head and our “heart energy” becomes deficient. Imbalances between our mind and our heart can contribute to irritability, insomnia, anxiety and headaches.
The Heart Qi also dominates sleep. If our Heart Qi is sound, you will fall asleep easily. If the Heart qi is weak, your mind will wander – and you may be unable to fall asleep, have disturbed dreams or wake up periodically during the night.
The acupuncture points along the heart meridian are often used in order to heal our body mind and spirit. Acupuncture points along the heart meridian have names like Spirit gate, Penetrating Inside , and Utmost Source.
Oftentimes when working with patients with emotional issues, we will use acupuncture points along the Heart Meridian.
Healing the Heart and Mind
According to the five elements theory, bitter flavored foods “enter the heart”. Bitter foods can clear stagnation and rid our body of mucous (dampness).
Foods such as celery, alfalfa, romaine lettuce, rye, vinegar, quinoa and papaya all have bitter qualities.
Magnesium in foods is healing to the heart. Magnesium supports calcium in functioning properly and it is also thought to help with sleep and is considered calming. Green foods are rich in magnesium and the color green has healing properties.
Acupuncture can be very helpful for calming the emotions and easing the spirit. Most people who receive acupuncture feel a greater sense of well being and a calming effect that underlies good health and wellness.
Chinese Herbal Medicine can have a profound effect on the physical and emotional aspects of the heart energy. There are herbs that clear heat, calm the spirit and nourish blood. Formula’s can be customized to each person’s individual needs.
Meditation. Most people feel limited in their ability to meditate – thinking that, in order to meditate successful, their mind has to be quiet. The success in meditation lies in the ability, time after time, to sit – if even for a minute – and experience the thoughts – and let them go. Thoughts do not leave however; our relationship with our thoughts can change through regular meditation.
As I write this blog on the hottest day of the summer so far, I am reminded that a relative state of balance is always possible – within us and around us