By Jorga Houy, LAc, Emperor’s College Alumnus and Owner of LA Sports Acupuncture
“The three months of summer are the season of luxurious growth and all things become fruitful. To accord with the season, go to bed late and wake up early; try to stay cheerful and avoid getting angry. Be as lively as a blooming plant to keep your qi in good circulation.” ~ The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
These ancient words of wisdom accord pretty well with common sense and point to one of the major strengths of Oriental medicine: living in sync with the seasons. This section of the ancient text is interesting because it gives a variety of lifestyle advice for each season.
When we adapt our lifestyles to the change of the seasons, it helps our immune system keep up with the change in temperature and weather. I see a big influx of patients in my clinic complaining of allergies and colds every time the seasons change; I treat those patients with acupuncture and give them herbs. I also advise my patients to come in for a round of treatments before the seasons change to help their systems adapt. The ones who do come in usually don’t end up getting sick.
Avoid the Pitfalls of Outdoor Activities under the Sun
According to Wu Xing (pronounced “woo shing” and translated as “five phases” or “five elements”) theory, summer is associated with fire and like fire, summer certainly is hot. Most people associate the hot summer months with fun in the sun, vacations, and outdoor BBQs.
During summer, we all want to get outside and get active. While that is great and very healthy, there are a couple of potential pitfalls which can be very easily avoided.
The first major danger in summer is dehydration; you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water. To figure out how much you need, take your body weight in pounds, divide that by two and that’s the number of ounces you need. If you are being very active in the heat, you need even more. The abundance of water rich summer fruit is another way to stay hydrated.
If you don’t stay hydrated, you run a greater risk of getting heat stroke, signs of that are dizziness, feinting, and extreme sweating. If this happens it is imperative to get enough water and electrolytes into your system and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are also traditional herbal formulas in Oriental medicine which can help prevent this sort of condition and help you recover from the after effects if you were affected by a heat stroke.
Avoid the Weekend Warrior Syndrome
Another of the sort of thing I see a lot in my practice in the summer is the weekend warrior syndrome. A lot of people have been sitting around all year being mostly inactive. In the summer, they suddenly want to get out and be active in the quest for the perfect beach body. This extreme and inconsistent approach to fitness inevitably leads to injuries; and while it is unfortunate that people injure themselves, acupuncture is a fantastic way to speed the healing process.
Here’s my tip to limit the risk of injury: Including regular exercise into your lifestyle will not only keep you in shape for the summer, but it will help prevent the kinds of injuries associated with start-and-stop activity. I often recommend exercise like tai chi, yoga, and qi gong to my patients.
Refreshing Summer Salad
Lastly, eating healthy in the summer can add to your overall well being and keep you hydrated. This recipe for a delicious salad is an example of a healthy summer dish. The ingredients of this salad are all very water rich and can help beat the heat.
One medium tomato, coarsely chopped
Two Persian cucumbers, coarsely chopped
½ cup watermelon, coarsely chopped
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
½ bunch fresh mint
1 Tbs. jalapeno, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 ½ Tbs. lime juice
Combine all ingredients, add dressing. Serve & enjoy! Here’s to your healthy summer!
Jorga Houy, LAc, is an acupuncturist specializing in orthopedics, sports medicine, and pain management. Jorga received his master’s degree from Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, California. In addition to running his own private practice clinic, he is a staff acupuncturist for the LA Derby Dolls, and a faculty member of Matrix International University. www.lasportsacupuncture.com
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