Health by the Season

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Traditional Chinese Medicine is very mindful of its surroundings, and believes that human beings should live in harmony with the natural . In accordance to Yin and Yang, people are advised aim to be in homeostatic balance with the external environment. Diet, activity and sleeping pattern should be compatible with the season. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter have distinct pathogenic factors and thus require respective care.

Longevity can be achieved by abiding to the four seasons and accomodatign oneself to the cold winter winds and sweltering summer heat. Adjust to the hard and soft when the seasons changes. The psychological health also promotes good health, so it high encouraged to refrain from anger that upsets liver.

1. Spring brings the revitalization of nature. It is the season of birth where the Heaven and Earth are reborn, and so people should wake early, absorb the invigorating energy by engaging in physical activity and retire early from work in accordance to the daylight.

Diet: Warm foods, acrid, wheat, jujube, peanuts.

Be mindful of the liver health. Do not immediately change wardrobe during the change of seasons to avoid wind seeping into the pores of the skin.

2. Summer: season of rain and sunshine. The Heavenly yin energy descends as the Earthly yang energy ascends. The mixture of these energies fertilizes and matures plants, flowers and animals in abundance. In the summer heat, the Yang Qi dominants. Yang qi can be interpreted as vigorous compelling energy that drives high entropy and movement. Similar to the condition in Spring, it is advised to take care of the liver and refrain from accruing anger and negative energy.

Diet: Drink more fluids to keep down the Heat such as cooling teas, mung bean soup, watermelon. Avoid energy dense foods such as sweet and fatty foods. This is because the season already is invigorating where the body need not to generate internal energy with high caloric food.

* I personally believe that medical advice discourages negativity such as anger, depression and excess emotions that can injure the liver. Growing up I always had in mind that excessive emotions and laughing hysterically would lead to nightmares that night. This interwines with the idea that negative emotions inflict bad consequences on health. Happiness promotes free flow of blood strongly.

3. Autumn. Fall is the season of maturity when crops ripen and can be harvested. Any subtle injuries acquired during the summertime manifests in the fall. The pathogenic Winds sets in, reversing the roles of Heaven and Earth. The Heavenly yang energy resides as the Earthly yin energy predominates.

Diet: Moist foods, almonds, loquats (Mandarin oranges), honey, milk and glutinous foods.

Reduce exercise to conserve energy and sleep early in accordance to the daylight.

4. Winter. Nature withers and organisms seek for shelter. During the cold season, conserving yang energy by rise along a later sunrise and retire during the early sunset. Mental and physical activity should be more serene and peaceful.

Pathogenic Factor: Yin qi 阴气

Diet: Calorie-dense foods, meats, carrots

Summary: The concept of being open-minded and happy to protect injury of the liver is an overlapping concept, alluding to the emphasize that emotions affect the health of the body. The sunlight directs the circadian rhythm; thereby sleeping schedule should be followed in accordance.