Over the last few months, the season has been in a transitional period from Spring (Wood Element) into Summer.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the months of Summer are associated with the element of Fire. Summer begins at noon on the summer solstice.
Noon is the peak of Yang during the daily hours and the summer solstice is the peak of Yang in the year, this is called “maximum Yang”.
Summer is when we spend more time outside, which increases our exposure to the Sun. This synthesises vitamin D in our body which is good for bones and boosts Serotonin levels (the “feel good” hormone). The days are long and warm which encourages more activity not just in ourselves, but it can be seen in the plants and trees. The flowers of a plant often represent the full unfolding of the uniqueness of their character, a process that is symbolised by the Fire element.
The Fire element sparks and encourages our own growth and our abilities. The central organ of the Fire element is the Heart. It is the “Emperor of all organs” ruling over the entire body, physical, emotional, and mental.
There are 12 main organ Meridians in the body. Two for each element apart from the Fire element which has four. These are the Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, and the Triple Burner or San Jiao.
The Heart Meridian system rules more than the Heart. It regulates the circulatory system, Blood, Pericardium, Small Intestine, Triple Burner, Tongue (which is the root of the Heart), speech, face, and facial expressions. The Heart houses the Shen or the spirit of the Heart, which radiates and shines from a person’s face. Mental ability and our conscious are found in the Heart.
The Small Intestine Meridian is known as the “sorter of pure from impure”. It is the energy that helps to decide what is needed, and what is rubbish in a mental, emotional, and physical sense.
Fire is also the energy of the Pericardium Meridian, “the Heart Protector”. This is our ability to have connection to people, the energy that stands in front of our Heart and shields us from hurt, like a warrior would protect a monarch.
The Triple Burner affects the distribution of both Qi and body fluids. This is especially important for the Heart and Pericardium as Qi and Blood travel together and can influence all the other Meridians.
These three heater Meridians look after the three burning spaces. The top, the middle, and lower part of the body’s trunk. It is our internal thermostat that looks after emotional, and physical temperature.
The emotion associated with the Fire Element is joy and laughter. During these months through the pandemic for many people it has become more important to find joy in their life, as they feel like situations are out of their control. It becomes more important to take some autonomy back in some small way.
How to keep your Summer Meridians Healthy?
Engage your senses, Summer brings intense colours, sounds and fragrances. Take the time to absorb these experiences.
Do some gardening, even growing a few pot plants has a relaxing effect.
Go outside and breathe deeply.
The colour associated with the Fire element is red. Increase red fruits, eat fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Make time to prepare a meal, sit down to dine and eat slowly.
The taste associated with the Fire element is bitter, so include Spinach, Kale, Chard, and Endive in your diet.
Drink fresh water and keep hydrated.
Exercise, a healthy Heart needs regular exercise to keep the circulatory system in good condition. The Heart Meridian is more vulnerable in the Summer Fire element, so build your exercise routine gradually.
Read a book.
Listen to music.
Practise your Tai Chi and Qigong every day.
During the Summer Fire Element nature is moving, the plants are growing, animals are getting ready to produce young and everything is busy. Soon we will transition into Late Summer, and the Earth element.