It’s difficult to believe we are approaching Fall. Perhaps that’s why Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) named this time of year Late Summer. We can feel the winding down of Spring and Summer’s expansive Yang energy but we’re not quite ready to move inward with the Yin energy of Fall and Winter. Late Summer falls in the middle of the Chinese calendar which begins in February. It is the tipping point of the year when there is a pause before we energetically move to the opposite side of the pendulum. We being bodies of nature also energetically cycle through this Yin and Yang balance. For us, Late Summer is a time to pause, reflect, and recenter. We can use this reflection time to look back at the year so far and take stock of all we have gathered - what we have learned, where we have been, and perhaps who we have become.
The Earth Element
The element associated with Late-Summer is Earth. Energetically we focus on grounding in the present in order to prepare ourselves for the Yin months ahead. Like the fruits and vegetables of our Summer gardens that we preserve during this time, so do we too prepare ourselves for the rest of the year. By grounding in the present we are better able to take stock of all we have gathered for use on our journey forward through life. It is a time to focus on the stability the energy Earth has to offer and bring it into our own daily practices.
The Spleen Organ
The organ associated with late Summer is the Spleen. The Spleen in TCM is a very important energic organ. It is responsible for transforming the food we eat into vital energy and transporting it to the other organs and tissues in our bodies. This great task makes it so important to keep our Spleen energy strong. We do this by eating a balanced and healthy diet. The Spleen likes sweet foods by nature; apples, dates, figs, carrots, and sweet potatoes, among other fruits and vegetables that are naturally ripening this time of year and are appropriate to eat. Too many sweet, raw, and cold foods, and dairy products can damage the Spleen leading to weakened energy and increased fatigue.
It is important during this time of grounding to also keep the Qi moving in our body. We can do this with exercises such as walking, yoga, and tai chi. These gentle exercises can help us to focus on our center and be present in the moment. When the body is in balance, our muscles feel strong, filled with nourishing Qi and Blood. Stretching and breathwork are also good to add to our daily practice.
Free from Worry
The spirit of Late Summer is the Yi - Intellect, and the emotion we want to be mindful of during this time is worry. When the mind spends too much time in pensive thought and worry, this can weaken the Spleen energy and disrupt our balance. Remembering to take breaks from our mental work and recentering our thoughts can support the body, mind, and spirit, especially during this pivotal season. If you find yourself stuck in your thoughts or worry, stop for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and move forward.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Your acupuncturist is trained to recognize the changes of seasons and its effects of the balance in our bodies. Your unique acupuncture treatments are trailered to treat your body, mind, and spirit based on where you are in your energic cycle. By asking questions, feeling the pulse, and palpating along the channels, a Chinese medicine diagnosis can be identified and treated accordingly to ensure you have a smooth tradition into the Yin seasons.