Summer begins to take its turn in the Chinese Calendar on May 5th, the first day of Summer. This means this is the start of the “heat” trend, as Summer “stands up” to take its turn. Life at this point takes a new turn for growth, and the Yang Qi (warmth and activating life-force) grows and thrives more exponentially from this point on.
Continuing with Red Tree Wellness’ philosophy of helping guide you on your pathway to health, this is the fourth in the series of newsletters that will focus on educating you about a condition that relates to that season’s element from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Our topic this season is Insomnia, and the Summer (Fire) element meridian of the Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Warmer meridians.
Before we get into that, a reminder about our heartfelt philanthropy program at Red Tree Wellness! Until August 15th 2012, Red Tree Wellness donating 30% of all Facial Acupuncture Rejuvenation sessions toward the Sanga Primary School clean water project in Ghana! Clean water is so important to health, and we are proud to be able to offer our skills in a way that will help benefit the livelihood of those locally and globally. Did you know that Facial Acupuncture treats the WHOLE body? Treat what body systems you would like tuned-up (trouble sleeping?), in addition to getting a facial rejuvenation (local treatment, including hands-on finger massages) for fine lines, wrinkles, acne, baggy eyes, puffiness, etc. Why not make a powerful difference with your dollar by helping the health of those less fortunate while taking care of your own health. Book online 24/7 .
Summer is the time of the element of Fire which is related to the organ and meridian system of the Heart, and its partnered organ the Small Intestine, in addition to the meridians of the Pericardium and Triple Warmer. In this season the heat of Fire is predominant, and in our body, like in nature, this Fire element is warm, heating, activating, outward and moving. Internally, we may feel more spark, rejuvenation, outgoing, and inspired. The Heart meridian in Chinese Medicine is one of the main meridians that regulates our mental functioning, our Spirit and our state of mind – our ‘Shen’ in Chinese Medicine. Thus, it is also one of the main ones that regulates our sleep, and our ability to stay asleep. If the mind has too much Fire or heat, the mind is too active and awake, and hence cannot calm down. Or the reverse, is the mind is too active or awake, this active energy creates Fire, and the mind had difficulty calming down. The mind can become too active/have too much Fire for a variety of reasons. One is when we are dealing with a lot of stress and have a lot on our mind. Two, it can be from a hot environment to which we absorb this energy, causing the Shen (mind and spirit) to be too active and awake. In more extreme cases, when we are experiencing high states of anxiety and stress, not only has the mind become overwhelmed and over-activated, the Liver can then be overwhelmed and not able to promote good Qi flow to relax us (see our previous newsletter). Third and certainly not the last, the Heart along with the Liver and Kidney meridians, has a role at night to re-fuel the body with what we call “Yin”. This is like watering our garden at night to get re-nourished, re-generate, and get ready for the energy needed of the next day. If our body is unable to re-nourish our Yin at night in either or all of these meridians, we will have an excessive amount Yang relatively to Yin – which equates to a low-level of heat, and causes the mind and body to be too active at night. People with these Yin-deficient body states , often have night sweats or are hot at night. Prolonged states of an over-active mind/too much heat in the mind, can lead to the Yin-deficient states of the body not being able to re-nourish at night, due to the activity/heat consuming it.
The TCM approach to treating insomnia is mainly to calm the Shen (mind and Spirit). use points on the meridians to calm them and the organ system down, in addition to other points known to help calm the mind down. In addition, if there has been long standing insomnia as a result of either historical high stress (mind can’t calm/too active) or under-nourishment (can’t re-fuel), then we treat those organ systems and functions as well. Many times herbal medicine is very effective in addition or in lieu of acupuncture. There are a few points that one can self-treat with a little dab of Lavender on at night before bed. Lavender is an essential oil that not only treats the Heart/Fire meridians, it also functions to calm the mind, and regulate our circadian rhythms. Ask you Acupuncturist where these points are next time you are in to see us!
Speaking about self-care, look for a new upcoming seminar in June on Summer Lifestyle and Diet Tips from the wisdom of Chinese Medicine with Annie Kung, RAc! Please let us know of any other topics that you would like to learn more about!
Enjoy the inspiring growth of the Fire of Summer!
In good health,
Sonia F. Tan
BA, BA(H), DTCM, R.Ac, R.TCM.P.