5 element theory

Nourish Your Heart in the Summer

Summer is Ruled by Fire


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is a healing methodology related to the seasons and the Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.  

Summer is ruled by the Fire element and is associated with the heart, small intestine and tongue.  It is also a period of maximum activity or greatest yang, which means that there’s increased heat, extroversion, and moving outward in nature and in our lives.

According to TCM, the Heart houses the Shen, which is the mind, memory, consciousness, and spirit.  While these activities are attributed to the brain in Western medicine, we tend to intuitively know that the Heart is also an organ of feeling or spirituality.  In fact much of our language refers to the heart as an organ of feeling.  Phrases such as someone “knowing things in your heart” or having a “broken heart” are speaking to an emotional organ rather than simply a muscle that pumps blood.  Of course, the heart does move blood throughout your entire body, but in TCM that function is secondary to its job of housing the Shen.  So, your heart can be said to impact your physical health, mind and spiritual growth and awareness.
During the summer season, be aware of how Fire is affecting you.  An imbalance may be evident in you physically, emotionally and/or spiritually.

Emotionally, if you have an imbalance, you may find that you’re either lacking joy (depression), or experiencing an excess of joy (maniac condition).

Physically, you may be experiencing palpitations, profuse sweating, hypertension, agitation, insomnia or sores on the mouth and tongue. 

It’s important to think about protecting your heart in multiple levels or layers.  Maintaining a peaceful and balanced Heart helps ensure the health of your entire being.

A Simple TCM Heart Exercise:  Smiling from Your Heart

This ancient exercise is one of the most powerful things you can do for the health of your Heart: Stand or sit facing a mirror. Now smile at yourself—really smile at yourself—directly from your heart. That’s it! How simple and yet how difficult this practice is for most people. Judgmental thoughts often enter our mind and prevent us from experiencing healing. True smiling from the heart, not just a fake smile, actually has a profound physiological effect.  Once you’ve mastered this exercise, then try smiling at others from your heart.

Nourish your heart and small intestine by balancing your sun exposure with shade, drinking plenty of water, and eating light, cooling foods.


©2012 Debi Farley | www.debifarley.com  


Debi Farley is a licensed acupuncturist, naturopath and owner of the Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia. To create optimal mind/body wellness, you need specialized information, expertise and experienced teachers. Debi works with and helps individuals achieve optimal health through her private practice and educational workshops.