When it’s Hot, Hot, Hot – 3 ways to keep your cool

The Summer season is in full swing with abundant energy, long days and sunshine. According to Chinese medicine, Summer is associated with the element of Fire (there’s a surprise!). This is the most yang time of year where we see expansion, growth, activity and creativity. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. So we look to give a lot of love to the heart, mind, and spirit to stay healthy and cool in summer.

While we know the heart’s main function is to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body, in Chinese medicine, the heart also rules our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and consciousness. When the energy of the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound. When it is out of balance, we may see depression (too little fire), or chaos/mania (too much fire). Agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia are symptoms that there is an imbalance. And then there is the extreme – summer heat that can cause you to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke with symptoms such as fainting, dark-colored urine, rapid heart rate, confusion, throbbing headache, red and dry skin. Seek immediate medical attention if these occur.

Rawls makes a watermelon smoothie

Here are 3 ways you can make your Summer the Coolest ever.

1) Summer Lifestyle

To keep your cool during summer, I recommend that you take full advantage of the long summer days with some lifestyle modifications. For example:

  • Get an early start in the morning and get to bed later in the evening.
  • Resting at midday when heat is at its highest.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids. This is key to balance the heat of fire and eliminating any toxins.
  • Leverage the cooling of water – swimming, cool showers, or a cold cloth on the back of your neck.
  • Seek Chinese Medicine when you feel out of balance.

2) Diet – Keep it cool

In summer, indigestion can easily occur, so a light and less-greasy diet is recommended. This is the perfect season to introduce some cool foods into your diet. Cooling foods can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. Cooling foods are those you typically find during this time of year – lettuce and other greens, cucumbers, and watermelon are some of the coolest. Fish and seafood are also cooling, while most meats are warming. Keep your diet light and avoid heavy, greasy or sugary foods. Eat in moderation.

Here are some suggestions to keep you cool and balanced all summer long. These fruits and vegetables will help your body adjust its temperature, provide extra hydration and protect you during the long, hot summer days:

  • Melons – Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew
  • Citrus – Lemon, Lime, Orange
  • Leafy greens – Bok choy, Spinach, Watercress
  • Squashes – Summer squash, Zucchini
  • Other cooling veggies include Asparagus, Broccoli, Corn, Cucumber
  • Herbs – Cilantro, Mint, Dill
  • Pungent flavors – include spicy foods, garlic and ginger. These cause you to sweat, which actually functions to cool the body. Just don’t overdo it.

3) Chill Out

If the heat has you worked up emotionally, Acupuncture has been found to be helpful with all types of emotional and mental disorders, from stress and anxiety to schizophrenia. I frequently use acupuncture points to calm the mind, enhance one’s ability to focus, soothe emotions, promote sleep, and relieve depression.

Most importantly, enjoy life to the fullest during the summer months. If you need help, you know where to find me.