As we transition from spring to summer, we enter a time of increased warmth and heat. This is the time of the Fire element season and with it comes a lot of energy. Being a very yang season, like that of spring, it reminds us to become more yang and active. Summertime starts June 21st and goes until September 23rd. This marks a great window of opportunity to unite with seasonal changes and adapt to the environment that we are currently living in. For example, cold body types will feel very good during this season because of the warmth and heat that help balance their cold body. Summer warmth promotes the cold body type to function more optimally, thus creating balance. But for hot body types, they are already hot within and this extra heat will create an imbalance within creating unwanted symptoms during the heat of summer.
The summer season is a time when the fire element is very active, it is a time for the heart and vascular system. The intensity of heat can just be too much for some hearts during summertime. In Chinese Medicine, they say sweat is the fluid of the heart. During summer one can get a summer heat stroke or even dehydration that may lead to fainting or dizzy spells. If one loses too much sweat one also loses electrolytes and other minerals. The loss of electrolytes can burden the heart as it requires electrolytes to function optimally. While sweating can detox the body, too much sweating can damage the body causing fatigue and putting a burden on the heart and vascular system.
Also, with the loss of sweat comes qi, energy, and life force. When you sweat, your qi energy comes out as well. It is known in Chinese Medicine that sweating damages the qi and it is important to not sweat excessively or you can become exhausted and fatigued. Limiting sweating and avoiding excessive sweating is a wise choice. This can be done by either limiting/avoiding running or participating in strenuous activities in the hot heat of the summer. It is often we see those running during summer around noon time under the hot sun drenched with sweat. This is often done by those multiple times per week if not daily. This in the short term cannot only produce unwanted symptoms, but the real concern is problems that are set into motion and manifest later in life. These symptoms are often difficult to see how they relate to running and sweating a lot, especially for those doing it as they only see the benefits of intense exercise. Remember too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
By synchronizing with the fire element in summer you are linking yourself to the seasonal cycle of the earth which is synchronized with celestial cycles. By becoming active, you increase blood flow and circulation which can help rid the body of toxins and blockages within small capillaries in the body. Playing sports, riding your bike, jogging, hiking, or swimming can all do wonders for the vascular system. Exercises like weight lifting, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and kung fu can all help strengthen the core of the body and help increase circulation and promote the elimination of toxins. Waking up earlier and being more active socially and enjoying friends, traveling, staying up a little later, and enjoying nature are all ways to synchronize with summer and the fire element.
The Fire element color is red. By studying Oriental Food Therapy, one will find that in ancient times a correlation between heart health and consuming red foods was documented. By digging deeper into Oriental Food Therapy you will discover that shades of red, pink, and crimson-colored foods actually contain various antioxidants such as lycopene, anthocyanins, and capsaicin. These antioxidants have significant benefits for heart health and the vascular system.
Summer is the season to care for and nourish the heart and vascular system. Not only by exercising, being social, and traveling but through diet as well. Consuming foods with pink to reddish to crimson pigments such as watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, pomegranate, pink grapefruit, mulberries, red cherries, red bell peppers, cayenne pepper, red dragon fruit, plums, red Swisschard, red onions, hawthorn berry, and goji berries all provide phytochemicals and antioxidants that will benefit the heart and vascular system.
Drinking adequate healthy structured water with a balanced Ph is very beneficial to the vascular system and heart. The blood pumped by the heart is 50% water, so if you are dehydrated, your blood can thicken and become viscous putting an extra burden on the heart. Also, if you sweat a lot as mentioned earlier, your blood will thicken and become viscous especially if you get dehydrated to some level. Be mindful of drinking enough quality water, while at the same time not to over drink water. Over-
drinking water can put an excessive burden on the kidneys, remember too much of a good thing is a bad thing and too much water is not normal. Drinking coconut water, which is rich in all electrolytes would be great to counter sweating and the heat of summer. Homemade lemonade is also great, especially with the sour and cooling nature of lemons. In Latin cultures, they make lemonade blended with peppermint leaves to add an extra cooling quality.
Summertime is also the time to nourish and enrich the blood. To do this is to build and enhance its quality and quantity. Many people skip meals and eat insufficient foods leading to anemia or lower blood volumes that may burden the heart and leave the vascular system with insufficient blood to nourish the organs, tissues, and cells. This leads to premature aging, withering of skin, thinning of the hair, and just not feeling energized and full of life. Blood is your life, as the saying goes you can bleed to death, but to replenish and build your blood is to rebuild and nourish your life. The ancient saying goes, “It takes 30 mouthfuls of food to make 1 drop of blood and it takes 30 drops of blood to make 1 drop of hormones” (Jing in Chinese medicine). Hence, if there is a hormone problem, it is from insufficient blood, and if there is a blood problem, it is from insufficient food. So, it all goes back to the quantity of food. In the summer, it is the best time to take nutrients like electrolytes, nattokinase, omega 3 oils, CoQ10, Magnesium, B-complex, or B-12 vitamins.
While building blood is important to benefit the heart and vascular system, some individuals are not deficient at all but fall into the excess body type category. This would include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Varicose veins, edema, obesity, and blocked arteries all fall into the excessive body type characteristic. It is best to detox by limiting overeating and doing time-restricted eating by eating 2 meals per day and only eating for 8 hours while leaving 16 hours to restrict your eating. This allows the body to process and clean itself. It is also especially important to limit meat, dairy such as ice cream, fried foods, and alcohol or soda pop. Following a cleaner diet and a more plant-based whole foods organic diet is the solution to these burdens on the
By simply synchronizing with the seasons, you will find a yearly pattern that ancient Daoist masters had tapped into and through trial and error found a way and a path to live healthy. Living healthy frees you of burdens and limitations. Your health is your real wealth and by investing time to take the following ideas and incorporate them into your life, you will find something always to look forward to. Understanding each season and how to synchronize with it is a blessing.