Summer is with us. The sun is out (maybe!) and the temperature is warming up. This is the time when everything comes out into the open. The flowers are open, the doors and windows are open and generally our demeanours are more open. During this season there is little that remains hidden. It could be seen as a time of greater transparency.
Early summer brings with it increased heat in various forms. The warmth is very nourishing and relaxing for us physically, mentally and emotionally. This season is limited for us in Britain so it’s good to make the most of it.
In physical terms there is a need to moderate your exposure to the heat. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, use cold drinks to moderate your temperature and stay in the shade when you need to. As heat rises and air pressure fluctuates it is more difficult for our narrow tubes to equalise pressure. Our bodies and circulatory systems are quite delicate and can require this support to maintain their balance and good function. This can also include putting your feet up to prevent legs from swelling. Exercise is good for maintaining the tone of the circulatory system. This is best done in the morning or evening, away from the heat of the day. You may be more susceptible to headaches and need to moderate your activity.
Another form of heat we can experience during the summer months is the emotional or sexual kind. With the support of the ‘opening’ nature of summer, this is a good time to get to know and understand ourselves better. During this season we are more likely to rub up against our emotional tensions and belief or behavioural patterns. In the summer there is a greater chance of relationship tensions to get enflamed and rile us. Often it is not a case that the relationship is wrong, it is that we carry irritation from earlier experiences that are making us react. It is always possible to look at and change the barriers we may have in place. Sometimes our mind set or defence mechanisms prevent warm open and gentle acceptance of others (even with their faults). Why not get some support in softening and relaxing patterns that are no longer serving you well in your life.
Alternatively you may feel you have experienced too much openness. Bearing all can leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable. There is always a need for balance. Determining where and how to apply our boundaries takes experience and trust in your inner wisdom. These are also strengths that can be supported in a therapy session.
In Chinese philosophy summer relates to the element of fire. Fire element is about passion, enthusiasm, vitality, joy and warmth. There are 4 meridians that are at their most active during this season. That means stresses or imbalances within these systems are more likely to become evident. The meridians are Heart, Pericardium, Small Intestine and Triple Heater. These 4 meridians run along the length of the arms and 2 of them across the back of the shoulders and onto the side of the head. They are a particularly potent bunch with a powerful effect on our lives. After all we are primarily emotional beings. I will say a little about each meridian in turn.
Fire Element Meridians
Heart and the heart meridian involve the circulatory system, the cycling of blood and life force energy around the body, brain and to all our organs. They are also communicating the quality of our vitality on both a cellular and energetic level. By quality I mean character such as joyous and open or glum and heavy. The muscle associated with this meridian is subscapularis which moves the shoulder blade across the back ribs. One may experience palpitations, dizziness or chest pains in relation to instability of heart energy. Is there conflict between your thoughts and your feelings? Does your life represent your feelings? Do you have difficulties in communicating your feelings? These type of issues can be address through supporting the heart and heart meridian.
Small intestine and its meridian are associated with the absorption of nutrition and separation of waste products. It is equally about our ability to assimilate our experiences in life, taking in what is good for us and having the boundaries or clarity to reject what we do not need. Does life give you a stomach ache? Do you feel nourished by your life? The muscles involved with the small intestine meridian are the quadriceps and abdominals. Do you dance and belly laugh or is life an up-hill struggle? Knee problems, difficulty climbing stairs, stomach aches, difficulty breathing, lower back weakness and flabby tummies can all be indicators of poor quality in this meridian.
Pericardium and its meridian, the pericardium is the protective tissue that surrounds the heart. The meridian is often known as the circulation-sex meridian due to the systems where it bears influence. These include; hormonal controls and the reproductive system function, the pleasure of sexual relationship, chemical messages and cellular reproduction, the continuity of genetic heritage and also the muscular function of heart and blood vessels. The muscles associated with this meridian are all involved with making love. They are gluteus medius and gluteus maximus of the bum, the adductors (inner thigh) and the piriformis within the pelvis. Muscles involved with opening the legs or holding them shut. Indicators of imbalance are things such as; menstrual cramps, prostate problems, impotence, reproductive issues, menopause symptoms, bow legs or knock knees, sciatica, tilted pelvis or neck issues. Ones balance regarding sexual urges and drive and ones feeling regarding legacy and what you will leave behind stem from the quality of this meridian and organ. The pericardium also strongly defends the heart from getting hurt ‘the heart protector’ a valiant role. However, on occasion it will stifle the development of future joy and love. All of these issues can be supported by treatments.
Triple heater meridian is interesting as it does not have a specific organ. It is more of a global influence over metabolic functions, balance of heat, hormonal controls and the adrenal stress response – fight or flight. This system plays a role in our passionate urgency whether it’s for our beliefs, creativity, sexual pleasure or a matter of life and death. The muscles related to this meridian are mostly in the calf and thigh for getting you up and ready to run. There is also a muscle at the back of the shoulder for opening the arms. Indicators of imbalance in this meridian energy include; thyroid function – weight loss or gain, inability to maintain or stabilise body temperature, adrenal fatigue or exhaustion, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, allergies and infections, instability of the knee joint, Instability in this meridian can result from a trauma such as emotional shock or accident creating a fight and flight response that results in adrenal exhaustion. This is highly likely to be involved in M.E or Chronic Fatigue. Are you able to stand up for yourself or others when needed? Are you able to back down when appropriate or is you passion too raised? Can you be overly aggressive or fearful? Do you have the strength to give something your all? Does life seem like an endless series of crises? Are you shy about expressing your passions? What gets you hot physically, mentally or emotionally?
There is so much to the fire element, its organs and meridians. They play a huge role in our lives, particularly with there being 4. Well done if you read through to this point! I’m sure you will see that nurturing balance in these systems can bring tremendous benefit for keeping our wellbeing and happiness alive. If you feel that any of the physiological or emotional characteristics mentioned for theses organs/meridians resonate for you then they can be well addressed through treatment sessions. Releasing ourselves of our blockages and imbalances enables us to live more fulfilling and joyous lives.