A solar term is a period of approximately two weeks based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. There are 24 solar terms in a year, which make up the traditional Chinese calendar system used to guide farming and everyday life. The calendar contributes to the ancient Chinese philosophy that living in accordance with nature will enable a harmonious life. This article series delves into each solar term and offers guidance on how to navigate the changes of season in order to live happier and healthier.
Solar Term: Minor Heat
2017 Date: July 7 to July 21
Characteristics and Meaning: Although summer is already well underway, it is said that before the Minor Heat solar term, the weather can still be a bit cool in the morning or evening. After this time period, however, even the breeze is hot, and there are no more cool breaks.
As the weather is often very hot and humid during this solar term, most people will take time off of work to rest and recuperate. This is also a unique opportunity, according to traditional Chinese medicine, for a person to purge winter diseases from the body.
This year, the ideal period for treating diseases lingering from winter is between July 12 and August 20. Now is also the time to start building one’s health reserves for the coming colder months.
There are five seasons and five elements recognized in Chinese theory, and each season has a corresponding element: Spring is associated with wood, summer with fire, late summer with earth, autumn with metal, and winter with water.
Among the five elements, wood generates fire, fire generates earth, earth generates metal, metal generates water, and water generates wood. Thus, the transitions between most of the seasons, say from spring/wood to summer/fire, are smooth and natural. But the transition from summer/fire to autumn/metal is unnatural, as fire conquers metal by melting and forging it.
Just as the proper application of fire can purify metal and make it stronger, if we care for our health and follow the correct habits through these hot days, our bodies can be healthy well into winter.
Impact on People: The young and the elderly should be careful to stay hydrated and avoid the heat when possible.
Living in Harmony With the Season: Drink natural spring water regularly, but not too much at one time. Don’t eat very cold or chilled foods, as these reduce the yang energy the body needs to get through the coming autumn and winter.
For those who often have cold hands or the flu in winter, add some organic ginger to tea, or any food, until late August. Ideal foods to eat during Minor Heat are onion, apricot, chai tea, fennel, and cinnamon.
Those who are quick to anger or are often overheated in the summer can drink mint tea and eat pear, plum, celery, any kind of melon, all green-colored foods, and bitter-tasting foods.
Regardless of your body constitution, it’s a good idea to get a foot massage or practice meditation at this time, to adjust and rebalance the body.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, group vice president of New Directions Australia, and founder of Ausganica, one of Australia’s leading makers of certified organic skincare and cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.com