Eastern medicine: How late summer & dampness affect you

In traditional Eastern medicine, there are five seasons, which are spring, summer, late summer, autumn, and winter. Each season is governed by one of the Five Elements and accordingly affects the human bodily conditions. In traditional Eastern medicine, there are also five climatic factors that significantly affect the human body. These five climatic factors are the wind, heat, dampness, dryness, and cold, which are a manifestation of each of the Five Elements.

Late summer and dampness are governed by the Earth Element. In this post, I will explain how late summer and dampness affect the human body. Please note that the below content is for informational purposes only and in no way is intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

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Late Summer – Season of the Earth Element

Late summer is the time of balance, abundance, and nourishment. According to the Five Elements theory, late summer is the season of the Earth Element. It is the time that constitutes a transition period from the Yang phase to the Yin phase.

The Wood Element (spring) and the Fire Element (summer) are Yang. In spring and summer, Yang energy prevails nature to guide all lives to grow and develop. The Metal Element (autumn) and the Water Element (winter) are Yin. In autumn and winter, Yin energy prevails in nature to guide all lives to fully mature and take a repose thereafter.

In late summer, the Earth Element effectuates a smooth transition from the Yang phase to the Yin phase. The Earth Element, which is neither Yang nor Yin, creates perfect harmony between Yin and Yang.

In response to the increasing Earth Element in nature, the human body increases the consumption of Earth energy in late summer. Consequently, the Earth Element in our bodies tends to become debilitated in late summer. The spleen and the stomach are the organs of the Earth Element. Those who dread late summer could have problems with the stomach and spleen and thus suffer an unhealthy Earth Element.

They need to pay particular attention to the balance of this element in late summer. Even those with a healthy Earth Element should pay attention to their Earth Element during this period.

Sweet foods correspond to the Earth Element. According to traditional Eastern medicine, the intake of sweet foods helps fortify the stomach and spleen and stimulates the Earth Element in the body.

Given that excessive thoughts and worry offset the balance of this Element, we should avoid excessive thoughts and worry in late summer when the Earth Element becomes prevalent in nature.

Dampness – Manifestation of the Earth Element

Dampness is a manifestation of the Earth Element, which is associated with ripening, nurturing, and accumulating. A fertile soil that is rich in nutrients tends to be damp. Fruits and vegetables that are ready to be picked are also saturated with flavorful moisture.

Moisture and bodily fluids constitute Yin that nourishes our bodies. As for seasons, it is late summer that is associated with the Earth Element. While an adequate amount of dampness helps plants to grow well, excessive humidity could hamper their growth and even destroy their lives. When excessive dampness penetrates matter, it also leads to decay. Excessive dampness is harmful to the human body as well.

Therefore, it is recommended to avoid living in a humid environment or working in the rain for a long time. After bathing or swimming in the water, the body should be properly dried. Humidity has the Earth Element’s tendency to accumulate.

Naturally, dampness in the body could create blockages in the meridians, produce phlegm, or provoke the sensation of the congested chest and stiff joint. Accumulated dampness also gives rise to a loss of appetite, a digestive disorder, or the feeling of sluggishness and fatigue, according to traditional Eastern medicine.

The spleen, organ of the Earth Element, is highly susceptible to dampness. When the spleen is healthy, it can discharge dampness from the body by transforming it into waste. However, when excessive dampness invades the organ, this could undermine the spleen’s capacity for transport and distribution, thereby causing diseases and disorders, according to traditional Eastern medicine. As the spleen weakens, dampness lingers in the body for a longer period of time.

According to traditional Eastern medicine, it is important to keep away from dampness especially in late summer when the Earth Element becomes prevalent in nature.

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