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Staying balanced through the summer season

by | Feature, Traditional Chinese medicine

In the East Asian Medicine Five Elements system, summer is associated with the element of Fire. The Five Elements theory is a fundamental concept in Chinese medicine and philosophy that categorizes the natural world and the human body into five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each element represents specific qualities, organs, emotions, and seasons.

Summer, representing the peak of Yang energy, is aligned with the Fire element. Fire is associated with heat, light, expansion, and activity. It symbolizes the warmth and transformative power of the sun during this season. The Fire element is linked to the heart, pericardium and small intestine organs, as well as emotions such as joy, passion, and love.

Just as the sun radiates warmth and light, the Fire element in Chinese medicine is considered the source of warmth and vitality within the body. It governs the circulatory system, regulates emotions, and influences mental and emotional well-being. During summer, the Fire element is believed to be at its strongest, reflecting the vibrant energy of the season.

Health imbalances that can show up or worsen in the summer

The summer season is associated with the element of Fire, which can lead to excessive heat accumulation in the body. This can result in symptoms such as excessive sweating, thirst, irritability, red face, dry mouth and throat, and disturbed sleep. Heat imbalances may also manifest as skin rashes, sores, or infections.

As the heart is closely linked to summer, imbalances in this organ can occur. Insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, palpitations, and emotional fluctuations may indicate an imbalance in the heart energy. Excessive joy or excitement can also disturb the heart’s equilibrium.

Staying healthy and balanced during the summer season

Healthy expression of joy and connection

Embrace the energy of summer by spending time in nature. Embrace outdoor activities, appreciate the beauty of the season, and cultivate awareness of the present moment.

Foster meaningful relationships with loved ones and friends. Engage in creative pursuits that bring you joy and allow for self-expression.

Prioritize rest and avoid excessive busyness. Maintain a regular sleep schedule to allow for proper rest and rejuvenation. While social connections are important, also create space for solitude and introspection. Take quiet moments for yourself to reflect, recharge, and nourish your inner self. This balance between social interactions and solitary time fosters emotional equilibrium.

Practice gratitude to shift focus towards joy and contentment. By incorporating these principles, you can fully embrace the summer season while nurturing emotional well-being.


Engage in activities that help cool the body and calm the mind. Swimming, water sports, and gentle exercises like yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi can help regulate body temperature and promote relaxation. Seek out shaded areas or cool environments during outdoor activities.

Protect Yourself from Heat

Take measures to protect yourself from excessive heat exposure. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Wear loose, breathable clothing made of natural fibers like cotton or linen. Use hats, umbrellas, or sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.

Harmonize Your Environment

Create a cool and harmonious environment in your living space. Use light-colored or breathable fabrics for curtains and bedding. Use fans or natural ventilation to promote air circulation. Consider adding indoor plants, such as aloe vera or peace lilies, which can help purify the air and create a soothing atmosphere.

Summer foods to incorporate

Eat according to the season. Opt for light, cooling foods to counteract the heat of summer. Include fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, leafy greens, and berries. Avoid excessive consumption of greasy, spicy, and heavy foods, as they can burden the digestive system and contribute to internal heat.

In East Asian Medicine, certain cooking methods are considered cooling and are believed to help balance the body’s energy during times of excess heat or during the summer season. These cooling cooking methods include steaming, boiling, blanching and light stir-fry.

Proper hydration is crucial during summer to prevent dehydration and maintain optimal bodily functions. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider adding herbal teas with cooling properties like chrysanthemum or mint. Limit your intake of sugary and carbonated beverages as they can disrupt the body’s balance.

By incorporating these practices, you can support your well-being and enjoy the vibrant energy of summer while maintaining balance and harmony within your body.


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