In Chinese medicine, the element associated with the season of summer is fire.
Fire at the Spirit Level
Summer is a time of expansion, when people realize their fullest selves and are engaged in lots of activity. As the element of summer, fire manifests itself in our lives as joy, laughter, excitement, and love. Just as flowers bloom during the summer, we can open up to the environment and people around us.
Those of us who are experiencing a fire deficiency have too much of the water element in our systems, and thus miss out on the joy and emotional connection that summer has to offer. We may experience anxiety, fear of rejection, shyness, emotional isolation, or sexual inhibition or frigidness. Rather than being open about who we are, we may present ourselves in a calculated and false light, making it even more difficult to make connections.
Too much fire can be a bad thing, resulting in overexpansion. Consequences of excess fire may include anxiety (especially social anxiety, as summer tends to be a highly social time), mania, and other extremes. Imagine a person who never stops — always going, speaking, joking, and laughing. Anger combined with too much summer excitement may even produce rage.
Fire at the Bodily Level
The heart, small intestine, pericardium, and “San Jiao” (a function that controls internal body temperature) represent fire in the body. As such, fire deficiency can result in:
- Poor blood and other fluid circulation
- Chills and numbness
- Menstrual, urinary, and sexual dysfunction
- Digestive problems, such as slow digestion, watery diarrhea, and abdominal pain
- Poor expansion and contraction of the lungs, leading to poor blood oxygenation, congestion, and coughing
Excess fire can dry out the body’s internal fluids, affecting metabolism, joint lubrication, digestion, sexual secretions, and menstruation. Specific symptoms may include:
- Joint inflammation
- Dryness of the lung
- Chronic infections
- Inflamed sinus and throat
- Burning urination
- Digestive problems, such as burning diarrhea, dry stool, and constipation
- Sleep problems
Balancing Your Fire With Acupuncture
To ignite fire in patient that is lacking it, an acupuncturist will target the fire’s corresponding organs. Although the other elements in traditional Chinese medicine have a yin organ and a yang organ, fire has four organs associated with it: the heart, small intestine, pericardium, and San Jiao.
In Western medicine, the heart serves as the head of the circulatory system, pumping blood throughout the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the heart is the sovereign of the body and symbolizes self-awareness. It maintains peace and harmony among all the body’s organs, and controls emotional and spiritual intelligence, wisdom, and renewal.
In both Western and traditional Chinese medicine, the small intestine filters the pure from the impure: In one, it filters nutrients from waste as part of the digestive system; and in the other, it filters the nutritional elements of our daily communication from the disagreeable elements to enable us to focus on the good in our interactions with others.
The pericardium is the membrane that encloses and safeguards the heart. In traditional Chinese medicine, this membrane is said to act as a doorway that closes the heart off from negativity, only granting access to positivity. Ancient Chinese texts even describe the pericardium as “[t]he court jester who makes the king [Heart] laugh, bringing forth joy.”
Unlike the other organs in traditional Chinese medicine, the San Jiao has no physical component in the body. It controls the thermoregulation (heating and cooling) of the body, and is also referred to as the “triple heater” or “triple burner.”
The opposite of fire is water. To treat fire excess, an acupuncturist will introduce more water into the patient’s system by utilizing points associated with water’s yin and yang organs: the kidney and the bladder.
Balancing Your Fire at Home
To best enjoy the summer, engage in the following simple practices:
- Drink a lot of cool water to rehydrate the moisture that the sun sucks from your skin.
- Eat cool and refreshing foods, such as seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Be active. Exercising, playing, dancing, and loving will all help keep your circulatory system healthy. Considering wearing Ghost Flower, a women’s activewear brand that is created to flow along the Chinese meridians within out bodies.
- Prioritize having fun! This is more important to your health than you might think.
- Engage your senses in the many textures, sounds, smells, tastes, and sights that summer has to offer.
- Trust yourself and listen to your heart, the organ that governs intelligence and understanding.