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Old 08-05-2010, 09:45 AM
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Lightbulb Late Summer Health Tips from a Chinese Medicine Perspective

Late Summer Health Tips from a Chinese Medicine Perspective

Late Summer is considered the "dog day afternoons" when late August and "Indian
Summer" are hotter and damper days rich in humidity and a feeling of heaviness
in the air. This often parallels the way our bodies feel during this period.

Dampness is associated with the element earth and is most active in late summer.
Ailments of excessive dampness can be induced by sudden exposure to fog or mist,
immersion in water or exposure to rain, and living in excessively damp locations
or climates. The surface pores on the body are open. Because summer is humid,
the pathogenic factors, which cause diseases in this season always mix with
dampness. The symptoms include excessive fluids in the body with symptoms of
abdominal bloating, abdominal pains, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting,
intestinal spasms, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of thirst, feeling of heaviness,
heaviness in the chest or being sluggish and stiff, aching or sore joints - are
characteristically heavy and sluggish in nature and tend to block the flow of
energy throughout the body.

Damp Heat is a condition of dampness and heat combined with symptoms of thick
yellow secretions and phlegm such as jaundice, hepatitis, urinary problems, or

"Inner-dampness" is caused by excess cold consumption of liquor, tea, cold
melons, and sweet, greasy foods. These impede spleen functions.

The Spleen and Stomach

In Chinese Medicine, the spleen and stomach are associated with Late Summer.
They belong to the element of Earth. The stomach's function is to rot and rippen
food and break it down for transportation. The spleen's functions: transform and
transport foods and body fluids to make ready for absorption. The spleen raises
our (Qi) energy up. The spleen controls the blood and keeps it in the vessels.
The spleen also nourishes the muscles.

Signs and symptoms of poor spleen function include dizziness, pale complexion,
low energy, prolapse of organs such as the rectum (hemmorhoids) and uterus.
Spontaneous bleeding, muscle weakness and muscle atrophy can all be due to
problems with the spleen.

Signs and symptoms of poor stomach function are numerous. Stomach heat manifests
as too much heat in the stomach and is represented by bad breath, bleeding or
swollen gums, burning sensation in the stomach, extreme thirst, frontal
headaches and/or mouth ulcers.

The spleen transforms the ingested food and drink to extract the Qi. The
function of transformation and transportation is crucial in the process of
digestion and the formation of Qi and blood. If this function is impaired there
may be a poor appetite, poor digestion, abdominal distention and loose stools.
The spleen separates the usable part of fluids from the unusable. If this
process is impaired there can be an accumulation of dampness, phlegm, and/or
edema. The Spleens ability to transform and transport can be adversely affected
by the excessive consumption of cold drinks and raw foods. The action of chewing
prepares food for the Spleen to transform and transport. If Spleen-Qi is
abnormal, there may be an impairment of the sense of taste or the presence of an
abnormal taste , lack of appetite and the lips may be pale and dry. If the
Spleen has heat a person may complain of a sweet taste in the mouth and have dry

The stomach transforms food and drink by the process of fermentation. This
prepares the ground for the Spleen to separate and extract the refined essence
from food. After transformation in the Stomach the food is passed down to the
Small Intestine for further separation and absorption.

The Stomach together with the spleen is responsible for transporting food
essences to the whole body, especially the limbs. If Stomach Qi is strong a
person will feel strong and full of energy. Stomach Qi also ensures that the Qi
of the organs reaches the pulse. A pulse with good stomach Qi is said to be
neither weak or strong with yin and yang harmonized and it has a regular, slow

The stomach is responsible for the coating on the tongue. A thin white coating
on the tongue indicates the Stomach is functioning properly. The absence of
coating indicates that the stomach's function of digestion is impaired. A thick
white coating reflects either cold or dampness and a thick yellow coating
indicates heat.

Consider a healthy, nutritional diet of foods that are more cooling in nature
such as bamboo shoot, banana, bitter gourd, clam, crab, grapefruit, lettuce,
persimmon, salt, seaweed, star fruit, sugar cane, water chestnut, watermelon,
lotus root, cucumber, barley, bean curd, chicken egg white, marjoram, oyster,
pear, peppermint, radish, strawberry, tangerine, and yogurt, broccoli,
cauliflower, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, pineapple, turmeric.

Getting good quality sleep and light to moderate exercise is key, this time of
year. This can keep our physical form at it's best.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~
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chinese, dampness, edema, energy, qi, spleen

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