Summer is here and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), summer is associated with the heart organ. In the summer, the energy shifts into more growth, outward expansion, and greatest yang activity. It is the time of heat, maximum activity and being outdoors and in nature.
According to TCM, the mind and spirit reside in the heart and that is why it is very important to take care of the heart and make sure it is in balance. When the heart is strong and balanced, one can sleep soundly and be calm and have joy. If the heart is out of balance then one can feel unhappy, depressed, nervous, agitated, and have symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, insomnia, poor memory and speech problems.
TCM is holistic in its approach and the basic tenant of this medicine is to live in harmony with nature and according to the season in order to prevent illness. There are certain characteristics and psychological emotions that are attached to each of the organs. For example, the summer is associated with the heart and its related organ small intestine. The color is red, the direction is South, it opens to the tongue, the sound is laughing, and its emotion is the joy (see table below).
|Yin Organs||Heart & Pericardium|
|Yang Organs||Small Intestine &
I would like to talk some more about the psychological emotion of the heart since it is a hard to understand the concept in the Western world. The emotion that directly affects the heart is “joy.” If the heart is in balance, you’ll have joy and contentment in your life. On the other hand, if you have excessive joy and over-stimulation, then that will injure the heart and affects the Spirit. According to Lingshu in “The Vital Axis” “When one is excessively joyful, the spirit scatters and can no longer be stored”. Hence, keeping the heart in balance is the way to go. Not too excited nor not too unhappy.
Other emotions can also affect the heart indirectly. For example, sadness, which is the emotion of the lungs in TCM, can cause heart energy to be deficient or stagnate if it was not dealt with correctly. To clarify this some more here is an example from real life: Last week a patient came to see me because of heart palpitation, shortness of breath and fatigue. Her symptoms appeared two weeks ago when the weather got warmer and the temperature went up to 30 Celsius degrees. During the assessment, I asked about major events that happened recently in her life since in TCM emotions play a huge role in illness. That is when I learned that a year ago she lost her husband to cancer. It took her months to feel better and accept the fact that he was not around anymore especially after 50 years of a happy marriage. I treated her with acupuncture, modified her diet, recommended some supplements, and prescribed Qigong healing exercises to help her overcome grief and to balance her heart.
Here are some tips to help you keep the heart in balance this summer:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Add some cooling (energy of food) fruits or vegetables to your water such as lemon and cucumber.
- Wake up early in the morning and stay up late to enjoy the long summer days.
- Eat light healthy food. Stay away from heavy, fried, greasy, and spicy food. Salads, fruits, and vegetables are good choices since they are cooling foods. However, do not overdo it since it may cause some digestive issues such as diarrhea.
- Eat more fish and seafood since they have a cooling energetic effect.
- Meditation is a great way to calm the mind which will want to wonder some more if the heart is not in balance. When you meditate face South, the direction of the heart energy.
- The following Qigong heart massage exercise will help move the Heart’s Qi, promote Blood circulation, and disperse Blood stasis. This exercise can be done lying down, sitting up, or standing:
- Take three deep breaths to relax the mind, body, and spirit.
- Place hands on top of each other and then place them on top of the heart (Male: place the left hand over the heart and right hand on top of the left hand. Women: place the right hand over the heart and left hand on top of the right hand).
- Bring your mind’s attention to the heart and visualize the heart’s energy flowing and circulating through the hands.
- Massage in twelve clockwise circular rotations, then twelve counter-clockwise rotations.
- The hands can either lightly touch the skin or be slightly off the skin up to several inches away from the body.
- Focus the mind’s attention on the heart organ allowing the energy within the heart area to flow and circulate with the movement of the hands.
- Inhale and visualize breathing healing light energy into the heart.
- Exhale and imagine healing light radiating out of your heart purging the heart of turbid Qi by releasing it out through the mouth.
- Repeat for 12 inhalations and exhalations.
You are worth it. You deserve it. Live your life to its fullest potential.
From my heart to yours,
To learn more about Qigong upcoming classes, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also learn some of these mind-body practices by purchasing my book Shift to Shine: Bridging Science and Intuition from Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Shift-Shine-Bridging-Science-Intuition/dp/0994921403?ie=UTF8&keywords=shift%20to%20shine&qid=1449605863&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1 or Amazon.ca at https://www.amazon.ca/Shift-Shine-Bridging-Science-Intuition/dp/0994921403/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466479781&sr=8-1&keywords=shift+to+shine where you will learn how to use Qigong healing to help you deal with negative energy and emotions.