During the Late Summer season, there is a heaviness about as nature slows down the weather. The damper humidity is higher.
Late summer is a season that we don’t have as one of our established seasons in the west; however, late summer is an important transitional season….it’s the time of preparation, to create comfort, stability as well as balance to prepare for autumn and winter.
IN TCM, Late Summer is the season of Earth, the element governed by the Spleen and Stomach
TCM functions of the spleen
When we talk about the spleen in TCM we are not just talking about the anatomical organ as we do in Western medicine. The spleen represents a functional system that includes physical as well as emotional and mental processes. It also includes the pancreas.
The Spleen system transforms and transports food and fluids into Qi, blood and body fluids, and any imbalance will always influence our digestion, often manifesting as symptoms such as bloating, lack of appetite or loose stools.
It also transports Food-Qi to our muscle cells and throughout the body, particularly to the four limbs.
The spleen also controls production and holding of the blood, so when there is spleen qi weakness, our bodies can present as low in iron and will easily bruise or have bleeding issues.
The Spleen also holds the organs in their proper place – hernias or prolapses are indications in TCM of spleen qi weakness.
Qi is the life force that flows through living beings and it is the energy that enables each organ system to do its job. Spleen Qi Deficiency means that the life force of the Spleen is low, and it won’t be able to perform its functions properly.
tcm functions of the stomach
The stomach, also referred to as the ‘Sea of Nourishment’ in TCM, is responsible for the rotting and ripening of food – or transforming and digesting so that the spleen can separate the distilled food essences.
The stomach and spleen both occupy the centre position of the middle burner, and is also the centre of all qi pathways of other organs.
Patterns of disharmony with the stomach often present due to diet, or with the retention of food, overeating or stagnant qi. Regularity of eating and what is being eaten will have an effect on the stomach’s ability to perform.
Lifestyle Tips For A Healthy Late Summer Season
Exercise at this time of year should be slightly less energetic than full summer, concentrating on building muscle tone, core stability and balance. Strengthen your legs, your support and connection to the earth.
Pilates and yoga is good for this time of year, focusing on building your core strength and working on your legs to support the connection to the earth.
Boost your lymph by doing inversions or just by having your legs up the wall, and incorporate core strengthening and leg strengthening yoga poses this time of year.
Standing meditation Zhang Zhuang (pronounced Jan Jon) is standing like a pole or tree. It is a method of Qigong and is great for building our spleen energy.
Try to remove worry from your life – worrying damages the spleen energy.
Using the following affirmations can help strengthen your center during late summer. I am a stable, helpful understanding resource for reliable steady nourishment in my life.
Include more activities that bring you closer to the earth like gardening and walking.
Having a safe comfortable home situation, and a stable routine (especially around meals) strengthens the Spleen.
Naturally sweet foods support the system this time of year. Eat more root vegetables- Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, parsnip, Apples, Apricots, Carrots, Oats, Peaches, Pears.
Avoid sugar and highly refined processed foods and stale food.
Respect nature and your body, consuming only what you need, always eat with open and relax posture because being slumped and twisted impairs the digestive process.
Include Jasmine tea as this is a spleen tonic and can be taken with meals.
Adding foods to resolve dampness including: lemon, parsley, celery, bitter foods, small beans, onions, leeks, garlic, Jasmine and green tea.
Food should be cooked on a low flame or sautéed to bring out the sweetness of the food if you want to focus on nourishing the spleen.
Chew your food well and avoid heated discussions of arguments during mealtimes. Do not eat on the run.
Avoid overworking over studying or having very long periods of concentration without taking a break. Taking back regular breaks gives you time to digest information and relaxation helps you to digest life experiences.
Avoid over analysing things people or situations in your life
Also limit the amount of damp foods you consume including cow products, nut butters, soy products and too many cold raw foods.