“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat catch the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” Joseph Campbell
Living in harmony with seasonal changes promotes health and well-being
Summer is the season of the heart and the fire element in Chinese medicine. It’s associated with the emotions of joy and happiness, with the color red and the bitter taste.
In balance, the fire element gently supports life, as a hearth warms a home.
Individuals with excess fire may appear to be overly hot.
Excessive fire may contribute to the acceleration of any physiological process, which may manifest as quickened pulse, eating too quickly, or any process that is proceeding at a faster than healthy rate.
In an attempt to dissipate this heat, the heart may overwork, contributing to high blood pressure. A heart and circulatory system so expanded may lead to “burnout” in the form of heart attack or stroke..
If fire is deficient within, cold predominates as physiological processes begin to contract. This may manifest as an overly slow pulse, poor digestion, or slowness of thought.
Summer Lifestyle Recommendations
Summer is the season of expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity. .
To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment.
Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service.
Eat plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
Cook lightly and regularly add a little spicy, pungent or even fiery flavor (red or green hot peppers, cayenne, fresh ginger, horseradish, and black pepper) to bring body heat out to the surface and disperse it.
Avoid too many cold foods and beverages. Coldness causes contraction; it holds in sweat and heat, and interferes with digestion.
Avoid heavy foods such as meats, eggs, excess nuts, seeds, and grains in hot days as they cause sluggishness.
Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in America. Women are 15% more likely to die from a heart attack than men.
Risks for “cardiac events” are greater for emotional distress (depression, grief, anger, hostility, anxiety) and for social isolation than for conventional risk factors (smoking, high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes).
Acute stress triggers myocardial ischemia, promotes arrhythmia, stimulates coagulation, increases blood viscosity, and leads to coronary vasoconstriction.
In a stressful situation, the Sympathetic Nervous System that regulates heartbeat, is usually called into action, transmitting messages that get the heart to pump faster, increasing blood pressure and delivering oxygenated blood to the parts of the body needed to fight or escape a threat.
Repeated stress can undermine the SNS and cause it to malfunction.
In patients with advanced heart failure, SNS activity is two to three times greater than normal; the greater the activity, the worse the prognosis is for the patient.
Research has proven that acupuncture can effectively inhibit SNS activity, and that it could be used as a complement to (or replacement for) traditional drug therapy.
Reference: Lonny Jarrett LAc, Nourishing Destiny
Paul Pritchford, Healing with Whole Foods
Ursula Schmidt, LAc MSCM
520 Ocean Street
South Portland, ME 04106