Weathering The Seasons: Late Summer—Early Fall
We know about seasonal energy from a common-sense point of view.
We know when to take out and put away our seasonal clothing. We know about spring cleaning. We know about winterizing our homes and cars. But we don’t normally connect our body’s needs to the season, except when it gets too hot or too cold.
By paying attention to seasonal energy, you can have more personal energy year-round—while greatly reducing your vulnerability to colds, flu and other seasonal discomforts.
Your Body In Late Summer and Autumn
Of all the seasonal changes of the year, the change from Summer-to-Autumn is the most complex, because there are more energy interactions occurring than usual.
Late Summer has a combined effect on your body’s Heart, Digestive, and Lung energies. With all these energies swirling around, it’s a challenging time for our bodies.
Rebuild Heart and Kidney Energy
Beginning to rebuild Heart and Kidney energy now is also important because their strength gets depleted over the course of the Summer. Hot weather puts a lot of stress on the Heart and Kidneys. So to the extent you’ve experienced very hot weather over the Summer, to that extent your Heart and Kidney energy has been depleted and needs to be replenished.
Late Summer is primarily the time of the digestive energy, so your Pancreas, Stomach and digestive absorption are the focus of the body’s attention now. And by the time we arrive at mid-September, the focus will shift again; at that time it will be to the Lungs.
So while the digestive system generally needs a boost at the end of each season, this is especially important at the end of Late Summer because your body needs to be as able as possible to digest and absorb nutrients as it prepares for Autumn and Winter.
When Autumn arrives, your Lungs will be doing the heavy lifting, so their energy needs to be kept in balance to ward off invasions of colds and flu.
Oriental Medicine can help ...
Summer Solstice: Being in Rhythm With the Season
Summer Solstice marks the time of year when days are long and temperatures rising.
From our Western, astronomical point-of-view, June 21st marks the first day of Summer. And since we’re cultivating an understanding of ‘seasonal energy’ or ‘Chi,’ now is a good time to point out that ‘energetically’ — as Eastern thinking goes — the Summer Solstice marks the mid-point of Summer rather than its beginning.
Whether or not this idea seems a bit unusual, just for the sake of exploration let’s consider what it might mean if Summer Solstice does mark the midpoint of Summer rather than its beginning.
What difference would it make in your life: besides being just a day on the calendar reminding us to wash the deck furniture and get ready for vacation?
Seasons Affect Your Organ-ization
We all know that each season of the year has its own unique characteristics and requirements.
In our minds, we know we need to change our wardrobes; that different kinds of events find their way onto our schedules; and (to some extent) we change our diet and the food we eat. At the same time, your body is making its own adjustments.
According to the 5 Element Theory used in Oriental Medicine, the major organ systems in your body also change with the seasons. Each season a specific organ system goes into ‘energetic overdrive”: Heart in Summer; Spleen/Pancreas in late-Summer; Lungs in Autumn; Kidneys in Winter; and Liver in Spring.
If you’re trying to manage your health in accordance with these natural rhythms, then finding out that Summer Solstice marks the midpoint of Summer, rather than its beginning, could be a problem.
It means that right now we’re way further into the ‘Fire’ energy of Summer then you thought, and you probably have not been making the necessary ‘lifestyle’ adjustments your body needs to stay ‘balanced’ in Summer. These adjustments are needed to offset the stresses Summer places on the Heart, and by association, the Kidneys.
Knowing Is Technology
Did the ancient Chinese think and act ‘seasonally’? Of course they did; they had to. They didn’t have any choice. They had no on-demand electrical lighting, no refrigeration for their food, or air-conditioning to keep cool in Summer. When it was dark, it was dark; when it was cold, it was cold. Knowing how to be in synch with the energetics of the season was their technology.
In the 21st century we have astounding technologies which enable us to disregard natural cycles and their rhythms. And to the extent we’ve lost that rhythm, to that extent we’re out of balance. And when you’re out of balance you stumble, and too much stumbling leads to falling down.
Increasingly that’s what’s happening to the general level of health these days; it’s falling down.
The message I want to end on is an uplifting one. Today we can enjoy the benefits of both Western and Eastern technology: the technical accomplishments of Western science and the intuitive knowing of Oriental Medicine.
As we see it at BIOM, the goal of healthy living is reached when we balance both approaches and thereby live a balanced life.
Asthma and Oriental Medicine
Having read a somewhat disturbing article that talks about more and more people being negatively affected by asthma due to climate change, I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell you a little bit about treating asthma from an Oriental Medicine point of view.
While neither Western nor Oriental Medicine have a cure for asthma, Oriental Medicine does have treatments for mitigating asthma symptoms which can bring much welcomed relief, and if you, or someone you love, suffers from asthma, you know how welcome that relief is.
Relief Is Possible
Oriental Medicine can’t promise dramatic relief of asthma symptoms in everyone, but because everyone’s body is unique, it makes sense to try Oriental Medicine for asthma relief—especially if what you’re currently doing isn’t helping or causing unwanted side effects. For example, I once treated a child with severe asthma, using only gold beads (a needle-free method of acupuncture), and his breathing improved significantly.
Proper diet and exercise can help strengthen the Lungs, which according to Oriental Medicine, also strengthens the Immune System. A vibrant Immune System is better able to combat allergens, bacteria and viruses that can weaken the Lungs and make you vulnerable to respiratory problems.
Treat the Lungs in Summer
Oriental Medicine is very attuned to how your health is affected during each season of the year: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. With each new season your body needs to adapt to new environmental factors like: temperature, amount of daylight, what foods are in season, to name a few.
Everyone knows in Autumn and Winter that the Lungs are vulnerable to infection by cold bacteria and flu viruses. This is also the situation in early Spring. It’s only Summertime when we can relax and enjoy being soaked by the seasonal warmth, making Summer the best time to work on strengthening the health of your Lungs.
My breathing has become more shallow over the past few months and recently I had an asthma attack. The herb formula you gave me opened my lungs up and I can breathe deeply again. Clearly I’m deeply concerned now and will follow your advice about how to rebuild my lung energy. Thank you, Kitty! — Testimonial
Tai Chi & Chi Kung for Your Lungs
Tai Chi and Chi Kung are excellent exercises for building and maintaining healthy Lungs. These gentle movements focus on physically expanding the Lungs, which increase your capacity to inhale more air. These exercises also focus your body’s ‘Chi’ or energy in a way that compounds the benefit your Lungs get by simply stretching them—it’s like giving your Lungs a massage with your muscles and your mind.
And while we’re on the subject of ‘exercise,’ if you suffer from asthma you should explore and understand the need to exercise your Lungs in a way that does not overtax them.
When the Lungs are weak, as they are if you have trouble breathing, strenuous exercise can deplete energy from your Lungs. That’s why Chi Kung and Tai Chi are prescribed for Lung health.
When people with breathing problems come to BIOM for treatment, I often show them one or two simple Chi Kung exercises they can do to get deeper breaths today, while we work on building stronger, long-term Lung health.