Summer Solstice Week: Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have a healing methodology called the 5
Phases (Elements). Summer is ruled by the Fire element and is expressed in
nature as well as in the body. Growth, joy and spiritual awareness between the
heart and mind are the focus during this season. Summer-heat belongs to the
element of fire and is predominant during the summer season. Symptoms of summer
heat are excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat,
constipation, and heart palpitations. Overactive functioning of an organ system
can result in symptoms of thirst, aversion to heat and craving for cold,
infection, inflammation, dryness, red face, sweating, irritability, dark yellow
urine, restlessness, constipation and "hyper" conditions such as hypertension.
Strengthening the immune system should be a part of any seasonal ritual! Any
tonic formula that strengthens the essence, nourishes the Qi and regulates the
heart is appropriate. Remember, the best form of medicine, is preventative.
Consider Andrew's great Summer Tonic Tea.
Learn how to heal with the seasons and how Traditional Chinese Medicine will
help you find remedies and bring your body back into balance!
Heart and Small Intestine
In summer, our energy dominates the Heart and the Small Intestine meridians.
There is a secondary relationship to the Pericardium and San Jiao or Triple
(Burner) Warmer. The heart dominates the blood and vessels, pumping life blood
through them. The function of the heart is to circulate blood to the body. As
long as the heart is in motion, blood circulates through the vessels maintaining
life. The power of the heart manifests on the face. When our face is well
supplied with life circulating blood, the fine capillaries in the face will
present on the face with a rosy and lustrous complexion. Chinese medicine
traditionally regards the face as a mirror of the condition of our heart.
It is said that the heart houses the mind or our Shen. The Shen is described as
the Spirit. In the Huang di Neijing (Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon), the ancient
Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source
for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia, the Shen refers to the
mechanism of change or the mystery of sudden and profound transformation, and
the expression in a person's face, particularly the eyes. When applied to our
body, the Shen describes what would be called our physical vitality, mental
activity, and spirit.
Sweat is considered the humour or fluid of the heart. A humour is a liquid or
fluent part of the body. For example, The vitreous humor is the clear gel that
fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball Sweating is a
natural cooling process for the body. Because sweat is the humor of the heart
and blood along with fluids are the same source, there is a direct
correspondence. Someone who has lost a large quantity of blood does not sweat,
and someone that has excessive sweat tends to have poor blood circulation,
anemia or excessive heat signs.
The heart also opens to the tongue. The color of the body of the tongue reflects
the condition of heart blood. Chinese medicine practitioners often discover
information about the heart's condition from the tip of the tongue where
imbalances of the upper (burner) organs, lung and heart, may excpress
themselves. The important signs in heart syndromes are palpitations, a tendency
to be frightened, chest oppression, pain in the cardiac region, insomnia,
nightmares, poor memory and delirium.
The Small Intestine transforms food particles, separating the pure from the
turbid. The small intestine receives partially digested food from the stomach
and processes it for further digestion by separating it into what the body needs
and waste providing its function to transfer what is needed to the spleen, which
is in charge of transporting it to the five organ networks. Fluids reabsorbed
and is passed on to the bladder. Solid waste is transfered to and expelled
throught the large intestine. The relation between the Heart and the Small
Intestine is best shown in the mental activities of the two. The heart meridian
communicates with the small intestine as they have an exterior and interior
relationship and influence each other closely. It is of great importance to our
spirit to be of clear mind and make wise decisions. Therefore, when the small
intestine is out of balance, it can expres as irritable bowel syndrome,
constipation, diarrhea or indigestion. All of these disorders appear to have a
huge emotional connection to their manifestion. Some cases of burning urination
(particularly if accompanied by symptoms of dark or red urine) are treated by
clearing heat in the heart. This heat, transferred from heart to small intestine
is then carried to the bladder with the fluid wastes. Other symptoms many cause
thirst, bitter taste in the mouth, tongue ulcers and blood in the urine.
The Pericardium takes care of protecting the heart. The pericardium is a
double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great vessels.
The pericardium's outer coat (the parietal pericardium) is tough and thickened,
loosely cloaks the heart, and is attached to the central part of the diaphragm
and the back of the breastbone. Its inner coat (the visceral pericardium or
epicardium) is double, with one layer closely adherent to the heart and the
other lining the inner surface of the outer coat. The intervening space between
these layers is filled with pericardial fluid. This small amount of fluid acts
as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest.
