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Natural LifestyleA burst of the refreshing scent of fresh cut grass, with the hint of citrusy top notes carried by the breeze, blends with sweetness of floral aromas diluted with a morning dew. Middle notes emerge in sensual carnality of ripening berries and the cooling, calming accords of young pine shoots. Then comes a base note: a pleasant surprise from the dense forest soils.

A musky scent of decaying woods emphasize earthy fragrance of mushrooms and aerial nuances of deep green leaves. Everything is coordinated and orchestrated by dazzling, evanescent and all-embracing sun. The hum of bees buzzing, the joyous singing of the birds, and a gentle fluttering of colorful butterflies, even the deep roar of thunder, celebrate enveloping a space of light, warmth and motion. Nature in the summer ascends to reach its full potential. So do we! Because we are an inseparable part of nature too!

At its core, Chinese medicine is based on the theory of five elements. Our whole beings is perceived through our natural surroundings which influence every aspect of our existence. If we live in harmony with natural rhythms we are physically, emotionally and spiritually balanced. Well, if that has had been so easily attained, this medical system wouldn’t have developed in such complexity and depth over past 2000 years! It gets even more complicated in today’s modern and civilized world. Still, it is worth trying to find bits and pieces of the naturalist in each of us by bringing awareness of nature closer to our hearts.

As the summer sun warms up the earth to infuse it with vitality, Heart pumps blood through blood vessels to maintain life.  Summer is the season and Heart is the organ of the Element of Fire. Just like summer, Fire is dazzling, exciting, trembling, radiant, expanding and warm. Therefore, in a summertime our hearts are more open and have extra capacity to bring power of light, love and awareness into the world. Our complexion is lackluster so we want to move more and be more active. We sweat easily, we laugh loudly, and we eat less and enjoy midsummer lucidity. We are comfortably seduced by the sun at its zenith. It provides us with the warmth to melt barriers, to establish relationships and to interact just like the sun interacts with the buoyant plant and animal world to the highest of its capacity. As all the senses are aroused our intuitive capacities can be heightened.  Visions and vivid dreams can stream into consciousness. Ah, what beauty!

Chinese ElementsFive Chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, water

The key element for a harmonious Fire Element is the Water. Without Water, Fire is fierce, threatening and deadly. Scorching heat dries the juices of life, injures the smooth flow of energy and exhausts resources. Our skin can become very dry. We may crave ice cold drinks and foods. Nightmares and insomnia take place. We might have desire for endless partying, too much sex and use of recreational drugs. There is constant need for physical or mental stimuli.  The heart is in grave danger. All the beauty of harmonious influence of Fire Element on humans relies on our deep essential resources (stored in Kidneys) rich in Water to guard the Fire by producing fertile steaming fumes. In the summer we take care about Water, in the winter we build up Fire.

Each Element in Five Element cycle has two energetic channels associated with particular organs, except of Fire Element which has four! In classical Chinese medical text Heart was metaphorically called Emperor and only duty of Emperor was to have a mandate of Heaven. Energetic channel of the Heart was mapped on the body but never used. Three other energetic channels and associated organs were addressed to inform the Heart-Emperor about nourishment, relationships, affairs and Water- Fire resources. When Emperor benefited from what was provided, the whole Empire flourished.

Here are some easy to follow guidelines for your “flourishing Empire” in a beautiful summer months:

  1. Spend as much time as you can outdoors. Visit often some body of water, ideally combined with sunbathing. Open the windows, doors, let the summer breeze purify and nature’s scents fumigate your home.
  2. Enjoy aerobic exercises to maximum of your capacity. Sweat, but make sure to properly hydrate a body. Summer is the optimum season for trimming!
  3.  Eat light! Avoid roasting, baking and deep frying.  Stir frying, steaming, pouching and sautéing are preferable cooking methods. Eat lots of seasonal vegetables- choose some which have a bitter taste. Use small beans legumes like adzuki beans, black eyed peas or mung beans. Eat small amount of animal protein: fish, dark chicken meat and eggs. Try to avoid all dairy products in summer, especially when summer is hot and humid or just very humid. Enjoy berries, particularly wild ones, peaches and apricots. Enjoy hot or room temperature infusions of fresh lemon balm, peppermint, red clover with the splash of lemon juice etc…
  4. Enjoy gathering of friends and family, establish new relationships on all fronts, be expressive and articulate your thoughts in a clear way. Play regardless of age and don’t take things too seriously!
  5. Spend some quiet time in meditation or prayer or walk in the nature because peacefulness of spirit and tranquility of mind are the hallmarks of harmonious working of the Heart.

Suzana Jelovecki, MS, Licensed Acupuncturist, is the owner of Roots and Branches Acupuncture and Nature Bound Woman
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for in-person consultation with and advice from a health care professional. The dietary, nutritional, lifestyle and other information on this website are not intended to be and do not constitute health care or medical advice.
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