Summer Solstice – Entering into the Fire Element

We enter into the Summer Solstice on June 21st which is the longest day of sunlight of the year.  According to Chinese Philosophy, the sun is pure yang – it gives us energy, causes action and creates a hot and dry climate.  Summer is nature’s season of growth and maturation; it is when flowers bloom, trees blossom, fruits and vegetables ripen, and grass grows green.  It is also when people get outdoors, become more active and enjoy the warm sunny weather.

According to the theory of Five-Elements, summer is related to the Fire element.  It represents warmth, light, movement & excitement; it is lively and colorful (mirrored in nature by the green of grass, blue of the sky, yellow of the sun, etc.).  Fire’s dominant time on the circadian clock is 11am-1pm, corresponding to the time when the sun is the strongest.  The main organs related to Fire in Chinese theory are the Heart and Small Intestine.  This is the time of the year when we should be making our hearts work a little harder, exercising & getting our heart rates up to circulate blood through our bodies, creating movement and warmth.  The Small Intestine’s job is to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.  It is necessary during the Fire season, to keep the intestines clean so they can efficiently absorb all the vitamins & minerals we consume.

In addition to the physical aspects of the fire element, there are also emotional ones.  Fire’s emotion is Joy and the sound associated with Fire is laughter.  Summer is a time of playfulness, contentment, fun.  It is important to bring joy and laughter into your life as much as possible in general, but in particular during the summertime.

The diet that we should consume in the summer is cool, light to balance the heat of the summer months.  A diet consisting primarily of raw or lightly steamed organic fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal.  Including fresh green salads with seasonal vegetables, fresh fruits, juices or smoothies, some nuts, seeds & whole grains will help you feel lighter, aid in weight loss and keep up your energy.  It is important to avoid eating a lot of warming foods such as red meat or fats (whole dairy, eggs & heavy oils).  Limit these heating foods as much as possible during the hot summer months to keep your body in balance with the weather.

Eating with the seasons is easy if you shop at Farmers markets.  All of the produce is grown locally, so only the fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown in the area during that season are available.   For example, in the summertime we can find watermelons which help quench thirst which is important with increased activity in the increasd heat.  In Autumn, pears are plentiful which help moisten the lungs to help dry coughs.  As we go through the seasons, we should take care to follow nature’s laws to obtain optimum health.

About Jenna Ferraiolo

Jenna is a CA state licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and a nationally certified Diplomat of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. O.M.). She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor's in Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation/Exercise Science from Ithaca College in New York. After graduation Jenna worked as a Medical Assistant in a Cardiology practice in Hartford, CT. Looking for a more integrative approach to health care, she then went on to obtain her Masters from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). During her time at PCOM, she worked with HIV/AIDS patients at UCSD’s Owen Clinic and also with NCAA athletes at the UCSD campus. In 2006 she had the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to study in several area hospitals with Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors. In 2008, Jenna had another amazing opportunity and was able to travel to Uganda to volunteer with the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project. While there, she trained both Traditional health care workers and hospital nurses on how to utilize Acupuncture to help treat the symptomology of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She also traveled to refugee camps at the southern border of Uganda to treat refugees from several neighboring African countries. Immediately after graduation, Jenna worked with Neuro Acupuncture Associates in Carlsbad, CA inside of an internationally-renowned, non-profit Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation center for 2 years. In December 2010, she moved to Northern California and co-founded Earth and Air Wellness in Walnut Creek. Jenna is committed to educating her clients on the many benefits of using natural methods to obtain optimal health. In all aspects of her life, she tries to live by example by eating a nutritious, well-rounded organic diet and getting regular exercise including yoga. Since having her first child in 2010 and seeing the positive impact it has had on her daughter, she has gained an interest in treating pediatric patients with TCM.
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