A solar term is a period of about two weeks and is based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system, which follows the ancient belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This series explores each of the year’s 24 solar terms, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
Solar Term: ‘Major Heat’
2020 Date: July 22 to Aug 6
Characteristics and Meaning: “Major Heat” is the last solar term of summer, often accompanied by heavy rain, floods, and thunder.
The ancient Chinese saw summer as the peak of one’s life, but it precipitates the decline in the same way that summer soon cools into autumn with winter following, so as it is in life with middle age and so on. Knowing the solar terms allows one to live in harmony with the ways of nature. As all things have a season and a rhythm, living in harmony with this basic truth of the world is also beneficial for our health.
Impact on People: There is an old Chinese saying, “The best time to fix winter diseases is summer, and the best time to treat summer diseases is winter.” Winter diseases are like extremely cold ice present inside our bodies; if we want to melt them away, we need to find a time when both the environment and our bodies are hot. Major Heat is such a time.
The top Chinese doctors work with nature to treat diseases, and so can we, as individuals. We can help our bodies to recover from our old problems and prepare to transition into a safe winter if we take care of our bodies well.
Living in Harmony With the Season: Although it might be hard starting out, or a major change for some people, our bodies will appreciate it in the long-run if we can avoid eating cold foods. Cold for this purpose means colder than our bodies’ temperature. Especially food colder than room temperature should be avoided.
Our digestive system is a fire of sorts. This is why we used to burn food to see how much it could heat water to calculate the energy our body would derive from eating it. This process of determining the calories contained in a given food was refined as food regulators required that manufacturers provide more specific nutritional information, but the essential practice holds.
This is one reason not to eat cold foods. It can affect the digestive process and unsettle the balance of cold and heat in the body.
It is also good to avoid being caught out in or soaked by the rain. And it’s good to have your belly covered if you find yourself in an air-conditioned room. For those feeling hot, you may massage the back of your neck to reduce the feeling of heat. Anyone (even those not feeling hot) can massage the zusanli acupoint. The famous Tang Dynasty doctor, Sun Si Miao, lived to be more than 140 years old. He said that the zusanli acupoint helps to strengthen one’s health and avoid disease. It is one of the foremost acupoints for longevity and helps to improve digestion, activate blood circulation, and repel humidity inside one’s body, according to ancient Chinese medicinal theory.
Foods to Eat: Eel, pineapple, pumpkin, mango, lamb, potato, yam, sweet potato, cumin, and pepper.
Those who have excess body heat can eat tomato, eggplant, peach, and green beans.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, the former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit Ausganica.com