Summer and Chinese Medicine

July 20, 2015 Updated: July 21, 2015

Summer is normally the time of year that is most yang. High yang means heat, maximum activity, and moving outward with our lives and into nature. So I’m going to write a bit about how this season is perceived in Chinese medicine.

In Chinese medicine, every season has an element associated with it. Fire is the element of summer.

This includes many other connections to summer, the fire element and Chinese medicine:

When the fire element is in balance, your heart is strong and healthy, your mind is calm and your sleep is sound. On the other hand, when the fire element is not balanced, you may either lack joydepression, or have an excess of joymania.

Because summer is the hottest season, to balance the heat, you need a diet that is cooling. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great choices.

(dicau58/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Examples of cooling foods include: watermelon, strawberries, asparagus, sprouts, corn, cucumber, spinach, and mint. Summer is a poor time to overdo spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine because all of these foods heat you up rather than cool you down.

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at