Having just had the Summer Solstice we are now officially in Summer. And we have indeed been fortunate to have beautiful blue skies and warm (currently ‘hot’) sunny days. Long may it last…
The Fire Element
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) summer is associated with the Fire element. It is represented by the colour red and correlates with the Heart and Small Intestine. Unlike the other elements there are a further two energy channels, or meridians, which are associated with Fire. They are considered functional or physiological and are the Circulation Sex, sometimes called the Pericardium (as it protects the Heart) and the Triple Warmer, often referred to as the Three Heater/Three Burners.
You can understand why Fire is the most yang element and summer is the most yang time of year when you consider the increased temperatures, longer hours of daylight and all the growth and activity that takes place at this time of year. In line with this the emotions associated with Fire are also very yang in nature as they tend to be very passionate, joy, love and hate.
Summer is a time of activity and action, growth and maturation. It’s an important time of year to move your body, get active and have some fun. Spending more time outdoors is easier with the warmer weather and longer days. You can charge up on solar power, remembering to stay nicely hydrated.
The sound associated with Fire is laughing, so again make a point of relaxing and having some fun. Laughter can also be very healing. We often go on holiday this time of year, but you don’t have to go away to have some extra fun and give yourself permission to relax.
Heart & Small Intestine
The heart pumps blood around our body and unsurprisingly blood vessels and arteries are the tissues associated with the Fire element. So our whole circulatory system is influenced. Our circulatory system provides us with nourishment, fuel and oxygen and exchanges them for waste products which can later be removed from the body. Our hearts generate very strong electromagnetic fields, (greater than that of our brain), which can communicate and influence every muscle, organ and cell of our body. No wonder it’s known as the ‘Sovereign Ruler’ in TCM.
Our heart relates to our ability to rule, see clearly and understand. I think it’s a good reminder not to rely solely on our mind to see clearly and understand. Our heart can tell us so much more when we listen to it.
The small intestine absorbs nutrients from the foods we eat to distribute to the rest of the body. It also separates out our waste material which it passes onto the large intestine. It helps us sort out what we need from what we don’t need.
Supporting the Fire Element
Diet and exercise play key roles in supporting the Fire element. And it makes sense when you consider it’s our circulatory system and our digestive system that’s so involved.
With the warmer weather eating a diet that’s light and cooling is the way to go. Think of it as a way of balancing yin (foods) and yang (season/time of year). An ideal diet for this time of year is predominantly raw fruits and veggies, organic where possible. Fruits are the most wet and cooling foods (yin) followed by vegetables. Yang foods are more concentrated and heating so keep those to a minimum (for example dairy and meats).
Aim to eat lots of fresh fruits and juices, vegetables and multicoloured salads, some nuts, seeds and grains. Have less dairy products and meats.
The flavour associated with Fire is bitter. Examples of bitter foods, which support the Fire element are green leafy veg especially endive and watercress. Coffee, tea and natural chocolate (without sugar). Remember it’s all about achieving a state of balance, so too much can undo the good a small amount may have helped.
Red foods such as strawberries, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes and rhubarb can also support this element.
A cooling diet can help if there’s an over energy within the element, so lots of water, fruits, veg and juices. If there’s a weakness a more warming diet with cooked foods will help. Whole grains such as buckwheat and millet are good heaters as are spices such as cayenne and ginger.
Supporting your Heart health
It’s very clear that our diet influences or health and wellbeing. Our heart health is paramount for obvious reasons, so here are some simple ways to support your heart health.
Avoid salt, fatty foods, high cholesterol foods, refined sugar, refined/processed foods and chemical additives.
Do eat lots of fresh fruits and veg, have more whole grains, drink herbal teas and exercise.
If you want to find out what else you can do have a look here
How it might affect you
When the Fire energy is weak a person my feel lacklustre, suffer from anxiety, restlessness and insomnia. They may be easily stimulated and excitable. They may be emotionally cold and unfeeling.
Common physical symptoms linked with an out of balance Fire element include issues of the heart and circulatory system for example palpitations and hypertension.
I hope you’ve found that helpful and it’s given you some food for thought. It’s important to remember to follow the cycles in nature and listen to what our body actually wants.
If you feel you’d like more help to bring yourself back into a state of balance, so you can get back to feeling really good again get in contact.