As the scorching summer sun moves through its cyclic pattern, we see the natural landscape move into its most active time of year. This climate promotes the growth of all living things, as “green” prevails over the landscape. Plants follow their Original Instructions blossoming and bearing fruit, as it has always been, since the beginning of time.
Regulating Daily Life
As the prosperity of summer arrives, traditional Chinese medicine advises one to rise early and go to bed late, and to not be adverse to the long days, or high temperatures. Being careful not to sleep in the open air at night, or under a fan when it is hot, is important to prevent a cold, stiff neck, stroke, or Bell’s Palsy during sleep.
Doing some physical exercise early in the morning while facing the sun is very beneficial, and promotes timely elimination of wastes from the body, inspiration of fresh air, and increased metabolism. The best places for this are in the forest, mountains, or by the seashore.
Getting appropriate amounts of sunshine is also recommended for the natural intake of vitamin D and cellular growth during this season.
Bathing in warm water once a day is also advisable due to the intense mid-summer heat. This helps wash away not only sweat and dirt, but helps keep the skin cool and refreshed to prevent sunstroke and other diseases. Warm water or massage can calm the sympathetic nervous system, dilate superficial blood vessels, improve circulation and nutrition of the skin and tissues, reduce muscular tension, eliminate fatigue, improve sleep, and enhance the body’s immune function.
Taking a nap might be helpful for some, as long summer days and short nights may lead to fatigue. The best time is after lunch.
In terms of summer clothing, select light, soft, light-colored and well ventilated material. Silk and linen are great choices, especially for underwear. Cotton absorbs sweat well, but doesn’t release heat appropriately. This may lead to congestion, fatigue, and achy common cold like symptoms during the hot summer weather.
Regulating the Emotions
As summer heat easily disturbs the heart, it is easy to feel anxious, restless, uneasy, and even experience bouts of insomnia. Take care to keep your mind calm, even, and peaceful to avoid any excess emotions from injuring the physical body. Avoid anger and vexation and keep a calm temperament. In many ways, this is the most important advice of all.
As you may suspect, due to the strong heat of summer, it is highly recommended to eat foods that are slightly cooling in nature to prevent the body from over heating. Foods such as bitter gourd, chrysanthemum leaves & flower, watermelon, musk melon, and mung beans are some great choices.
However, it is not advisable to ingest cold or iced-drinks, or melons or fruit straight from the refrigerator as they are too cold and will cause digestive weakness.
In late summer when humidity is in excess, it is easy for peoples digestive functions to become weak. Stick to a clear, bland diet for prevention. Include more foods like Job’s Tears, wax gourd, love pea’s, cucumber, etc. and avoid fat, greasy, hot-natured foods. Eat a wide variety of foods during the bountiful summer season, emphasizing color, smell, and appearance so as to activate the digestion and improve appetite.
Physical activity during the summer months is best undertaken in the morning and evening hours. Stick to moderate activity to prevent excessive perspiration, sunstroke, etc. Walking, swimming, Taiji or Qigong, and other movements that emphasize flexibility, gentleness, and strength are favored.
Taking into account the tips in this article will help you have the most enjoyable summer season. Remember to eat and dress light, refrain from excess emotion, exercise gently in the morning or evening hours, keep the body clean and refreshed, and avoid overly cool areas with wind, drafts, fans, and artificial air conditioning. Natural coolness is best, like under a tree, in a pavilion, or empty room. These natural places allow the body and mind to cool down and be at peace.
all good medicine,