In Traditional Chinese Medicine, staying in harmony with each season can protect our health. That means it can also protect our skin’s health!
What does traditional medicine say about summer?
Yin and Yang
Summer is the time of greatest “yang.” Yang is pushing, expanding, opening, radiating, expressing. For an image of Yang, think of the sun in all its glory.
What Summer Yang can also mean is that our energy pores are open wide and internal mechanisms and doorways are more open and active than other times of the year. This can be good or bad depending on your own unique constitution. It’s a great time to drink lots of detoxifying fluids like herbal teas and water, and eat plenty of detoxifying fruits and vegetables.
This Yang season is when you want to be cleansing your skin more often, as your skin may be secreting more oils, you may be perspiring more, and your pores may be naturally open so that you can really get a deep cleaning effect from your normal routine.
The Energy of Foods
Summer is also, of course, a season of heat. If your health troubles are caused by internal “cold” according to TCM standards, you may feel better during the summer. If your health troubles stem from too much internal “heat,” summer’s hot weather can throw you further out of balance.
That’s why Traditional Chinese Medicine prescribes more cooling foods in the summer. “Cool foods” aren’t necessarily cool in temperature like popsicles, but are rather foods that cool the body internally after they’re consumed. Conversely, warm or hot foods in TCM produce a warming sensation within the body after you eat them.
Raw sweet fruits like bananas, melons, strawberries
Raw vegetables and salads, especially cucumber
Water, peppermint tea
Bitter herbs like dandelion and mustard greens, lettuces
Peaches, tomatoes, mangoes and oranges
Onions, ginger, garlic
Coffee and energy drinks
Oily and fatty foods
The study of food’s effects on the body is a big part of Chinese medicine, and why dietary therapy may be part of a TCM prescription.
Summer Fire and Your Heart
Summer corresponds to the element of fire, and they both correspond to the heart. Summer’s a great time to stay active and get your heart beating. However, too much activity, especially around noon – the hour of the heart, can be too much. Take a break around the noon hour and get out of the heat, enjoy some cool shade, cooling foods, and rest. Most cultures in warmer climates, and Chinese cultures, naturally incorporate a rest time at mid-day for this very reason!
Are you interested in how seasonal changes affect your own personal health? Do you experience changes in your skin that you’d like to discuss? Book an initial intake video conference appointment with Dr. Olivia Hsu Friedman at Amethyst Holistic Health Solutions to keep your health journey on track year-round.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.