Your Fire Element Prescription — Summer 2014
“Of a small spark, a great fire”
~ Chinese Proverb
The transition from Spring to Summer has begun. The spring element of wood, provides the sparks to kindle a full summer fire. In the abundant heat and light of the season, the element of Fire is the special gift of Summer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organs of the Heart and Small Intestines are associated with this element. Working with the Fire element will help us to achieve balance for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
In nature, Fire is symbolic of maximum activity and change. It is the most Yang energy. The longer days and warmer temperatures encourage us to expand, to be more active and to embrace the season with joyful celebration. And, like fire, if we are not careful to balance the expansiveness, it can quickly consume our system.
The Heart governs our thinking and our feeling, and when the fire element is balanced, the heart integrates our thoughts and feelings harmoniously. We sleep better at night and have vital energy throughout the day. Emotionally, we can achieve warmth, sensitivity and fulfillment in our personal relationships.
When imbalanced, we either suffer from depression or feel a manic, excessive joy. Physically, the heart circulates oxygen rich blood and from a TCM point of view, it helps its companion organ, the small intestines, absorb the proper nutrition to fuel our activity. Summer is also the season when the heart and small intestine are the most vulnerable. We should pay more attention to our cardiovascular system and inflammations, especially in intestines. Moderate exercises help the heart to bring blood from peripheral areas to the center, and cooling foods help to maintain inflammation.
Staying properly hydrated helps the heart circulate the blood properly. When the body does not take-in sufficient fluid, the volume of blood decreases. The heart rate must increase in order to deliver the same amount of oxygen to the same number of organs. The increased heart rate causes the blood vessels to constrict so that the blood pressure doesn’t drop. It is essential that we drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. My favorite is Chrysanthemum tea for a cooling and refreshing herbal treat.
To counterbalance the summer heat, it is also good to eat cooling foods that are Yin, in nature. Raw foods such as salads, and juices with fresh fruit and raw vegetables, are good choices to cool and hydrate the body. Fresh fruits and vegetables can also reduce toxins and help to generate body fluids. Many types of seafood are cooling in nature, such as crab, clams and seaweed. Food is the best medicine to nourish the body and prevent illness, and in the summer, there is an abundance of fresh foods to enjoy.
We enhance our health when we understand and balance the energy of each season. Summer is a time to live your passion, to be active and to blossom!