It may not have felt like it lately, however, this Saturday marks the beginning of summer, although if you consider summer’s true onset being the solstice you’ll have to wait another three weeks.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the dynamic nature of each season is considered a powerful factor that can both support and challenge our wellbeing. As the climate changes, our bodies are required to adapt. Some fare better with each change of season than others.
We may recognise these tendencies in our preference for cooler or warmer weather, which in TCM terms gives insight into an individual’s constitution. Those with a warm constitution are the one’s wearing shorts through a Canberra winter whilst those with a cold constitution can be found wearing a jumper or coat on all but the hottest days.
Canberra’s summer typically brings hot and dry conditions so those with cold or wet/damp constitutions generally feel better in summer; cold achy joints associated with arthritic conditions can improve, snuffly sinuses dry out and spluttery coughs and colds tend to clear up.
In the five element theory of TCM, summer is related to the Fire element and is associated with the heart. The heart is considered the seat of consciousness and is classically referred to as “The Emperor” denoting its preeminent capacity to influence and co-ordinate all aspects of the body, mind and spirit.
Some people feel more lethargic or irritable in summer, which tells you they probably have a hot constitution; it might worsen heart conditions like arrhythmia and nervous system complaints like insomnia and anxiety.
Whilst winter is a time for introspection, summer has the potential to be brimming with conviviality, expansiveness and an abundance of joy. Long, languid days create the feeling of time stretching.
Simple was to keep in balance in summer include: Rest –don’t be afraid to have a cat nap in front of the cricket or by the pool; Nourish – eat cooling foods which are abundant in summer (watermelon, in fact all melons, cucumber and stone fruit like peaches and nectarines); Hydrate – especially in Canberra’s dry heat, up your fluid consumption; Commune – summer is the time to listen to your heart’s desires and put them into action.