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How to optimize your health in Summer with Chinese medicine


laying on grass holding a flower

The principles of Chinese medicine emphasize living in harmony with our environment to maintain optimal health and well-being, it includes adapting our lifestyle to the present season.


Summer, Heart first!


A great empire needs a sound King/Queen, the Heart is our majesty.


Summer in Chinese medicine is associated with the Fire element, and the organ associated with this element is our Heart. Heart is most vulnerable during the summer time, and extra attention to heart health through daily life is beneficial. We can add massaging the acupuncture point Shan Zhong (CV 17) and stretching the Heart meridian into our daily health routine to promote the circulation of Heart Qi.

acupuncture point and meridian with yoga stretch

Heat


Summer heat with humidity is very difficult for many Canadians. Staying in an air conditioned environment is the No.1 solution for many people . While excessive heat and mid-day sun should always be avoided, moderate exposure to the natural summer environment is beneficial. Summer temperature promotes transpiration, which is a useful elimination and detoxification process for our body.


Diet


Summer temperature often invites a cooling and hydrating diet choice. Luckily, there are abundant fresh local vegetables and fruits at the market. Foods that have high water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers and leafy greens are specially suitable for this season; sea foods and fresh water fishes are also top choices for proteins. Heavy, greasy and/or overly spicy foods should be avoided during this season.


Consuming large amounts of iced drinks is also never a good idea. It weakens the digestive system and stagnates the digestion process, which can easily cause digestive discomforts.


Sleep


Longer daylight hours and heat can sometimes disrupt sleep patterns. Creating a cool and comfortable sleeping environment, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and wind down before bedtime to promote restful sleep during the summer months is essential for overall well-being. Classical Chinese medicine has always suggested sleeping a little later and waking up a little earlier, and adding a short early afternoon nap can help to gain an optimal energy level during summer time.


Emotion


We know that emotions impact our overall health. Summer is associated with the emotion of Joy. Engaging in activities that bring you joy, spending time with loved ones, practicing stress-management techniques and avoiding over-excitement to maintain emotional balance is essential for this season.


Certain people find that transitioning to a new season is difficult in many aspects. It is a good idea to consult your acupuncturist to see how acupuncture can help, and take advantage of this pleasant season to take good care of yourself.




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