This year the summer solstice is on December 22nd and this is a wonderful time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and within others. Since this is the day with the most daylight hours it is a great time to contemplate our inner light as well as looking beyond the surface and seeing the light that shines within others. Ask yourself ‘what puts a sparkle in your eyes and makes you shine?’
It is quite appropriate then that in Chinese Medicine summer relates to the Fire element for which the primary organ is the Heart, the organ that is said to house both the mind and the spirit. The Heart corresponds with both relationships, and how we love and relate to others and ourselves, as well as to our consciousness and our mental activity.
Summer is the most yang season, a time when we seem to have more energy and want to do more, and Fire energy is expansive and spreads easily. Use this time to connect with your spirit and your purpose, with inspiration and with joy. This is a time of ideas, a time to work smarter rather than harder, to be creative and make important decisions by allowing your Heart to guide you. Your key thought for this summer is Love and loving yourself is the action.
Western medicine describes the right side of your heart as maintaining pulmonary circulation to your lungs while the left side of your heart pumps blood to your extremities. In Chinese medicine your Heart is considered the master of your body and the emperor of your organs. It has many functions that go above and beyond simply acting as a pump. It still governs blood circulation and controls the blood vessels, but it also:
- Manifests in your face by way of your complexion.
- We can read so much about a person’s mental, emotional and physical health in their face.
- Opens into your tongue and affects taste and speech.
- Each element is nourished by a different flavour and your Heart likes the bitter flavour (green leafy vegetables like kale, green and yellow vegetables like broccoli or celery, sprouts like alfalfa, rye, dandelion tea, and more). It is interesting to note that Heart problems often have an underlying issue of feeling bitter about life.
- Did you know that acupuncture can improve stuttering by rebalancing the Heart energy?
- While the Heart may affect how you speak, remember that what you speak affects your Heart. What is your self-talk like? Are you open to and allow good communication with others or are you closed and blocking communication? Good communication is an important element of healthy and fulfilling relationships
- Laughter is the sound that is healing to your heart. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?
- Controls sweating to help you stay cool in summer. This is the fire energy so it needs to be balanced with the cooling energy of water.
- Corresponds with the emotions of Joy and Happiness as well as ruling over the whole sphere of mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life since the Heart is the Emperor.
- Joy is feeling one with everything and everyone, and a nourished Heart can feel this deeply. The Tao Te Ching calls happiness the most dangerous emotion because by chasing after happiness we often create joyless lives.
- To find out more about the five elements and five emotions watch my webinar Think Well, Feel Well
Mind, body and spirit are all one so neglecting your body means neglecting your heart and soul. Chinese medicine sees blood as the mother of qi (loosely translated as our energy) and qi as guiding the blood (circulating it). So to maintain good Heart health and strong circulation it is important to nourish yourself with healthy eating, as well as doing regular exercise and meditation, both of which encourage deep belly breathing to keep your blood well oxygenated.
When your qi and blood is nourished then your Heart is nourished and this manifests with a balanced emotional life, good mental activity, clear thinking and a good memory, since your Heart holds your memories. When your heart is calm you can relax enough to sleep deeply and restore your senses. A healthy heart and mind has the capacity for meaningful relationships with the ability to relate well to others and to yourself.
When your heart is malnourished you experience problems like depression, anxiety, palpitations, your thinking is dull and your memory is poor, you may struggle with mental restlessness and insomnia or somnolence.
How is your heart health? Nourish your body with good food and breathe deeply to stay present so you can connect with each moment and find the joy in it. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are a wonderful way to help you restore your Heart health physically, mentally and emotionally. Contact your local practitioner of Chinese medicine today and have a truly joyful summer.
Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Wholefood counselling). Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine located in Botany and Katoomba, NSW and is a lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.