Summer and Chinese medicine

If Yin is winter then summer is the time of maximum Yang. Yin and Yang are never static; they are constantly in motion, ebbing and flowing like the tides. The point when the sun is highest in the sky, the summer solstice, is the actual moment of maximum Yang, a second later the ebb begins, but of course, the dominant energy of the summer is Yang.

We see this Yang energy everywhere in summer. The plant growth explodes, insects fill the air, birds arrive to feast on the abundance,and animals are building their reserves for the winter. Everything is blooming and inter-connected. The sun spreads its warmth and its light. The Earth responds with an upward and outward expression of energy.

As humans we also respond to the heat. Although we are often divorced from nature, even in the cities we feel the pull of the Yang. The parks are full of people playing, laughing, relaxing, sharing. When we are freed from the cold we are freed from our inhibitions. If we are truly in tune with ourselves, and the movement of energy within, we become more open, more communicative, more sensual.

For summer is the time of the Fire element. Some of us will embody this element so completely that it is always with us, it is who we are. If so we will laugh readily. If in balance, communication will be one of our greatest skills. We will be naturally sensual and love the playfulness of touch and hugs, and we will have a deep emotional vulnerability that will often leave us wounded by the careless words of others.

As with all the Five Elements of Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, Fire has its own strengths and weaknesses. One element is always dominant but we are also strongly affected by two of the others. Many of us know the joys and hurts of the Fire element.

Many of us know the nervousness of entering a crowded room, the racing heart of public speaking, the longing for relationship and love. Conversely, we also know the joy of becoming comfortable with new people and the warmth and fulfilment of new love.

The secret is to try to bring ourselves into balance. We can be touched by the world but not too much, to burn but not so brightly that we are consumed by our passions and desires.Whether through acupuncture, meditation, devotion, or any of the other ten thousand paths, learn to know yourself and in so doing express the Fire element when the sun is highest in your sky.

With thanks to Paul Cooney, acupuncturist.