We’ve had some great teasers of summer, and sure enough, the fire of summer will arrive! I hope this newsletter reaches you happy and healthy. Welcome to the fourth in a series of newsletters centered around health insights, tips and on staying on an optimal path of health & wellness, from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
Summer is element of Fire Fire is related to the organ and meridian system of the Heart and its partnered organ the Small Intestine. While there are two other organ systems that also relate to Fire, the focus of this newsletter will be on the main one of the Heart. In this season Fire is predominant, and in our body, like in nature, this Fire element is warming, heating, activating, brings spark, spirit, love, laughter and joy. This element and energy system is also in charge of the tissue of the blood vessels and the sense organ of our tongue. Too much Fire, like in nature, can cause heat, sweating, dryness, redness, volatility and fluctuations in emotions and anxiety. Often Fire conditions can lead to insomnia, and deeper psycho-emotional states. On the opposite end of the scale, too little Fire will result in coldness in the body, body fluid accumulation, lack of warmth and affection in our emotions, nervousness, anxiety, and depression. The goal of this season is to promote the warming and generating action of our energy, as well as fostering our emotions of love, laughter, joy and spirit. This season is also an important season for those who have difficulty with keeping their body warm, as this is the most optimal time to strengthen the warming action of the body, because at this time, the body is most attune with the season of Fire. The element of Fire is associated with the taste of bitter. Eating or drinking bitter foods to an optimal level, nourishes the Fire element, the Heart, and all that the Fire element encompasses. Thus, when we eat dark chocolate or coffee, we are nourishing the Fire element within us.
The Heart is in charge of the strength of the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, and it governs our blood vessels. It governs this movement upward, and outward, in an expansive way. Physical weakness in the Heart and Heart meridian show signs similar to Western medicine cardiac conditions, such as chest pain, chest pressure, irregular heart beats, etc. The Fire element is unique in Chinese Medicine in that it has 4 meridian systems, rather than the regular 2: Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, and Triple Warmer. In order to keep things simple and brief, I will only be addressing the Heart meridian system.
Fire, and the Heart from a psychological and emotional perspective, is integrated with the emotion of joy. If our Heart and Small Intestine are functioning properly we give love and joy in equal amounts to being able to accepting and feeling love and joy deep within us. A weakened or disturbed Heart energy system, shows up with signs of anxiety, insomnia, and on the more extreme end, volatile emotions, inappropriate laughter or other psychological conditions. In this season when Fire is strong, we feel warmth, spark, spirit and joy. However, if the Heart energy system is activated too much, this excessive (flooding) condition can eventually disrupt any one of the Heart’s functions. One of the most important functions of the Heart energy system, is that it houses the Shen, which is translated most closely to our “Inner Spirit” in Chinese Medicine. The manifestation of our Shen is seen in our eyes and complexion, and should radiate outward, like a light.
To further explain, from a deeper emotional level, the Shen is our spark, our inner spirit, joy and life force. It is the life and spark behind our eyes, and it governs our state of mind. Thus, if the Shen is oppressed, or not receiving the proper governance from the Heart meridian systems, then the Shen is disturbed, and shows up in emotional states such as anxiety, depression, volatile emotions, or on the more extreme end, psychological conditions.
If you enjoy using aromatherapy at home, using essential oils is a great way to improve the state of our emotions and promote the free flow of Qi. As essential oils go directly to our Limbic system, they directly affect the physiological responses mediated by the Limbic system of how we ‘feel’ about something. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, essential oils go directly to the head and Brain, which house our Shen (Spirit) and hence can directly affect our emotions. Use essential oils like Jasmine, Melissa, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rosemary, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Lavender, help promote the Fire, love and joy within us, and the free flow of Qi in the Heart and other fire meridian Qi. Thus the oils can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, and help us feel love, joy, spark, spirit and warmth within us. However, be sure to use good quality, 100% natural oils, as the synthetic, chemical and adultered oils can cause reactions, and there are many essential oils out on the market that are of poor quality. If you are unsure of the quality of your essential oil, please send me and email or give me a call, and I would be happy to advise you.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this brief insight on the season of Summer, the element of Fire, and the Heart & Small Intestine meridian systems. If there is any particular topic you would like me to address and answer, please feel free to email me, and I will make sure to cover it at some point in one of the newsletters.
Have a joyful and healthy Summer!