Have you noticed lately how the quality of the light during the day has changed? Or that our mornings and evenings are cooler? It is not summer any longer, yet it is not really Fall either – we are drifting into the season the Chinese call “Late” Summer. In Chinese medicine this is a special season all its own. We are harvesting food from the gardens while we watch and wait for some foods to ripen. This time of year is all about centering, grounding and balance. Late summer provides us some excellent opportunities to nourish our bodies, especially the digestive system.
Late Summer & The Stomach/Spleen
Five Element Theory in Chinese Medicine states that each season (spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter) possess their own energetic dynamics and movement of Qi (energy; life force).They ebb and flow from one to another. Understanding this energetic nature of the rhythm of life helps us as humans to adapt so that we move with grace from season to season.
The late summer is ruled by the Earth Element. The season governs the Stomach and Spleen (and Pancreas) and rules our digestive vitality. When the earth element is in balance we nourish ourselves and those around us in a supportive manner. We give and receive appropriately.
When in balance, the earth element gives us strong muscles, vibrant energy and ability to think and study clearly. When out of balance, the body is weak, the muscles soft and flaccid, and there can be obesity and disharmony of the digestive track.
The period between 7 and 9 AM is the time in which nature gives the stomach a measure of extra energy. This is the optimum time to take in nourishment. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We should instinctively begin the day as we did when we were infants, with fuel in the tank.
The Spleen according to Chinese medicine is the organ in charge of transporting. Its optimum time of activity is from 9 AM to 11 AM. Since the stomach has prepared the food or nourishment, the spleen provides the energy to move nourishment to the cells and into the body.
A healthy Spleen not only nourishes us at the physical level but also reaches our minds and spirits. The result of this is clarity of mind, less worry and obsessive overthinking. A spleen out of balance can result in physical and emotional issues such as sluggishness, selfishness, overthinking and stubbornness.
The Late Summer Harvest
Every process must pass through its period of harvest, grand or small as it may be. The period of late summer is the time for slowing down and gathering in. It’s a time when we recognize and hold the fruits of our labor.
Imagine the farmer filling the silo after the harvest. Now that the heavy work is over, she can reflect contentedly on all that that has led her to this moment in this season. It is appropriate for us too, to acknowledge this stage of our own life cycle. From the harvest of our experience, we develop a natural inclination to share and serve others. Well nourished ourselves, we recognize where needs exist and how best to fill them. Exercising our compassion, we can become caretakers of the earth.
Suggestions for living in harmony with the Late Summer Season:
- Enjoy the abundance of fruits and fresh vegetables.
- Be thoughtful of how you can nourish others.
- Be conscious of the “harvest“ in your life.
- What parts of your life are bearing fruit? Where is the harvest rich? Where do you find it stunted?
- Consider what you need to do to make ready for the “letting go” of the approaching Autumn Season.
When processing this preparation ask – What is no longer needed in my life? What might you simplify in yourself or in your life?
To be continued…. next AUTUMN; the Element of Metal.
Sara Rodefeld is licensed to practice Acupuncture and as a Registered Nurse in Indiana and Tennessee. Sara has an ability to use both of these valued and complementary forms of health care to assist her clients to reach their goal of a more full, balanced and healthy life.
Contact us at (317) 344-9840 to find out more about Acupuncture or request an appointment.