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. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each of the year’s 24 solar terms, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
Summer is already well underway, and that means you should savor the remaining cooler evenings and mornings, because they won’t last. After “Minor Heat” from July 6 to July 21 passes, even a breeze will feel hot.
As the weather is often very hot and humid during this solar term, most people will take time off from work for vacation, to rest and recuperate.
It’s also a unique time, according to traditional Chinese medicine, to purge winter diseases from the body. This year, the ideal period for this is between July 16 and August 15. This also is the time to start building health reserves for the cooler months ahead.
There are five seasons and five elements recognized in Chinese traditional medicine, 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 to wood, and from summer to fire, are smooth and natural. But the transition from summer’s fire to autumn’s metal is unnatural, since fire conquers metal by melting and forging it.
This unnatural transition is an opportunity. 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 stay healthy well into winter.
Sweat comes easily and the skin’s pores are open at this time, so sweat stays on the surface of our skin, and some people may get cold very easily. The young and the elderly should be careful to stay hydrated and avoid the heat when possible.
7 Ways to Live in Harmony With ‘Minor Heat’
- 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.
- Regulate the amount of food you consume; too much, or too little, can burden the body.
- Coffee, a diuretic, can help to flush out heat and excess water retention.
- A foot massage or meditation can help to adjust and rebalance the body.
- For those who often have cold hands in the winter, add some organic ginger to your tea, or enjoy ginger with your food.
- Don’t avoid sweating, especially don’t keep yourself inside air-conditioned rooms all the time. Sweating will cleanse your body and pores, and reduce heat from inside-out naturally. Too strong or too sudden of a temperature change closes your pores, and seals all the humidity and heat inside your organs and channels. That’s one of the major reasons for disease, according to traditional Chinese medicine.
At this time, beneficial foods include cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, rockmelon, honey melon, dew melon, bitter melon, winter melon, plum, cherry, green bean, Job’s tear, green tea, peppermint, lotus seed, white fish, doufu, honeysuckle, and chamomile tea.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit LiaoMoreen.com