Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, is a medical system that dates back nearly 3,500 years. This system uses modalities like acupuncture and botanical formulas to treat ailments and keep the body balanced. TCM acknowledges not four, but five seasons.
The fifth season that differentiates from the other seasons that many go by is called Indian summer. This 5th season occurs in late August through mid-September. Each season according to TCM has a pair of organs or energetic pathways it corresponds to.
For Indian summer, these organs are the spleen and stomach which are directly responsible for digestion. The spleen also has the added function of transporting and absorbing water in the body. When the spleen is not functioning properly, the body may suffer from a buildup of dampness which can manifest as edema, digestive issues, diabetes, and even brain fog.
Indian summer tends to be the time of year when most people experience health issues such as heatstroke, although it can happen at any time of year. Here are some ways TCM can help you deal with the excessive summer heat.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR SUMMER HEAT:
As mentioned, when summer comes to an end, it tends to heat up before the transition into Fall and this is when many people experience heatstroke. This is where acupuncture comes into play. Along with regulating the body temperature, acupuncture can decrease any inflammation that may have occurred during the heatstroke episode and the acupuncture treatments can help with the digestive issues frequently accompanying heatstroke.
Acupuncture points for summer heat:
Heart 8 – Located on the palm of the hand between the pinky and ring finger. Found by making a fist, Heart 8 can be used to decrease thirst and restlessness, while also treating insomnia.
Large Intestine 11 – This point can be found bilaterally at the outer end of the elbow crease created when the arm is flexed. Large intestine 11 clears heat, drops a fever and decreases any inflammation that may be occurring due to excess heat in the body.
Pericardium 3 – Located bilaterally on the inner elbow next to the large tendon, this point is great for sunstroke or anxiety that often accompanies heatstroke.
CHINESE HERBS AND FORMULAS FOR SUMMER HEAT: Another important component of TCM is the use of herbs and herbal formulas. Many times herbs can be used alone, but there will be a more synergistic effect when single herbs are combined to make a formula. One such herb is the lotus leaf, also known as He Ye. This herb is frequently used to treat diarrhea associated with summer heat. A go-to herbal formula used to clear summer heat is Qing Luo Yin. This formula eliminates the symptoms of heatstroke, such as fever, blurry vision, and brain fog. It’s not a bad idea to keep this formula on hand when spending lots of time outside during the summer.
DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUMMER HEAT: Nutrition can also be very important in preventing summer heat or heatstroke. Certain foods have been used for centuries to fight summer heat. One of these is watermelon. Watermelons are 90 percent water and therefore eating it throughout the warmer summer months can help keep your core body temperature low enough that heatstroke is more preventable. Another cooling food is mint and it can be used in many summer food recipes. It is frequently added to a pitcher of water to create a nice refreshing drink that can be sipped all day long, or added atop a fruit salad consisting of strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon.