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Welcome Summer – The Time of Joy and Yang Rising

By Dr. Danielle Caruk, DTCM, RAc

Beach with waves of waterSummer is here! It is a time traditionally filled with outdoor fun, heat, camping, markets, social engagements, laughter and an overall increase of movement. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) summer is considered to be the most yang time of the year and corresponds to the fire element. Its nature is reflected in the hotter temperatures, increased daylight and the natural peak of growth found on the earth. The fire element is associated with the heart and small intestine, the emotion of joy, the pumping of blood, the clarity of our minds and the separation of turbid from the pure within our digestive system. When the fire element is balanced and in harmony our blood flow is strong, our spirit is calm and our sleep is sound. However, with the increase of external heat from summer an imbalance of the fire organs can result manifesting as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, dryness, hot flashes, water metabolism problems, poor digestion, headaches and an overall feeling of heaviness.

TCM based nutrition categorizes food according to its energetic properties and its effect on the body. Eating foods suitable for the summer will clear heat and generate body fluids.

Try some of these “cooling” summer tips:

  • Try adding fresh mint or cucumber to your water and ensure you are adequately hydrated
  • Eat foods for the season: go to the farmers market and buy local fruit and vegetables. Incorporate more watermelon, asparagus, watercress, micro greens, spinach, celery, melons, corn and broccoli into your diet
  • Avoid hot, greasy and excessively spicy foods
  • Exercise in the cooler times of the day and emphasize the heart and cardiovascular systems
  • Wake up earlier and stay up a bit later with naps or mediation during the hottest part of the day

Regular self-care treatments such as acupuncture, massage, herbal therapy, nutritional counseling, chiropractic care and cupping can restore vital functions to our health. In summer they can cool the body, decrease inflammation, relieve stress and restore homeostasis.

With these tools in mind, enjoy the summer! After all, ‘joy’ is the emotion of the season!

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