BY: JESSICA CLAYTON, D.AC., L.AC. – JUNE 25, 2019 – ACUPUNCTURE
Summertime is the season in Chinese Medicine that is the most yang time of the year. Yang in this context means maximum activity, a time of warmth, moving outward in life and nature, growth, connection and joy. During this time, you may be noticing that you have more energy, feeling more social or experience being in a better mood. As with anything in life, balance is key and an excess of anything can cause stress and imbalance within the body. This is why it is so important to take effective action to maintain balance during the Summer so that you do not feel the negative effects and symptoms do not begin to arise.
From an acupuncture perspective, seasons are a big deal. Weather and the time of the year can significantly impact how we feel from a physical and emotional standpoint. Chinese Medicine theory teaches us that the Summer season belongs to the element of Fire. This makes sense because outside in nature it is a time of maximum heat, the sun is dominating, and growth and movement outward are happening both in nature and within ourselves. If we are out of balance in the Summertime, symptoms such as insomnia, sleep disturbances, skin eruptions such as acne and rosacea, heat symptoms such as hot flashes, migraines and fevers can start to arise. A seasonal acupuncture tune-up this time of the year is a great way to maintain balance and health throughout the Summer months. Acupuncturists are full of self-care tips for navigating the seasonal changes, here are a few tips to keep this your best Summer yet!
* Drink Water: This tip may sound simple but it is one of the biggest reminders that I am giving my patients. The majority of heat symptoms that arise during the Summer months can be prevented by drinking enough water. The sun pulls moisture from your pores so it is easier to become dehydrated and suffer from heat stroke in the Summertime. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, making an effort to drink water is very important. We are already considered to be dehydrated by the time we actually feel thirsty. A lot of patients that see me remark that they don’t like the flavorless taste of water. Try adding some fun Summer fruits like strawberries, lemons and watermelon or herbs like basil and mint to your water. This will encourage you drink more and is very tasty!
* Be Active: Summertime is a great time to be going on vacations, connecting with friends new and old and working and playing outside in nature. By remaining active during the Summer months, you are working with the yang energy of the season that is so abundant right now. This time of the year is a great time to reach out and nurture friendships and relationships, laughing, joking and being playful. By connecting with new and old friends during the Summer it is not only making the seasons more fun but it is also helping to ease the transition into the Fall and Winter seasons when we tend to become more yin in nature and pull inward, spending more time alone.
* Take Breaks: Although the Summer is a time of maximum activity, frequent breaks are also important and a great way to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. Taking breaks also helps to prevent outdoor injuries that can happen accidentally when we are pushing ourselves too hard. Balancing schedules can be difficult in the Summer months and can lead to stress and anxiety. Acupuncture is a great solution for these issues but so is scheduling some down time to relax and enjoy the fruits of this season. Try laying in a hammock or sitting outside in your backyard enjoying the sounds of nature around you.
* Get Enough Sleep: With the longer days of sunlight and social events taking up all the free time that we have, sleep can sometimes be the last thing on our minds this time of the year. It is natural to sleep fewer hours in the Summer since daylight is so abundant but rest should still be a priority especially since we are moving, on the go and sweating so much more during these months. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help to prevent the body’s system from becoming unbalanced which can happen easily during the Summertime.
* Acupuncture Treatments: As always, acupuncture treatment can help to treat symptoms that typically pop up during these Summer months. If you are experiencing excessive fatigue, anxiety or restlessness from the heat, let acupuncture help to clear the heat and restore balance within the body. Acupuncture can also address headaches, migraines, skin conditions, sunburns and other heat symptoms that may arise this time of the year.
* Eat Cooling Foods: Acupuncturists tend to favor warming foods as they are thought to ease digestion and allows your system to relax and break down foods easier. Cold foods tend to cause contraction and stagnation which means that your body has to work a lot harder in order to digest food and can lead to discomfort, indigestion and pain. The Summer months, however, are the one time of the year when it tends to be okay to eat some of the more cooling foods of the season. Watermelon especially is cooling, refreshing and a little sweet without being too sweet. In Chinese Medicine, watermelon is used as an herb to cool the body down, help with digestion and balance electrolytes. It is great for everyone but especially pregnant moms as it is a nourishing and refreshing treat!
Below is a list of some other cooling foods that are currently in season as some ideas for you to try!
♦ Fruits such as: Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Berries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemons, Oranges, Peaches, Pineapple, Strawberries, Tomato, and Watermelon
♦ Herbs and Spices such as: Aloe, Basil, Chrysanthemum, Cilantro, Dill, Jasmine, Mint, Oregano, Peppermint and Salt
♦ Vegetables such as: Asparagus, Bamboo Shoots, Beans, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Snow Peas, Spinach, Summer Squash, Watercress and White Mushrooms
♦ Other Foods such as: Alfalfa, Barley, Crabmeat, Egg Whites, Fish, Mung Beans, Seaweed, Tofu, Wheat
Overall, the most important things to remember during the Summer months as well as all year round is awareness, moderation and balance. Knowing that the Summer is a time to allow your Fire element to flourish, to nurture your connections, find the joy and laughter that the bustle of this season has to offer while remaining mindful of keeping the flames stoked yet tamed will bring your health and happiness for this Summer season. Enjoy!
To schedule an appointment at Oasis of Harmony Wellness, contact me at 443-286-0138 or firstname.lastname@example.org