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Acupuncture and the season of Late Summer

I hope you are having a very joyous summer full of outdoor activities and socializing with friends and family. As students return to school and summer work hours cease to exist, the season of summer shifts to late summer. Late summer is a differentiated season in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. It begins mid to late August and lasts through September. This season is marked by the humidity and ripening of vegetables and fruits. It can be viewed as the transition from the more yang energy of Summer to the more yin energy of Fall and Winter. It relates to the element Earth and the organs Stomach and Spleen. It relates to the ability to physically digest food and emotionally to digest new information and thoughts. If either of these are out of balance, a late summer seasonal acupuncture treatment would be beneficial for you. Symptoms of this imbalance may include, bloating, cravings of sweets, weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, nausea, fatigue, chronic fatigue, cloudy thinking, worrying, OCD, feeling needy, and overthinking.

According to Paul Pitchford, “To attune with late summer, one may listen to its subtle currents, as if living at the instant where the pendulum reverses its swing. Find the rhythms and cycles that make life simple and harmonious.” (Pitchford, 339). This time of year should be pleasant and tranquil. If you find yourself struggling to find ease and tranquility, meditation can be helpful for centering your mind and body.

It is important to eat nutritiously during this season as it does relate strongly to the digestive organs. Eating too many sweets and cold foods (think ice cream!) can hinder the capabilities of the digestive system. Please enjoy the bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits this season has to offer! Specific foods that are nourishing to the Spleen and Stomach are, millet, corn, carrots, cabbage, garbanzo beans, soybeans, squash, potatoes, string beans, yams, tofu, sweet potatoes, rice, amaranth, peas, chestnuts, filberts, apricots, and cantaloupe (Pitchford, 240). These foods share Earth element qualities of being slightly sweet, yellow or golden color, and round.

The Earth element represents the nurturing qualities of life. It is important to remember to nurture yourself during this time, but also to respect and nurture the Earth. Minimizing waste and toxins in our physical environment can be reflected in our bodies as minimizing overeating, the use of food additives, and the overconsumption of animal products. Compassion for the Earth and compassion for ourselves is unified.

Sending you best wishes for a healthy and fruitful late Summer season,


Kearney DeFillipo L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Sources: Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods. 2002.


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