Sweet SUMMER & Abundant MONSOONS

Sweet SUMMER & Abundant MONSOONS

By: Talena W. DeBaun, BA, MAc, LAc 
Meridian Acupuncture 

In the Chinese Agricultural & Medical Tradition there are FIVE seasons, not FOUR as we generally count them in the West. These correspond to the FIVE-ELEMENTS of Nature which I use to diagnose and treat in Japanese Five-Element Acupuncture. In the last newsletter I told you about the Element 'WOOD,' and how it was reflected in SPRING (see article in PS "Health Articles"). In this issue we will explore the two seasons that occur between the late part of and early September. This time referred to as SUMMER & LATE SUMMER.

- The Fruitfulness of FIRE - 
In late Spring in the North there is a time when the abundance of new growth becomes very lush. The foliage turns from delicate chartreuse, to deep vibrant green. The flowering and fruiting of many plants reach their height. Everywhere you look is bursting with color. Bees are busy making honey. Here in the desert we know Summer as Hot, Hotter, and HOTTEST! Often it is dry, yet the bees are still working and the desert plants, like cactus, are flowering away and growing their own lush and abundant fruit, seemingly without any water! 

In the traditional Asian medical view, the 'climate' of Summer is HEAT, the 'color' is RED, the 'main organ' is the HEART overseeing its' Circulatory System. The 'flavor' is 'BITTER' (think coffee, tea and chocolate). And the 'ELEMENT' is called 'FIRE.' The FIRE Element helps us to recognize what is good for us (or not). Balance of Fire shows up in the health of the blood system and bodily temperature. It makes us able to touch and be touched. It allows us to express our feelings, to laugh, and to have wonder, passion, and joy. 

When the FIRE system is out of balance we may experience problems such as tennis elbow, high or low blood pressure, sweats, insomnia, heart palpitations, or emotional upheavals. We may find ourselves laughing at everything, or completely unable to laugh. Bringing our FIRE into balance helps our bodies to respond to extremes with a calm heart, to be open to experience and to Love Life! 

To help you bring your Fire back into balance consider adding more melons, cucumbers and moist salads in general back into your diet. Surprisingly, cold drinks, ice creams etc.. make the body think it is cold and help to hold heat in the body. For example, in other very hot parts of the world, like India, they drink hot tea which allows the body to clear the heat through better perspiration. In addition, adding some bitter greens, for example Mustard greens, into the diet during the summer will help to strengthen the heart which doesn’t like the heat. 

- The Harvest of EARTH - 

Late in August, after the full bloom of SUMMER, when the fruit and grain are ready for harvest, is the short season of LATE SUMMER. There is warmth and humidity in the air. The unpicked over-ripe fruit rots on the ground, returning to soil. In the southwest we call this season THE MONSOONS. The air is muggy, and heavy. The 'ELEMENT' of this time is called 'EARTH.' 
The 'climate' of EARTH is DAMP, the 'color' is YELLOW, the 'organ system' includes the STOMACH and SPLEEN(PANCREAS.) These organs have a lot to do with digestion and assimilation. The 'flavor' is 'SWEET'. We see EARTH's expression in our muscle tone, weight distribution, and harmony in the menstrual cycle. Earth also controls our balance, ability to be nurturing, and to mentally concentrate. If you have edema, varicose veins, or digestive problems, or you just feel muzzy headed, an imbalance in EARTH may be what's wrong. Balancing the EARTH in our bodies and minds brings us PEACE within and with our family and friends around us. 

To help balance your Earth element avoid dampening foods like cheeses and dairy products as well as soy. These foods add “inner humidity” which can increase edema or bloating which will create a sense of feeling hotter. It is helpful to immerse yourself in room temperature water, like a warm to cool bath (Not too Cold, Not too Hot). This acts like a lymphatic treatment for the body helping it to release excess water. 

The SUMMER seasons in Southern Arizona can be hard on us. Whether we are leaving for a journey, or are just returning from one, it is best to treat ourselves to Good Health. If we have any of the above FIRE, or EARTH problems we should not forget to address them. MERIDIAN ACUPUNCTURE is here to assist you with your Health Concerns or to give you a SEASONAL TREATMENT to help maintain your good health. 

May your SUMMER be filled with WONDER and HARMONY! 

Talena W. DeBaun, 
Meridian Acupuncture 

Talena has been a Practitioner of Asian Healing for over 20 years. She does gentle Japanese Five-Element-style Acupuncture and Asian Body Therapy, and is an Instructor at the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.