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A Guide to Summer According to Chinese Medicine: Balance Your Body & Embrace the Sunshine



According to Chinese medicine, summer is known as the season of the heart. The Shao Yin Meridian, which governs over the heart, connects to the Tai Yang meridian, overseeing small intestine functions. This meridian nourishes, calms the mind, and aids in restful sleep while maintaining fire and desire. 

 

When the Shao Yin Meridian is deficient, symptoms like insomnia, night sweats, and palpitations may arise, affecting small intestine and urinary bladder functions. The Tai Yang meridian supports nutrient absorption, benefits muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and aids in urinary bladder functions. Deficiency in this meridian can lead to nutrient absorption issues, bloating, shoulder pain, and increased anxiety.

 

Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the importance of balancing physical and mental health through understanding meridian functions. This approach differs from Western healthcare by focusing on how feelings, diet, and the environment impact the ability of our meridians to keep the body and mind in harmony. 

 

Imbalances in Qi, the body's energy source, can make us susceptible to illnesses and injuries. Paying attention to both body and mind is crucial for illness and injury prevention. Traditional Chinese medical practitioners offer various techniques to help maintain a healthy body and mind during the summer season. 

 

Here are three of our favorite ways to support the Shao Yin and Tai Yang meridians during the summer:


1.        Adjust your sleep

Take advantage of the sunshine! Summer is the perfect time to soak up some sun and recharge your yang, but you also need to protect your yin. Try to get up with the sun, go to bed later when the sun sets, and don’t over-do it during the hottest part of the day! While it is important to get outside and move to promote circulation of qi, it is also important to listen to your body and rest if needed. It is best to get projects done earlier in the day before the temperature peaks, rest and cool off during the peak temperature, and then get back out and enjoy the beautiful evenings – ideally by spending quality time with loved ones!


2.        Stay hydrated

It is very important to keep our yin fluids nourished during the yang months of summer to keep a healthy yin-yang balance. When that balance is thrown off during the summer, we tend to see stronger signs of heat – excessive thirst, hot flashes, night sweats, dry skin, flushed complexion, constipation, headaches and irritability. These are all signs that your yang is TOO strong and your yin needs a little more support. Drinking slightly cool or room temp water can help to gently bring your yin and yang back into harmony. In general, we recommend avoiding ice water, but if you are really hot, ice can be helpful short term to cool things down. Adding some cooling foods like lemon, mint, or cucumber to your water can also help!


3.        Eat seasonal foods

We typically crave light, cool, fresh foods during the summer – things like fruits, vegetables and salads. This is generally the only time TCM recommends cold/raw foods, and even now we suggest taking caution with them. Pay close attention to your digestion. If you notice a lot of stomach gurgling, gas, bloating, diarrhea, or undigested food in your stool, then you are likely eating too many cold and raw foods. Try balancing that out by steaming or sautéing your vegetables or adding in more neutral and warm foods or spices like rice, ginger, onion, and chicken.  If your digestion is strong and you’re craving colder foods, things like watermelon, leafy greens, cucumbers, fish and seafood are perfect!  

Here is a GREAT summer snack that supports your yin and yang!





Watermelon Salsa

This salsa is quick and easy, and gives a perfect kick of spice with cooling, refreshing watermelon and mint! Pro tip: this one is a HUGE hit at summer parties.

Ingredients:

4 cups diced seedless watermelon

1 cup diced red onion

2/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

½ cup fresh chopped mint leaves

1-2 finely diced jalapenos or serrano peppers (Pepper depends on your spice-meter! Serrano peppers are hot! You can also remove the seeds, or leave them in for an extra kick. If you’re making this for kids, green bell peppers also provide a great flavor without being too spicy)

Juice of one lime – save the rind for zesting as well

 

Directions:

1.        Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl and stir to mix well. Top with lime zest. Serve slightly chilled. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

 

 

 

If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms we talked about here, give us a call or book online to speak with one of our practitioners! Acupuncture and herbal therapy are fantastic tools for keeping your body in balance this summer!

 

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