Healthy Summertime with Chinese Medicine

July 10, 2010

chinese medicine, pomegranate, summer diet, summer foods

Summer is here! Our garden is bursting out with chamomile flowers, baby pomegranates are proudly standing in the bushy green tree, baby guavas are blooming out of their flowers…
The “Morning Glory” found a crack through my herbal pharmacy window and is slithering along bottled herbal tinctures and essential oils…
Our wolfie-dogs choose to stay outside and sleep right on the dirt under the moonless sky… My patients celebrate this time of the year by wearing lighter clothes and brighter colors.

The scent of summer ascends from Mother Earth in its full potential EVEN when it is rather chilly in coastal LA…

No wonder the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (1st century BCE) teaches us that “[In the three months of summer] Heavenly energy descends and the Earthly energy rises. When these two energies merge there is intercourse between Heaven and Earth. As a result plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly”(1).
No doubt, Summer is a period of luxurious growth!

When we practice Taoist and Chinese Medicine and Lifestyle, we pay attention to the seasonal cycles. We do this just because we are another expression of this marriage between Heaven and Earth and as such, we have the potential to mirror and manifest the cyclical changes that Mother Earth will consistently go through.

Movement Tips

Tip #1: To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer you may want to awaken early in the morning and reach for the also awakening sun for nourishment.

~ Face the rising sun: if for some reason you cannot see the sun just face East and connect with its rising energy.

~Take a mindful breath: feel your chest and abdomen expanding as you breathe in and slightly contracting as you breathe out. You don’t need to force the air in or out, just breath normally and above all joyfully.

~Feel your feet: if you have a chance, stand barefoot on the grass (provided it is not too chilly or too wet). You can also do this simple exercise before starting the car engine or as you are waiting for the bus.

Bring your awareness to the ball of of your feet and feel “roots” growing out of that area. In Chinese medicine we call that area “Bubbling Spring”. Feel the Earth supporting you whether you are standing on the actual soil inside the car, your apartment or in the street.

Take a few moments to appreciate the miracle of your breath and the solid, nurturing motherly energy of the Earth.

~Invite the Sun in: now that you are rooted on Earth, invite the Sun to visit your shrine by breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.
Feel the healing energy of this bright star flooding your lungs with millions of vibrating particles and activating your body as it runs through your veins, your organs, your bones, your flesh…Allow for the Heavenly energy of the Sun to bring inspiration and strength to your Body, Mind and Spirit.

If you would like to recite an invocation as you face the sun, you may want to explore the “Harmonization with the Sun” by Spiritual Teacher Hua-Ching Ni. It is short and very inspiring.

Tip#2: Brush your skin! Yes! create your own inexpensive spa at home. Skin brushing will enhance circulation and stimulate your immunity so you can enjoy the summer at your best potential!
Just get a loofah and enjoy these revitalizing and simple skin-dry-brushing tips.

Tip#4: Enjoy some outdoors life! Early morning and late afternoon Sun can be quite enjoyable! I am planning to walk with the wolves (it’s rather hot for running!) at least once a week. Swimming, cycling, walking are also excellent ways to get our summer CHI healthy and moving!
Remember to take electrolytes with you since dehydration is one of the main causes for ER visits!

Tip#3: What about my diet?
Mother Earth is bursting out in bright colors. I am sure that you are too getting the brightest colors out of your closet! It only makes sense to follow Paul Pitchford’s recommendations to “use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables”(2). I truly enjoy his tips on “Summer Food and Preparation”, always handy when we run out of ideas!

My dear friend and colleague Kirsten Cowan L.Ac also has quite smart and simple tips in case a heat wave attempts to leave your body dehydrated and weak.

The Best of Tips: follow your intuition.
Our ancestors will speak through our genes and will let us know what is the most appropriate way to live a joyful and healthy Summer!!!

To your abundant Health!

Yamin Chehin, L.Ac.

(1). “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine”, translated by Maoshing Ni, Ph.D.
(2) “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford, page 331.

One comment

  1. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips, and making me more aware of this wonderful season!
    Happy summer, abundance, colors, sunlight, breath…. celebration!!!

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