Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years to promote wellness, achieve prime health and relieve many ailments and diseases that affect the body by restoring the flow of Qi within the meridians. Ancient physicians studied the connections of the human body to the cycles and flow of the natural world around them. They noted when the body was in disharmony it manifested diseases that were similar to those found in nature. “In fact, nature provided the root metaphors for the most fundamental concepts of Chinese philosophy. The idea that all of nature is governed by yin and yang and the Five Elements lies at the heart of Chinese Medicine” (Hicks, & Mole).
There are twelve main inter-connected, organ associated meridians that run through the body which are paired together as Yin and Yang. The meridian pairs are further grouped into the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. These are the basic qualities of all matter in the universe and are correlated with a Season: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter.
The Ancient Chinese believed that the seasons had a profound effect on the human body’s health. Summer, the Fire element is a Yang season, it is suggested during this time of year that we express the yang principles; expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, bounty, abundance and creativity. Summer is a time of year for rapid growth and for reaping the benefits from earlier planted Spring seeds. This can be interpreted as metaphorically and or literally. The summer months are hot and muggy and the body can accumulate dampness more obviously during this time especially if there’re existing or underlying damp conditions manifested primarily as a heavy feeling in the body or digestive issues.
Applying the modalities and principles of Chinese Medicine helps to maintain or restore the flow of qi within the meridians, this leads to less ailments and pain along with overall wellness and health.
A large part of successfully living a balanced life is the harmony we have with the seasons. Aside from regular Acupuncture, Tuina, Qigong, Meditation, and daily exercise, eating local, organic, seasonal foods encourages health and vitality and is a major aspect in Traditional Medicine. The foods that grow in the summer months are advantageous to one’s health. They help to eliminate dampness, cool the body and harmonize the meridians.
Some of these foods are: watermelon, mung beans, fresh fruit, tofu, sprouts, and flowering herbal teas including chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile. The herbs are easy to grow in the yard, or check the local farm market, look for organic.
Paul Pitchford, author of the book Healing With Whole Foods, recommends: Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables, and enjoy the bounty of meals delighted in nature’s finest ingredients. Sautee’ on high heat for short duration, and steam and simmer foods as quickly as possible. Use little salt and drink plenty of water. Rise early in the morning and absorb the solar energy as the abundant gardens do. Enjoy the expansiveness of the season and take advantage of the long days filled with creativity, energy and growth.
Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture; Angela Hicks, John Hicks, Peter Mole. 2004
Healing With Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition 3rd ed.; Paul Pitchford 2002