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How To Harness the Power of the Summer Solstice with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Bright sun shining through a window onto a wooden table with herbs and plants on it.

Summer solstice is here! As the longest day of the year, the summer solstice holds significant meaning in many cultures around the world. In Chinese Medicine, the summer solstice marks the annual peak of Yang energy, which correlates with warmth, light, activity and dynamic function both in the natural world and in our bodies. 

Yang energy, or Yang Qi (阳气), is integral to health and functioning of all of the body's systems. It ensures healthy digestion and circulation, proper immune system function, mental clarity and focus, athletic endurance and stamina, and male sexual health. In classical Chinese medicine, aligning our lifestyle and diet with seasonal changes ensures the body remains in harmony with the environment, thereby supporting optimal health and resilience against illness. The summer solstice, June 20-21 in the Western Hemisphere, is the best time of the year to boost the body’s Yang and reap the benefits to all the systems described above.

Read on to learn how to use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to help you harness the natural benefits of this exuberant energy to boost your health and wellness not only for the summer season, but throughout the whole year!

Health Benefits of Boosting your Yang Qi ☀️

  1. Enhanced Metabolism: Yang energy fuels metabolic processes. Strengthening Yang during summer supports efficient digestion and nutrient absorption, crucial for maintaining energy levels, nerve and muscle health.

  2. Improved Circulation: Yang energy promotes circulation of Blood and Qi in the whole body. Enhanced circulation supports cardiovascular health and helps prevent stagnation, which can lead to pain, cold extremities, muscle cramps and spasms, and a variety of other health issues.

  3. Boosted Immunity: A robust Yang energy strengthens the body’s Wei Qi (defensive energy), which acts as the body's first line of defense against external pathogens. This reduces susceptibility to infections and diseases. Ancient Chinese texts emphasize the long-term benefits of strengthening the Yang qi during the summer, specifically stating that doing so prevents us from getting sick during the winter when flu and other viruses are going around. 

  4. Mental and Emotional Balance: Yang energy supports the Heart organ, which in Chinese medicine governs emotions and mental functions. Strengthening Yang can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance cognitive functions. 

  5. Detoxification: Yang energy supports the body's natural detoxification processes. Sweating, which is more common in the heat of summer, is a primary method of releasing toxins and excess heat from the body. Supporting healthy levels of sweating (not too much or too little) helps the body detoxify without dehydrating too much. 

Balancing Yang and Yin for Summertime Health ☯️

Chinese medicine is all about promoting balance and harmony to maintain health and treat disease. With this in mind, the heat of summer and peak Yang energy, brings warmth and activity that needs to be balanced by cooling, restful and nourishing therapies, which are associated with Yin energy.

Drinking plenty of water, eating cooling foods such as cucumber, watermelon, dark leafy greens and mint or taking a dip in Barton Springs are all great choices to help your body handle the heat! 

At Mind + Body Acupuncture, we use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to create optimal balance between cooling Yin and warming Yang energies to ensure our patients stay healthy and enjoy the outdoors as much as desired.

Common Summertime Ailments We Treat 🌿

  1. Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration: Prolonged exposure to strong sunlight and high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration, characterized by dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and headaches. Acupuncture points such as LI4 (Hegu), ST44 (Neiting), DU14 (Dachui) and ST36 (Zusanli) help release heat from the body, reduce internal heat and promote hydration. Herbs like Xi Gua (Watermelon Peel), Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena Rhizome), and Sheng Di Huang (Unprepared Rehmannia Root) are effective for cooling the body and relieving thirst. 

  2. Skin Issues: Increased time outdoors raises the risk of contact dermatitis from insect bites or plants like poison ivy, as well as sunburns and heat rashes. Points such as SP10 (Xuehai) and LI11 (Quchi) are effective to reduce inflammation and itching to treat rashes from pesky plants like poison oak, poison ivy, bull nettle, and insect bites or stings. We also commonly prescribe herbal formulas containing Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower), Lian Qiao (Forsythia Fruit), Jing Jie (Schizonepeta Stem/Bud) and Ku Shen (Sophora Root), which are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and detoxifying properties, making them ideal for treating rashes and dermatitis.

  3. Heart Health & Athletic Performance: As the summer corresponds with the Heart in Chinese Five Element Theory, this period is crucial for heart health. Athletes spending increased time outside during the summer need to take extra care to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration. Higher temperatures exacerbate cardiovascular problems, leading to increased blood pressure and a higher risk of heart distress, especially in small children, the elderly or those with preexisting heart conditions. Acupuncture and herbal medicine help to regulate the Heart's functions, preventing heat-induced disturbances and helping the body adjust to increased sweating. Points such as PC6 (Neiguan), HT7 (Shenmen) and LU7 (Lieque) help calm the Heart, increase blood oxygenation, and regulate heart functions. Herbs frequently used to support the Heart in summertime include Dan Shen (Salvia Root), Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon Tuber), Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra Fruit) and Bai He (Lily Bulb), which are beneficial for cooling the blood, generating nourishing fluids to protect from heat-induced dehydration, and preventing excessive fluid loss through sweating. 

The summer solstice is a powerful time, offering us an opportunity to align with the peak of Yang energy to boost health, recharge the body, and support physical and emotional well-being for the whole year. 

Let our experienced practitioners help you recharge from the heat and reap the benefits of the solstice!

Book your appointment for acupuncture, herbal consultation, or a free discovery call today: 


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