Summer, According to Chinese Medicine

It might already feel like it’s here, based on where you’re living and how many patios you’ve visited so far this year. Or it’s coming very, very shortly. So it’s time to talk about how Chinese medicine views this glorious season!

Not surprisingly, Chinese medicine views summer as the most extroverted, energetic, and vital time of year. The days are long, flowers are in full bloom, and life just seems to be popping everywhere. In Chinese medicine, we associate the season with Fire. Of all the seasons, summer contains the most yang energy, and it’s the time of year that our digestive fire is the strongest.

Throughout the winter we were storing up energy, going deeper within ourselves, and spending time inside. (Some may think of it as hibernating.) In the springtime, energy begins to move up and outward. And in the summer, that energy is at its absolute peak. It often feels like the energy faucet is on and open all the way—and energy is moving very freely.

The organ most related to Fire and summer is the Heart. Our Heart stores shen, which is the source of our emotions, vitality, and response to the world. All of our emotions come from our heart. When our heart is balanced, especially during summer, our emotions will be smooth and appropriately expressed and joyful. If our hearts are unbalanced, we might feel mania, act erratically, or be otherwise inappropriately expressing emotion.

Shen and your heart control the quality of your sleep. If our heart is calm, our shen will rest peacefully through the night. If your heart is agitated, you might be waking up way too early. If your heart is deficient, you might experience trouble going or staying asleep.

Summer is the time when we have the largest amount of energy available to us—but we want to make sure to keep calm, nourish our heart and shen. It’s a good time to focus on those emotions!