The San Jiao is a term found in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as part of
modelling the workings of the human body attempted by early Chinese medical
writers. References to it can be found in the oldest Chinese medical texts the
triple warmer balances various forms of energy (qi), including the harmony of
hormonal function. The San Jiao has been translated as triple heater, triple
warmer, three warmers or triple burner. The Shang Jiao (upper burner) -
corresponding to the thoracic cavity. This space includes the lungs and heart
and is associated with respiration. The Zhong Jiao (middle burner) -
corresponding to the upper part of the dorsal cavity. This space includes the
stomach and spleen and includes the Hepatic Portal System, various secretory
pancreatic cells, perhaps the duodenum, portions of the lymphatic system
carrying chyle, as well as catabolic and functions of liver cells and is
associated with digestion. The Xia Jiao (lower burner) - corresponding to the
lower part of the dorsal cavity. This space includes the small intestine, the
large intestine, the kidneys, the bladder and is associated with elimination.
Together these four meridians are in charge of the processing, storage, and
distribution of vital energy and therefore the maintenance of life.
The Fire Element
The element, Fire is associated with the Summer season and with heat.
The element is associated with the heart, pericardium, small intestines and
related to the tongue.
Fire represents physical strength, force, courage, desire, initiative,
fertility, passion, purification and rejuvenation. It represents both light and
heat. A positive fire person is strong, courageous and bold, dramatic and
passionate in all areas within himself.
Emotionally, this element is associated with the mind and it's stability. The
heart is the "seat" of the mind and therefore, its highest expression is love.
Enthusiasm, warmth in human relationships and conscious awareness.
The heart Chakra is in the center of the Chakra system and is the integrator of
opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego
When imbalanced, we may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy
(maniac condition). Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest Yang;
nature at its peak of growth, and the motion is upward. Agitation, nervous
exhaustion, heartburn and insomnia are other indicators of imbalance in this
Physically, when the fire element is balanced, the heart properly governs and
circulates the blood and insures proper assimilation of the beginning breakdown
of food in the small intestines.
Emotionally, when the fire element is balanced, sensitivity and expression, true
fulfillment and the equilibrium between heart and mind are our greatest rewards.
Finding joy in things we do can give great pleasure, satisfaction and the
ability to appreciate all that we are given in life! The greatness of finding
JOY in anything we do is an art, which encompasses other feelings of
appreciation, happiness and self contentment. These wonderful emotions have a
balancing counterpart and are found with every emotion we feel. On one end of
the spectrum is Joy, on the other sadness. On one end of the spectrum there is
anger, on the other there is pensiveness. This balancing act we experience all
From a Western Science point of view, emotions arise from complex chemical
reactions deep inside our brain. We actually have different classes of emotions
that arise from different brain areas. We have ancient, primitive emotions that
we share with all animals that have brains. These emotions are very powerful and
drive what we think of as instinctual behavior.
Traditional Chinese Medical Theory recognizes control of our body by Five
Elements: Earth, Wood, Fire, Water and Metal. Each of the Five Elements is
associated with a particular organ. The Ancients related a variety of different
characteristics with each element and therefore with each organ. Traditional
Chinese Medical practitioners use such characteristics to help diagnose patients
and to understand the etiology of the symptoms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine,
joy is most prevelant in the Summer. It is considered the emotion of Summer.
Although we can and do experience joy at any time or season, it is Summer when
this emotion is most in excess. This is believed to be due to the changes of
light and great heat which vary the balance within us.
Joy (Over-excitement or Manic behavior)
Affects the Heart and Fire Element
Slows the flow of Qi
then Fear controls Joy (Water controls Fire)
Common signs and symptoms include:
Mania, Disturbed Shen (possibly manic, risk-taking)
An example of this is:
Migraine headache caused by sudden joy from receiving good news.
Finding Balance in Joy
Joy, as the energy of love, is one of the highest vibrations on this planet.
According to the Universal Law of Attraction, as we think and feel we vibrate.
And as we vibrate, we attract. When we vibrate with joy and love, we attract
what is for our greater good.
Bring the joy, love and happiness that's already inside you to life! Sages tell
us that joy is realized when the personality and soul are in harmony. Experience
ways to go beyond conditional happiness to the blissful state of joy and love.
As you resonate with joy, love and happiness you automatically draw to you a
more meaningful, healthy, loving life.
The experience of joy can:
*strengthen your immune system.
*regenerate your whole physical system.
*burn away the impurities in your emotional system.
*disperse worries, anxieties, grief, greed, irritation and other negative
*sharpen your intellect and strengthen your memory.
*clarify and balance your mind.
*expand your consciousness and understanding.
*open you to receive higher impressions, inspirations, and transforming
Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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