Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Blossoming of Spring into Summer!
Most everyone feels excited by the arrival of the warm days of spring than summer. Longer days, sunny weather, the flowers and blooms, and the anticipation of days at the beach, the park, the mountains. We can also get over-stimulated at this time of year and engage in activities that may injure our well-being, or neglect others that will enhance our health in order to prepare for the summer and, inevitably, the cold days and long nights of fall and winter. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine describe spring as the time when the Yang or warm, active energy of the earth and our body begins to emerge and gain full force. Too much Yang from over exertion, rich foods, streets and work, etc. need to be balanced with the Yin natural response of rest, quiet, and coolness. Acupuncture and TCM have a great deal to offer us to help us stay vibrantly well at this time of year and preserve our health for the coming seasons. Here are a few tips:
- Acupuncture is great for allergies: In the short term it can help relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes and congestion and reduce or eliminate the need for decongestants, antihistamines or steroids. With consistent treatment acupuncture can help regulate the immune system and avoid allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems altogether!
- Ensure that you get enough rest and sleep. You may feel like you can increase exercise, activity and stay up late and awake early but this is almost a guarantee for illness and weakness. Eight hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep and some restful activity during the day like sitting on a park bench or lying in the shade is essential.
- TCM emphasizes the importance of getting in balance with the Five Elements: Earth, Water, Wood, Fire, and Metal. These are all around us and springtime is a great opportunity to embrace the natural world. Allow yourself to dream and space out. Soften your eyes, take a slow walk in the woods, listen to the wind, and breathe deeply and consciously.
- Take advantage of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits that are available at local farmers markets. Support natural, sustainable means of agriculture and avoid heavy foods such as fried foods, barbecue, sweets and alcohol that tend to dominate spring and summer parties.
- Avoid ice-cold drinks and foods. Even when it is very hot outside the ingestion of icy cold substances will injure your internal yang or fire and weaken your immune system and digestion. Hydrate with room temperature or mildly cool liquids and salads or fruit.
- Keep the interior temperature above 72 degrees. Air conditioning works best by removing humidity from the air and is unnecessary in most cases to be frigid cold. Avoid very cold places. Wear clothing made of light, natural fabrics and carry layers to accommodate changes in climate
- Exercise for fitness and fun. Moderate to strenuous activity 45 minutes, 5 times per week is an excellent goal. To help determine your target heart rate during strenuous exercise visit: http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/appropriate-exercise-heart-rate-average-individual-17844.html
As an acupuncturist and practitioner of TCM for over 30 years I have found that these recommendations have been very helpful for me and many patients. Have a great spring and let us know how we can help you!
Peter Kadar, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Contact us for an appointment 973-984-2800