The Dao Does… Living with the Season: Summer
We finally welcome a beautiful Summer here in Australia, after many months of rain through 2022. Living according to the season is one of the most important principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine for health & healing.
Living in Summer – Summer is governed by the Fire element and is the most Yang dominant time of the year as we see longer days and more sunshine. Summer is all about outward expression, movement, and activity. All the groundwork that was laid during Spring will grow and creativity will shine.
Summer is embraced by the Heart and Small Intestine organs and meridians. The Blood is vibrant and moving smoothly around the body, the Shen is anchored and calm, sleep should be better, and emotions regulated. A perfect time of year to unpack the year that was and start fresh bringing our focus to the health of mind and body in 2023. The Heart represents the feeling of Joy, connecting with others, allowing the chest to open wide, and our ability to give and receive warmth. It is a time to be outdoors surrounded by the ones that mean the most.
+ Summer is a time of indulgence, especially over the holiday period. We do see an increase of ‘damp-heat’ pathologies creeping in, therefore, it is important to increase fluid consumption to support the balance of the internal Fire.
+ We can enjoy cooler foods, but it is important to continue to support the Spleen and Stomach, thereby adding roasted root vegetables into salads and try limiting the overconsumption of frozen foods.
+ The Nei Jing (ancient TCM text) states, ‘to go to sleep later and rise with the sun to be more active’. Always aim for 8hrs of sleep a night, but perhaps this is a great opportunity to change previous sleeping habits.
+ Summer in Australia especially, is particularly hot with the highest temperature in the afternoon. Napping during Summer is recommended to allow the body to also rest during this busy time and the Heart to remain settled.
+ Summer is all about increased energy. It is a perfect season to be more active, and encourage the heart rate and body temperature to slightly rise to allow the Qi to move and excess Yang to be released.
+ We have beautiful beaches here on the East Coast of Australia. Getting in the ocean is a great choice to invigorate the Qi, but still, nourish the Kidney meridian, which works closely with the Heart to support our hormonal regulation.
+ If you have yet grasped the concept of Mindfulness or Meditation, perhaps now is the opportunity to find a way that works best for you. Nature walks, a walking meditation, getting in the ocean, reading… building a practice that allows the mind to enter that place of stillness and allows the Heart to remain calm.
+ Setting good and achievable intentions for 2023.
Next time you see your TCM practitioner discuss whether any adjustments to lifestyle practices are needed to live harmoniously with the season of Summer.
By Molly Burton