Traditional Chinese Medicine Tips for Summer

BY MEAGHAN MOAKLEY, L.AC.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Hi! I’m Meaghan. I am the founder of Azalea Acupuncture + Aesthetics. We are now officially a week into summer here in Minnesota and I’m here to share some easy ways you can incorporate traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into your routine to support your body and mind this season. With the sunshine and warmer temperatures, summer brings a feeling of easy joy. Below, I’ve outlined some ways in which we can lean into that feeling and prevent some common health concerns that tend to come up in the summer months. Preventative medicine is key and is something I work on with patients all the time!

There are five seasons according to TCM: spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter (late summer is our bonus season that starts around the third week of August and lasts until the fall equinox). Each season has its own profile and based on this information, we can make choices in our daily lives that are best suited to the season. The yin organ associated with summer is the Heart, so we will sometimes refer to summertime as “heart season”. Here is summer’s profile:


HEART SEASON

Season: summer
Organ: Heart (yin) + small intestine (yang)
Emotion: joy
Color: red
Taste: bitter
Sound: laughing
Quality: growth, light, expansion, abundance
Cautions: excess


Some of this seems intuitive, right? Supporting our health and wellbeing can be really simple. As the seasons’ change, so do our habits. In the summer months, local farmer’s market goods are plentiful, we stay up a little bit later enjoying the company of friends and family, and we find ourselves wanting to move our bodies outside as a way to exercise.

Some health concerns that often come up during the summer are insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, depression, irritability, excessive sweating, memory issues, UTIs, heartburn, and more. Acupuncture, herbs, and slight tweaks in our daily habits can be effective in treating all of these health concerns!

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

Ways to Support Yourself this Summer

  • Switch up your sleep schedule: we all have a tendency to want to stay up a little later in the summer, but we also want to get up early to enjoy all that these long, gorgeous days have to offer! A little less sleep in the summer is totally appropriate (still shooting for 6-8 hours depending on your needs), and I encourage a midday nap if needed.
  • Incorporate more cooling foods into your diet to cool the summer heat: watermelon, cucumber, tomato, spinach, mint, dill, cilantro are all great options that are readily available at the farmer’s market or the co-op all summer long.
  • Incorporate more bitter foods into the diet to nourish the Heart: arugula, kale, dark chocolate, green tea, zucchini are a few of my favorites.
  • Now is a great time to add fish and seafood into your diet as well! These foods are best eaten in the summer months.
  • Jump in the lake!
  • Move your body outside in the sunshine: bike around the lake, walk with a friend or rent a kayak.
  • Drink lots of water, but without the ice! Icey drinks are really taxing on our digestive systems. Room temp over iced drinks always.
  • Prioritize that easy, joyful feeling: spend time with people who nourish your spirit and do activities that make you smile.
  • Get regular acupuncture and take your Chinese herbal medicine (or chat with your acupuncturist to see if herbs would be appropriate for you) get healthy and stay healthy so you can enjoy your summer.
Photo by Elle Pollock

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