In Asian medicine, late summer is considered the fifth season. The Japanese call it “dojo”. Unlike the other four seasons, the entire period of late summer is considered a transition. We are all energy beings and respond to these natural fluctuations. This can be a particularly fruitful and challenging part of the year because as we all know transitions can be wonderful but difficult. Late summer is about embracing simplicity and minimalism and taking a rest from making lots of choices and decisions. This requires becoming very selective about where you put your time and energy. Aim to cultivate routines and patterns that are harmonious and uncomplicated.YI the spirit of the earth element and the Spleen and Pancreas meridians provides nurturance, intention, commitment, and perseverance.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
The combination of the need to stay grounded while transitioning can demand a lot of our physical and energetic bodies. Acupuncturists notice that particular ailments of the Spleen/Pancreas meridians are more prevalent this time of year such as; IBS flares, Candida issues, overthinking and worry causing depression, excessive mucus in nose throat and mouth, heavy feelings in body with achy arms, legs and head, craving sweets, bloating and indigestion often with bowel irregularities, lethargy and lack of energy, low self esteem, chronic worry, craving of love and affection.
What to do? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Stomach are the organ and energy systems connected with the Earth Element; through them we cultivate stability and balance. When we eat, we are reminded of the faith it takes to rise each day and reliably give ourselves vital fuel. Because of Earth’s association with digestion, proper food preparation is key. Embrace minimalist food rules featuring unfussy basics on repeat and rotation. Keep flavors mild and avoid complicated dishes and combinations. Cooking our food longer helps our bodies assimilate our meals easier with less gas and bloating. Time to begin to bake and roast, instead of frying and sautéing. Imbued with natural, subtle sweetness, yellow-orange veggies prepare our bodies for the cold months ahead. Think pumpkin, winter squash, yellow apples, pears, yams and carrots. In China, very little raw food is eaten all year round, for digestive issues, consider minimizing raw food all together. If you don’t find that raw food causes bloating and gas, spices will help protect the Spleen and Pancreas meridian. For instance, add a little cinnamon to sliced peaches, or grated ginger to salad dressing.
The Earth Element lies in the transitions between all of the other elements. Like the mud-packed walls of an Adobe home, Earth literally holds us together. To thrive we need a strong affiliation to the earth to maintain a strong faith in the self, faith in our surroundings, and faith in others. Eating is an expression of our commitment to give our own presence to the world. The Stomach and Spleen meridians are responsible for digesting food, drink, and life experiences and transforming them into strength. In order for us to metabolize life and then receive nurturance from ourselves and others, the Yi energy of the Spleen must be strong.
As an Acupuncturist, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that getting regular acupuncture can prevent our bodies and our minds from becoming unbalanced during this transitional season. In this season, along with treating your main complaints, I create treatments that strengthen the center of your Earth Chi and help prepare your body for the upcoming Fall season. Squeeze every drop out of this season and as always reach out if I can help you or your family with any health concerns.~ Stephanie McGuirk, Doctor of Acupuncture, owner of TOTEM