Learn how to stay healthy and balance your digestive health during Chinese Medicine’s 5th Season – Late Summer
Organ: Spleen & Stomach
Emotion: Worry, overthinking
Spirit: Yi (intellect)
Sense organ: Mouth
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are 5 elements that correspond to 5 seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Late Sumer and Fall). Right now, we are in Late Summer. This season runs from the 3rd week of August until the Fall Equinox. It is a transitional season between the strong heat of summer and cooler temperatures of Fall. A time when nature undergoes one last burst of growth before the harvest. Much like the fruit and vegetables that have been growing all summer, this is the perfect time for self-cultivation – to allow yourself to fully ripen and transform using the last of summer’s yang energy before retreating inward this winter.
The energy of the Earth element is dominant in Late Summer. The corresponding organs are the spleen and stomach which are very important organs for digestive health in TCM. It is well known that most diseases arise as a result of poor gut health, which makes this is the perfect time to strengthen your digestive system. The best way to do this is by eating seasonal foods that support digestive health such as: millet, corn, potatoes, squash, rice, ginger, fish with omega-3s and beef. It is important to avoid raw fruits and vegetables, dairy and excessively cold foods (drinks with ice, ice cream, slushies), as this will hinder your digestive health causing your spleen to work overtime and lead to a state of deficiency in this organ. Symptoms of poor digestive health (spleen and stomach disharmony) include: Irritable bowel symptoms, low energy, weight gain, blood sugar issues, gas and bloating, etc.
How worry and overthinking can negatively impact your digestive health
The emotion associated with Late Summer is worry and overthinking. A weak spleen can give rise to these emotions and lead you to experience excessive worry and ruminating thoughts. Conversely, experiencing these emotions for a prolonged period of time can weaken the spleen, even if it wasn’t weak to begin with. As you can see there is a delicate and intricate relationship between our bodies and minds that needs to remain in a state of balance in order to experience optimal health. A good way to combat ruminating thoughts is to eat a healthy diet that supports spleen health. Because the spleen is an important digestive organ in TCM if we eat nourishing food that are easy to to digest we will help to strength the organ. When the organ is strong is is better able to anchor our emotions and be able to rein in our thoughts.
Another way to overcome excessive worry is with regular exercise. The muscles are the corresponding tissue to the energy of the Spleen which means that strengthening your muscles through exercise will help to strengthen the Spleen as well. Exercise helps to move your qi and blood which supports mental and physical health. Find a consistent exercise routine that works for you – yoga, walking, dancing, sport, strength training, cardio, etc. It doesn’t have to be too intense or overwhelming, anything that gets you moving will prove to be beneficial.
One of the best ways to maintain your health is to live in harmony with the world around us. Pay attention to nature’s cycles and patterns and try to align your lifestyle accordingly. Seasonal transitions are an ideal time to support your health and help you to stay well all year round. Supporting your health during late summer will help to set you up for the Fall (when cold and flus are rampant), by improving your immune system and preventing disease.
Ways to practice self cultivation in late summer:
- Food Therapy
- Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong
- Walking, dancing, singing
- Positive affirmations
- Forest bathing
- Quiet reflection, journaling
- Exercise, physical activity, sport
Foods to nourish your spleen and stomach in late summer:
- garbanzo beans
- fish with omega-3’s
Foods to avoid:
- Raw fruits and vegetables (especially citrus)
- Excessively cold foods (ice cream, drinks with ice, slushies)
To schedule an acupuncture appointment for a Late Summer seasonal balance or Spleen & Stomach/digestive health give us a call at clinic reception: 905.553.9255 or book online: HERE
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