This fabulous article is written by Mark Crossland, one of our Guest Writers. We are blessed to have wonderful information to help our holistic approach to well-being, Thanks Mark !!
Summer: Healing the Heart
Organs– Heart: Joy, Compassion, Love, Generosity, Giving, Receiving and Small Intestine: Discernment
Summer is upon us and it probably comes as no surprise that this is the ‘Full Yang’ period of the seasonal cycle. The Yang Heat and Fire energy of Summer enables all of Life to flourish, from algal blooms to the grass that we must now mow on a more regular basis! Cicadas chirp noisily throughout the day and the balmy evenings are filled with the sounds of frogs, insects and other critters, all stimulated into action by the Yang energy of Summer. This energy of Summer, therefore, results in an increase in activity, not just in Nature, but also in our own bodies and lifestyles, with the Summer season seeing us, perhaps, getting outdoors more often and mingling with family and friends.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Summer relates to the element of Fire and the organs of the Heart and Small Intestine. Our Fire Element is nourished by the presence of and connection with family and friends that Summer often brings. Interacting with loved ones, sharing our lives and experiences, nourishes our own Fire Element. When in balance, our Fire Element enables us give and receive Love freely, allowing us to feel open hearted, loving, joyful, compassionate, freely expressive and connected. When our Fire Element is out of balance, we can feel closed off, isolated, exposed, unprotected and vulnerable.
Not much bigger in size than a clenched fist, our Heart beats unceasingly from about the 22nd day of gestation until we take our final breath. This true miracle of Nature works tirelessly to carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all areas of the body so as to nourish and sustain life at our own cellular level. It is interesting that the Chinese character for Heart [‘Xin’], is often translated as ‘Heart-Mind’, underscoring the importance of the Heart Centre in Traditional Chinese Medicine for not only in our physical health but also for our mental and emotional well being as well. It is not surprising, then, that in Traditional Chinese Medicine the Heart is treated for a range of mental and emotional disorders ranging from insomnia to anxiety and depression.
Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the Heart’s role in regulating the flow of blood throughout the body, but it also proposes that the Heart has the job of storing our ‘Shen’ [Spirit]. If our Heart Qi is strong, it is able to ‘house’ our Spirit; we feel settled and content and our Shen is well ‘rooted’, especially during the Yin of night time and we are able to sleep well. If the Heart is unable to perform this role of ‘holding’ our Shen, our Spirit may become restless, agitated and disturbed and we may experience symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep.
The Heart is also adversely affected by too much Heat. This excess Yang/Heat can be generated within the body as a result of a poor diet or from ‘hot’ emotions such as anger and frustration. This Heat may manifest in the mind/body with symptoms such as agitation, dark urine, palpitations, excessive thirst. mouth ulcers, skin inflammations, a bitter taste in the mouth and poor sleep.
Folklore has always attributed the Heart as being our ‘centre’, and it’s physical and metaphysical importance is reflected in our everyday language. We speak ‘from the Heart’, note the importance of ‘getting to the Heart of the matter’, or accuse others of ‘having no Heart’. We noted at the beginning that Summer was about an increase in activity. The activity of the many different cells in our bodies must be nourished by the rhythmical and unceasing actions of the Heart. The physical Heart pumps life giving blood to the farthest extremities of the body, nourishing and sustaining them. When the Heart Centre is clear and open, Qi is able to move freely through the meridian and chakra systems and all of the body’s physical end energetic structures can be nourished, maintained, repaired and energized. If we are unable to keep our Heart open when we are dealt with the blows that Life sometimes brings, our vital energy will not be able to move freely through the body’s networks and some areas may stagnate, or worse, suffer dis-ease from lack of nourishment and vital force. We all experience, at some time or another, the ups and downs of life, and we’ve all felt the sadness and disappointment of having a ‘broken Heart’. Often later on, in our adult life, we are called upon to heal the unresolved wounds of the Heart so that energy may once again move freely through the chakra and meridian system, allowing us fully give and receive Love once more; allowing us to live with an ‘Open Heart’.
How can you help your Heart to heal? As mentioned, Acupuncture and Shiatsu work on the Heart not only on the physical level, but also on the mental and emotional level as well. Crystals such as Rose Quartz and Dioptase help the Heart to release and heal even the deepest of wounds. Eating brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that reflect the vibrant colours of Summer will benefit the Heart during this time. Traditional Chinese Medicine also suggests reducing salt intake during Summer and eating less and lightly on very hot days.
If you feel you have some of the symptoms of Heat mentioned above, foods such as romaine lettuce, asparagus, mung beans, bitter melon, eggplant, alfalfa, celery, cucumber grapefruit and papaya all help to clear Heat from the body. Lime is also very cooling; try adding a few slices of organic lime to a jug of water to drink throughout the day as a replacement for cold soft drinks and ice-creams, which hamper the body’s internal digestive fire.
So, connect with your Heart this Summer! It is true that some of our deepest wounds are held there, but it is also where our greatest Joy will be found.
Enjoy your Summer… and maybe we will see you at the beach,
Spirit Path Healing
acupuncture ~ shiatsu ~ crystal therapies
© Mark Crossland 2012