The Season of Fire – How to Nourish the Heart and Reduce Inflammation in Summer
Summer is a time when energy flourishes, heat abounds, and days are the longest of the year. It is a time for love, creativity, growth and adventure! While for some this means fun in the sun, for others it’s a time of intense emotions, inflammation in the body, and burnout.
The key is to find harmony and balance. Reduce inflammation by avoiding extremes and reap the benefits of the abundant energies of this season. During the vibrant summer months, it’s important to stay cool AND tap into the season’s gift of Fire to live a life of radiant wellness. Read on to learn about the season’s energy and how to live harmony with this fiery season.
According to the ancient Chinese Medical text, Nei Jing:
“Summer is called the ‘season of flourishing’ as all the living things in the world are prosperous and beautiful. One should sleep when night comes and get up early in the morning. One should not detest the sunshine or get angry often, so as to correspond to the property of summer energy of “growth”. And, one should sweat to let off the Yang energy to avoid the stagnation of heat. If these principles are violated, one’s heart will be hurt. Heart associates with fire and fire is vigorous in summer.” (edited)
The Fire Element is Related to the Heart
According to the Five Elements theory of Chinese Medicine, the summer element of Fire corresponds to the Heart. Balanced Fire energy helps us to give and receive love freely. We can live with a sense of trust and openness, and to know when it is appropriate to temporarily close to protect ourselves.
When the emotional aspect of Fire is out of balance, we may become too needy of others, or too lavish toward them. We may also recoil and become too protective from fear of getting hurt. A healthy heart is vital to our wellbeing, and an open and loving heart is essential to forming healthy relationships.
Did you know: research shows loneliness has profound negative effects on longevity and quality of life.
Chinese Medicine refers to the Heart as the Emperor. It is seen as a precious commodity that reigns supreme over all the body’s major processes. This is true in western medicine as well. As cardiac disease is the leading cause of death, preventive heart health ranks high on the list of health priorities.
Here is a short video of a meditation and breathing technique to cool the body, center the mind and calm the heart.
When Fire is in excess, inflammatory conditions occur in our bodies:
- painful inflammation of the joints, skin or bowels
- chronic infections
- burning urination or diarrhea
- dryness in the lungs
- anxiety and sleep disturbance
Deficient inner Fire contributes to “cold” problems:
- cold/tingling extremities
- impaired circulation
- menstrual and fertility problems
- pain and osteoarthritis
Chinese Medicine aims treatment at balancing inner Fire. Acupuncture and herbs are used to clear excess heat to reduce inflammation, boost deficient fire to ignite passion, and promoting circulation to enhance cardiac function. Acupuncture, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle modifications help you experience immediate relief from acute and chronic symptoms. Preventive treatment addresses underlying disharmony to ensure balanced expression of heart in all aspects of life. CONTACT US to learn more, or BOOK HERE.
Seasonal Produce Guide to Nourish the Heart and Reduce Inflammation
Summer brings an opportunity to indulge in the abundant harvest of the many fruits and vegetables that line the farmer’s market and grocery store aisles. Take advantage! Full of vitamins and minerals, summer produce is just what our bodies crave nutritionally.
Fill your shopping basket with cooling foods such as melons and cucumbers to regulate body temperature naturally – and AVOID drinking iced drinks. Research shows that drinking ice water can cause your heart rate to drop. And, the colder the drink the harder the digestive system has to work to heat it up once it’s inside our bellies. This actually creates MORE HEAT (aka inflammation) in the body!
Naturally cooling, cucumbers deliver a good dose of Vitamins A,C, and K. They pack minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus, and health boosting polyphenols, called lignans. According to recent studies, polyphenols contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A summer staple! Naturally refreshing and thirst quenching, watermelon is drenched in nutrients such as Vitamins A, B6 and C, various antioxidants and amino acids. Most importantly, watermelon contains high levels of the carotenoid lycopene, a phytonutrient that is greatly beneficial for cardiovascular health.
One of the oldest known medicinal plants, Hawthorne has been used to treat and prevent heart disease for centuries. The berries can regulate blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve digestion! They are also full of antioxidants and vitamins.
Another great summer treat that helps balance blood pressure, promotes good sleep, provides hefty doses of Vitamin C, beta carotene and potassium! Great to help reduce inflammation, tart cherries are known to reduce uric acid levels in the body!
Oatmeal is a major player in the heart healthy diet. Unique compounds found in oatmeal (beta-glucan and avenanthramides) help reduce cholesterol in the bloodstream. This greatly contributes to cardiovascular health. Full of vitamins and minerals, oats help to stabilize blood sugar and enhance immunity, among many other health benefits.