Summer is just about here, and in the Bay Area the weather is keeping us on our toes! Last week alone we’ve had days in the 90’s and days in the 60’s. There was even a little bit of rain on my car windows this morning. It’s all a bit bizarre, but there are still practices we can follow to harmonize with the season. I do wonder what next week will bring, though.
We are fast approaching the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice. According to the Chinese Calendar, the solstice is the peak of summer, instead of the beginning. The Solstice is the transition point from Yang to Yin, when the days begin to shorten again. But as the heat grows, there are some great ways to take care of yourself in the Asian medical tradition.
1. Balanced Activity and Proper Sleep
This time of year is known as “Taiyang”, which means Greatest Yang, and it’s the time of year for the greatest activity. The Taoists say this is the time of year to wake early and go to bed late. But also to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the mid day, when it is most hot. This can deplete our resources with excessive sweating, and damage our Yang. It is also important make sure you are sound asleep during the hours of 11pm-1am. These are the most Yin hours of the day, the “Taiyin”. Deep, restful sleep at this time is important for the replenishment of what is known as our “vital substances”: energy, blood, body fluids, essence, and spirit.
2. Health-Full Diet Practices
Now, more than any other time of the year, is appropriate to eat more raw or lightly cooked vegetables. But still be careful if you already have digestive issues. Though we may feel very warm, often that means our heat/Yang is on the outside of our bodies where we can really feel it. This leaves the insides of our bodies colder and deficient. Adding more cold raw food to the interior can make this condition worse. Enjoy the summer’s bounty by lightly steaming or parboiling, to make the digestion processes easier for your system.
3. Herbal Tea
If you do feel overheated, a lovely cooling tea is mint and chrysanthemum. You don’t need to ice it for it’s cooling properties to be in effect. Drink it warm or room temperature for its health benefits. Both of these herbs are Asian medicinals. Mint, or bo he, clears heat from the head and alleviates headaches and fevers. Chrysanthemum, or ju hua, also clears heat, and is especially good for red itchy eyes. They also just taste nice and look pretty together.
4. Get Acupuncture!
As always, acupuncture and herbs are a good way to get yourself in harmony with Summer. There are many ways to make you more comfortable if the heat is too much, and to also make sure your interior doesn’t get too cold and depleted while the exterior is too hot and excessive. Click here to book your appointment today.