Sunday, June 21st marks not only the first day of summer but also the longest day of the year. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is associated with the Fire element, which is connected to the Heart organ. The warmth of the sun powers the world around us, as well as cultivates our inner core.
During the summer months, most of us tend to be more social, enjoying outings, parties, and time with our community. It is our inner Fire that helps us be more active so we may appreciate all that the external world has to offer. So this summer, I encourage you to make good use of this Fire by recharging the energy that you consumed during the Winter and Spring months. Like a solar panel that uses the sun’s warmth to generate electricity, you can soak in as much sun as possible to generate your body’s electric waves by spending as much time outdoors as possible: go on many walks and hikes, have picnics and play in the park, swim in the ocean or lakes, and allow the sun to energize you both physically as well as emotionally. Not only are you recharging your system, you’re also boosting your Vitamin-D levels, which may protect against osteoporosis and heart-disease as well as alleviate forms of depression, insomnia, and an overactive immune system. Because the Heart is often connected to emotions, going outside often helps release feelings like anger and resentment, and the sunshine often alleviates feelings of depression or sadness.
Do remember to keep hydrated as you remain active. Excellent alternatives to ice-cold drinks (which too often shocks our systems) are fresh fruit juices, melons, or lemon water.
Also make time to balance the social with some R&R: relax in a hammock, read in your back porch or garden, take a yoga class, or ride your bike, just to ride it! Breathing and meditation exercises are also helpful – wake up with the sun, close your eyes, take in a few deep breaths and fill your lungs with fresh air as you take in the morning heat.
Sometimes, excess of the Fire element can create hyper-excitability or restlessness. Contrarily, people who are deficient of Fire may feel apathetic or gloomy. An acupuncture treatment during this time may help balance the Fire element in your system. This will help especially if you feel symptoms like excessive perspiration, insomnia or anxiety. I also like to tell my patients to take full advantage of the maximum Yang energy of nature to prepare us for the coming Fall and Winter months. Treating Winter diseases, such as depression, chronic bronchitis and fatigue, during the Summer months helps us achieve maximum results with the least amount of effort.
Thank you for being a part of my Summer and I look forward to seeing many of you very soon!
Summer Recipe: Easy Gazpacho
Combine 4 cups tomato juice, 1 minced onion, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 green pepper, 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 green onions, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 avocado cubed, juice from 1 lemon, a bunch of chopped parsley, a bunch of chopped cilantro, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix and serve cold!