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Summer According to Chinese Medicine

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During the long days of summer, abundant sunshine and warm temperatures nurture the luxuriant growth and full maturation of plants. All around us gardens blossom and bear fruit.


Whether we are aware of it or not, each season can have a profound influence upon our health and well-being.

One of the ancient writings of Chinese medicine, the Inner Classic, suggests that this time of the year expresses the Yang principlesexpansion, growth, outward activity, lightness and creativity.

The flowers and fruits of our gardens are bursting in abundance. Everything is maturing and at the high point of growth. This is also the time of year for us to be at a high point of our outdoor activities and recreation. It is important to understand that as the seasons flow within the natural world, they also flow within us.

During this time of year you may have more physical energy and feel the desire to garden, play sports, go hiking in the woods, or take long walks. Let the sun’s energy, nourish and reinvigorate you.

Rise early, stretch and reach toward the sun. Like the plants in your garden, let the bounty and the warmth of the outside world enter and enliven you.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are two stages of summer: Early Summer and Late Summer.

According to the ancient principles of Chinese medicine these stages are represented by two elements: Fire and Earth.

Early Summer: Fire Element- Heart and Small Intestine are most active, alive and accessible to health, healing and development at this time of year.

When your Heart and Small Intestine are functioning properly, you will experience good sleep, sharp attention, will not be lethargic, experience joy, have clear speaking  If there is a Fire imbalance, you may experience anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, mouth sores, and difficulty sifting your ideas

Late Summer: Earth Element- Spleen and Stomach are most active, and are the most open to both positive and negative influences. The Earth element is responsible for turning food into energy in your body.

When your Spleen and Stomach are functioning properly, you will experience a good appetite, strong digestion, and good muscle tone! If there is an Earth imbalance, your digestion could be affected, the muscles of your limbs may be achey or stiff, and your energy could decline.

If we do not learn to flow with the changes, as nature does, illness can occur.

Some tips on what to eat during the summer season:

Since the weather is warm, you need light, cooling foods.

Juicy peaches, sweet watermelons, tomatoes hot off the vine…


  • Focus on yin foods.  Yin foods are wet and cool.  Fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers and watercress) are yin.  For protein, eat fish or seafood instead of meat.  Smoothies and salads are yin and are excellent summer meals.

Click here for a favorite watermelon recipe

Click here for more examples of yin foods

  • Eat moderately.  Avoid huge meals.


  • Eat bitter foods.  Bitter foods support the fire element.  Coffee, tea and chocolate (without sugar) are all bitter and moderate amounts of them are appropriate for summer health.  This is the season you can call your coffee a health food.  Asparagus, bitter greens like kale, arugula or escarole, celery and rhubarb are all good foods for the summer.


  • Stay Hydrated. We all know this one, and it makes the BIGGEST difference for your overall health!

 Click here for a hydrating water recipe to make it more fun and delicious to get your recommended water intake in!


Click here to book an appointment with one of our talented licensed acupuncturists and herbalists to help your body thrive during this summer season!



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