There is an extra season in Chinese Medicine- called Late Summer. It begins at the end of August and goes through the Autumn equinox…approximately 4 weeks.
Late Summer is associated with the Earth element. We all know somebody we call "earthy" or an "earth mother". We think of this person as being nurturing and warm and solid. This is how we can think of this season.
Late summer is a time of balancing and stabilizing as we shift from the yang energy of summer to the yin energy of fall and winter. It's a grounding time and an important time for self-care, nurturing and slowing down. It's also a time for reconnecting with family and friends.
Some ways to stay balanced and get the most out of this Earth time of the year:
- Slow down and return to a routine. It's interesting that schools begin during this time of year. It's natural for many of us to get back into a routine after the carefree days of summer. Some suggestions are: getting up and going to sleep at the same time each day, establishing an exercise routine and eating regularly timed meals.
- Spend time with family and friends at home. Create your "nest" so that it’s a nice place to be during the coming cooler months.
- Nurture yourself. This will mean different things to different people. But you can ask yourself the question, "what would feel nurturing to me right now?" For some it may mean taking a long bath and for others a long run. Take a moment to place your hands on your heart and breathe. This alone can be a nurturing act.
- Earth symbolizes the core of the body and rules digestion. Late Summer is the harvest time of year and we begin to see lots of yellows, golds, oranges and browns. Many of the Earth foods have warm tones and round shapes. Think of winter squashes and whole grains, like millet, rice and quinoa. Make sure these foods are abundant in your diet to bring in the benefits of the element. Now is the time to begin roasting vegetables and to make soups and stews.
- Massage "Stomach 36". Stomach 36 is one of the most important acupuncture points in the body. It's a point where the "qi" collects and goes deep into the body. This point is located on the shin. It's found about a hand length below the knee, just outside the prominent tibia bone. Stomach 36 is an Earth point on an Earth meridian. That's a lot of grounding energy! This point is a nourishing, life-giving point loaded with vitalizing properties. It strengthens the digestion, the immune system and actually the whole body.
Wishing everyone strength, vitality, connection, stillness and peace during this Late Summer season!