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Getting Ready for Fire Season

Hawaiian lava flow

It’s June, the third month of Spring; the time where the energy (Chi) - inside and outside of you - begins its shift from the Wood element to the Fire Element.  The temperatures are rising, the air is getting dryer - the conditions that support fire.

From an Oriental Medicine point of view, this metaphorical thinking points out that to stay healthy over the next few months, your organs need to be balanced so that they’re able to deal with conditions caused by heat: primarily your Heart and Kidneys. Heart is the organ associated with Fire energy, and Kidneys with Water.

The Heart is most affected during summer, and consequently the Kidneys have to work hard to keep things cooled down, because Water regulates Fire.

Back to the Center
The first few weeks of June are also a good time to pay attention to your digestion. As one season is close to becoming the next, a re-centering takes place. During this transition time - about three weeks prior to the equinox or solstice - the energy (Chi) grounds itself before moving into the seasonal phase. This coming back to center, or rooting, is an attribute of the Earth element, which affects the Stomach and overall digestive processes. Then, after the equinox, you’ll find that your body and mind are more affected by the Fire energy.

Catching Fire
So what are some health issues to be conscious of during the summer Fire season?

  • Spikes in blood pressure or heart irregularity.
  • (Remember: Heart is the Fire organ).

  • Insomnia. This may be an indicator of Heart imbalance.
  • Feelings of anxiety and fear stemming from weakness in the Kidneys.
  • Headache, heartburn, and upper body heat associated with “heat rising” in the body.
  • Containing Fire
    Clearly fire is a good thing. It is a foundational element of life. And, we all know the damaging effects that out of control fire causes.

    Oriental Medicine is a very effective way to enhance the Fire power in your body while simultaneously strengthening the organs that regulate it. The result: a healthy, balanced body and mind, “firing on all pistons.”

    Read our article Staying Healthy in Summer to find out some simple things that promote summer health and happiness.


    Staying Healthy in Summer

    Summer Garden

    Every season is associated with one of the Five Elements, and for Summer, the element is ‘Fire.’

    Summer weather is typically hot, and relatively damp. For example, the muggy feeling you experience during Summer comes from heat causing dampness to condense and rise as it gets hotter. As on the outside, so too on your inside: in summertime, there is a tendency for dampness to accumulate within your body.

    The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”


    Summer Health Problems

    During Summer, some typical heat-related problems are: headaches, rashes, and feelings of irritation.

    For example: blood pressure may rise from too much heat trapped in the body causing headaches. Damp-induced blister rashes, or boils can erupt on the skin. And an over-heated Heart and Liver can make you feel irritated.

    Summer Health Tips

    It’s important to drink enough water and eat the right foods to ensure you’re meeting your body’s Summertime needs.

    • Drink more water. Because it’s hot and you perspire a lot during the Summer, the average amount of water you should drink in a 24-hour period is 48 ounces; this includes all fluids, such as, juice, soda, and other beverages. (Note: 48 ounces is the equivalent of 6 eight ounce glasses.)

    When you are sweating more than usual, drinking more is advisable. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel, and drink more when you’re thirsty.

    • Monitor your intake of salt.An imbalance of salt in your body—too much, or too little— can readily occur when temperatures are hot.

    You will know you’re getting too much salt if you find that rings you wear get tighter; and socks or shoes that fit you comfortably during cooler weather, leave lines or wrinkles on your feet or ankles because of too much fluid in those areas.

    • Eat cooling foods. Cucumbers, mung beans, mung bean sprouts and watermelon are particularly good foods to eat in the Summer. They help keep your body cool, and because of their diuretic properties, they also help offset excess salt intake.

    ... and REMEMBER


    Mid-Spring: Observations and Insights

    A camellia falls / spilling out / yesterday’s rain
    ~ Moritake

    You may have been noticing for a while that the calendar is becoming less reliable as an indicator of what’s happening with seasonal energy. For example, while the calendar tells us it’s mid-Spring in the northern hemisphere, the feeling of Summer is coming on strong.

    Putting that awareness aside for a moment, I want to share with you what I’ve been observing as we find ourselves at the peak of Spring energy.

    Liver/Gallbladder and Lungs at Mid-Spring

    People who have a balanced Liver/Gallbladder have lots of energy at mid-Spring, a time when the ‘get-up-and-go’ energy is in the air and pulsing through our bodies.

    If the Liver/Gallbladder needs a ‘tune-up,’ you may be feeling a lack of energy—like a car with spark plugs that can’t get things moving.

    On top of Liver/Gallbladder symptoms, many of us are having Lung issues like hay fever, allergies, and dry skin because the Lungs are low in energy now.

    Oriental Medicine can help relieve symptoms by balancing your energy so you can start feeling better now. And now is the time to build-up the Heart/Kidneys in preparation for the health challenges a body experiences in Summer. Summer is also the time to rebuild Lung energy—take advantage of the opportunity.

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    IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.