By Dove Sprout, co-owner of Creston Acupuncture and Natural Health Centre
The Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the guiding theories of how and why TCM works. They are derived from living closely to nature and include Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. In this article, I’m going to discuss the Fire element because it seasonally attunes to summer. Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest yang, which means that it is a time of heat, outgoingness, and moving outward in nature and in our lives. This is a time to nourish and pacify our spirits, and to realize our life’s greatest potential as we find joy in our hot summer days and warm summer nights.
Other correspondences of the Fire Element are:
• Organ: Heart, Small Intestine
• Sense Organ: Tongue
• Sensation: Taste
• Body Tissue: Vessels
• Emotion: Joy
• Spirit: Shen
• Colour: Red
• Odor: Scorched
• Taste: Bitter
• Sound: Laughing
• Direction: South
• Climate: Heat
We often discuss personality types in TCM. Imagine a roaring fire, and you will have some idea of what kind of person is a Fire Type. Physically they tend to be thin and have pointed, angular features. They are energetic, passionate, dramatic, and can be the life of the party. Negatively they can have a tendency to be emotionally volatile, burning everything in their path. Fire types love to talk and are known for being eloquent and expressive although they can sometimes talk too much or too quickly. They are energetic, charismatic people who approach life with an enthusiasm and joy that is infectious. They also create intimacy and connection easily.
Shen, the Spirit of Fire, embodies consciousness, emotions, and thought. It is through Shen that we radiate ourselves into the world. This spiritual radiance manifests as our wisdom, emotional well being, and ability to see all sides of an issue. Shen refers to that aspect of our being that contributes to wisdom, virtue, and calmness, and maintains our whole being in order. Shen can be nurtured through meditation, physical exercises such as Tai Qi and Qi Gong, and by acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Imbalances in the Fire Element can manifest as anxiety, dullness of the eyes, muddled thinking, forgetfulness, restlessness, depression (lack of joy), manic behaviour (excessive joy), insomnia, and palpitations. They’re prone to overheating and can suffer acne and skin rashes. Because the heart is the organ most associated with the fire element, they are also prone to circulatory problems.
Here are some tips to keep Fire Element in balance:
• Balance your sociable nature by taking time to be alone each day.
• Write in a journal, practice Tai Qi, Qi Gong or meditate to settle frenzied energy.
• Plan & prioritize to avoid becoming too scattered.
• Participate in activities that bring you joy.
• Eat small regular meals.
• Reduce caffeine, sugar and spicy dispersing foods, as well as deep fried foods.
• During the summer season, include foods that are bitter and cooling foods such as watermelon, apricot, cantaloupe, lemon, peach, asparagus, sprouts, bamboo, bokchoy, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, summer squash, seaweed, mung means, cilantro, mint, dill.
Here is a simple recipe for a cooling, summer drink that our whole family enjoys:
• 1 litre mason jar filled with purified/alkalized water
• Several cucumber slices
• Organic lemon juice (as lemony as you like)
• Liquid Stevia drops to taste
• Dash of sea salt
Enjoy some joyous summer fun and see you at the beach!
Dove Sprout and Paul Gaucher co-own and operate Creston Acupuncture & Natural Health Centre from their brand new location, 219 10th Ave N in downtown Creston. For more information or to book an appointment, call the clinic at 250-428-0488, check our our website acupuncturecrestonbc.com, and follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay up to date.