Do you have any addictions? It struck me the other day that some of us have things that we may obsess over, but are they addictions? Or are they things we just can’t let go of? We begin the season of Fire this month in the Chinese calendar, and Fire often fuels a passion that can get out of control. Fire is the season of exponential energy and growth, and our inspirations that were little seedlings in the Spring, now make come to fruition in the summer. However Fire can get out of hand quickly if not contained properly. Addictions are things we feel we must have, however end up causing harm to us or to others. I may have a shoe addiction, however is that causing harm? Well maybe, for if I don’t exercise discipline, it will cause harm to my bank account! Obsessions on the other hand, are things we cannot let go of. Both, can cause anxiety, one of the base emotions that affects or is affected by the element of Fire in Chinese Medicine. The Fire element is associated with the most meridians in the body – 4 to be exact – the Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Warmer. So as you can see, having the most meridians also means a problem in the Fire element can get out of hand fast. Ultimately, this obsession can lead to addictions if we continue to add them to our lives and we are not able to let go. This is the biggest challenge in life – letting go, and we speak about it all the time in Chinese Medicine. Chinese Medicine has ways that can release this anxiety, and help the body to let go. Meditation practices are a good start to letting the Qi flow. Is there someone you know that is anxious, or their mind ruminates and are not able to let go of something?
What are the TCM practices during this season that we can do to keep our body in harmony? Our Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) guide for the Summer season:
Summer is the time to have fun – in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) summer belongs to the Fire element and corresponds to Joy and Laughter. This is the opportunity to synchronize your body rhythms with nature by getting outdoors to have a great time!
Days are longer in the summer. According to TCM, one should go to sleep late and rise early to get the most out of the brightness and high temperature (Yang Energy) of the summer. However, the scorching weather in the summer will also consume the vital substances (Qi, Blood, Body Fluid) of the body which results in fatigue. Take a nap in a cool/shaded area to avoid the hottest moment of the day in order to maintain vigorous energy.
Food that is an excellent choice in the summer includes watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, chrysanthemum, and mung bean. They are naturally cooling foods that can allow the body to stay balance in the summer influence. Careful of over intake of cold and cooling foods (e.g. ice cream) as it can damage the digestion system.
– Gary Chan, DTCM, RAc, RTCMP
Did you know that we have fun informational videos on various health topics? We call them TCM Tea Talks! We chat over a cup of tea about a health conditions, how TCM views it, how we can help, and de-bunk myths! Be sure to watch to the end to find out a little more about each practitioner, with “fast few” questions that are completely improv. They have no idea what questions are going to be asked, so the answers are completely spontaneous and at times, quite humorous! They are on our YouTube channel as well as our website and social media sites. Check them out and let us know both your thoughts and what topics you want to hear about. Here’s the latest one with our Registered Acupuncturist Sheralyn Hoiland on migraines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j-yAL2MtVM
Recently I have received more questions and concerns regarding menstruation. I have found myself quoting Dr. Karyn Smith’s D.TCM March youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHm2OuAjYM4) that “it may be common for your friends/family to have ______ but, it is NOT normal”. To clarify, it is not ‘normal’ or healthy to never know when your period is coming (unless you are going through puberty or menopause) and it is not ‘normal’ or healthy to have debilitating cramps (or any cramps) and you should never pass out because you period is so heavy! With acupuncture and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) you can change all of these issues and have an easier, happier, menstrual cycle.
At home you can do some simple gentle massage before your menstruation starts or during, to ease various symptoms. By massaging along the Spleen meridian (which in TCM, controls the retention of blood and treats the stagnation of ‘Qi’) you can get the ‘Qi’ and ‘Blood’ flowing properly to easy cramping, bloating and mood swings.
Start at you knee on the inside (medial side) of your shin bone and massage between the muscle and the bone. You can use your thumb and push from your knee to your ankle and along the medial side of your foot above your arch below the bones. Both legs/feet can be massaged and you may find that one side is more tender than the other. When you do find a tender spot do small counter-clockwise circles or gently press and release.
May you have a happy period
— Sheralyn Hoiland, BSc, RAc
Enjoy the ride of Summer and try not to exhaust yourselves. Find the time to be like the animals in the wild and take a nap in the shade…
Yours in good health and happiness,
Sonia & the Red Tree Wellness team