Article by Allie Franczak
Summer is the season of yang and fire. Everything is in full bloom and we take the time to enjoy all the summer activities that this season brings . Get outdoors, and get moving – but don’t forget to replenish and recharge yourself with lots of water and cooling foods.
In TCM, the organs that go hand in hand with summer are the Heart and Small Intestine. The Heart is considered to be the most important of all the internal organs. Sometimes described as the ‘ruler,’ ‘emperor’ or ‘monarch,’ the Heart regulates our emotions, houses the mind (shen), and is the organ of joy and laughing.
The Small Intestine separates the pure from the impure. This works on a physical, emotional and mental level! A healthy small intestine channel gives us the ability to clearly see our choices and make decisions. It gives us the power to extract what is good and discard the rest.
Acupuncture Points to Support the Heart and Small Intestine
Small Intestine 11 (SI-11) – Heavenly Ancestor: Located on the centre of the scapula, this is one of the most important spirit points on the Small Intestine channel. This point is used to help clear the internal mental and spiritual chaos of someone who has lost clarity and certainty. This point opens the chest and calms an anxious heart .
Heart 7 (HT 7) – Spirit Gate: This point is located on the wrist, and is an important point for emotional issues such as anxiety and worry. It is also good for those struggling with insomnia, poor memory, depression, or lack of libido.
How to Keep your Fire Organs Healthy according to TCM
- Stay active – try some yoga, Qigong or Tai Chi, or any activity that makes your heart sing!
- Healthy diet – red foods help nourish the heart by making up for the loss of yang or fire energy in the body. Some healthy foods for your heart includes tomatoes, beets, cherries, red beans, watermelon, apples and strawberries. Try the smoothie listed below from
- Quit smoking – since the hearts function depends on the health of your lungs, now is a good time to quit smoking. You can look to your herbalist for astragalus, which helps with the anxiety that can often come with quitting smoking.
- Develop good sleeping habits and get a good quality sleep – after a long, hot day outside, make sure to get lots of good sleep at night to balance levels of yin and yang.
- Control your stress levels – The heart houses the shen which is often translated as “mind” or “spirit.” The shen is thought to regulate your emotions, consciousness and other mental functions. When your shen is healthy, you are able to think clearly and rationally, feel calm and peaceful, and cultivate healthy relationships with other people. Try some meditation, stillness or practice joy through singing or dancing.
- Laugh – the sound of summer is laughter. Watch more comedies, tell silly jokes, find a laughing yoga class (yes that’s a thing!), do the things that make you laughand your heart with thank you.
Chinese Herbs to Tonify the Heart
There are many great formulas out there to help bring balance to the heart including a few of our favourites from Dao Labs. Physical Tranquility helps to relax and cool a restless body for a more peaceful sleep by supplementing the yin in the heart and kidneys. Mental Tranquility calms an active mind and improves mental awareness by nourishing the heart and spleen qi.
Magical Moon Medicinals also has an amazing line of bath salts and bombs that include Chinese herbs. If you’re not into ingesting your herbs, then why not enjoy a bath and let them soak in through your skin. The passion soak can e used to calm the spirit, get blood moving, help nurture connection through self love and/ or romantic love, bring more passion into your life and encourage your heart to open to love.
BEET BERRY SMOOTHIE
This smoothie is beautifully bright and red in colour which will nourish the heart and blood. The berries are perfect for cooling for the body during the summer months.
- 1 cup plant milk (oat, hemp, rice, almond, soy) or coconut water
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 small beet (washed, peeled and cut into sixths)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- Optional: 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, honey to taste
Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air.– Ralph Waldo Emerson