Do you not see
That you and I
Are as the branches of one tree?
With your rejoicing
Comes my laughter;
With your sadness
Start my tears
Could life be otherwise
With you and Me?
Tsu Yeh Tsin dynasty, A.D. 265-316
Summer is finally here! We have survived the frosts of Winter and the winds of Spring to arrive at our most Yang of all the seasons. As a Melbournian some of you may be feeling just as joyous as I am, as the heat of the sun warms me up from the inside out.
The summer season marks the hottest time of the year. Everything in nature is now reaching its peak of growth. Flowers are blooming, tomatoes are ripening and the lawn needs to be mowed every week!!
The movement of fire is upwards. It is hot, bright, dazzling, expansive, exciting and all-embracing. This is the energy of the Fire Element. And like fire, it can be explosive like a firework or overpowering like a bushfire. Unpredictably the flames can move in different directions but ultimately move upwards.
The fire element is also about connection, intimacy and love. It calls us to notice our relationships with others as well as ourselves. Touch and speech are the sense organs of the fire element. This makes sense as talking is one of the major ways humans communicate with each other and express our heart’s desires.
Summer is a time when there are more group gatherings, with Christmas being one of the major events on the yearly calendar. We usually want to go out more, stay up for longer due to the increase in daylight hours, and schedule holidays with family and friends. Communication therefore increases and there is a risk of overdoing social events and burning out our flame. Interestingly, a fire element out of balance can show up as a speech disorder.
The colour of the fire element is red and the sound is laughing. Laughing Is a universal language that carries the emotion of Joy. You can see the fire element sparkling in the eyes and activities of children, and how much more frequently they laugh compared to adults.
The Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Burner are the organs associated with the fire element. The Heart is the ruler of all the organs and the most precious. It is understood in Chinese Medicine as governing blood and blood vessels; however, most importantly the Heart is where the Shen (Spirit or mind) resides.
What is the Fire Element in balance?
- Relishes excitement and intimacy
- Is intuitive and empathetic
- Loves drama and sensation
However, too much heat can produce unwanted side effects and be damaging to our overall well-being. Some common examples include eating too much hot, rich, greasy foods, or drinking too much alcohol, coffee and sugary drinks. Perhaps we are taking on too much emotional stress or unable to say no, allowing others to influence us.
What is the Fire Element out of balance?
Excess heat may produce signs and symptoms such as:
- Anxiety, agitation
- Nervous exhaustion, insomnia
- Excess sweating
By applying the principles of Chinese Medicine to ourselves through the lens of the elements, we can work towards balance.
Here are some suggestions to be in harmony with the energy of the fire element this summer;
- Get up early in the morning and reach for the sun for nourishment like the flowers in the garden. Sun salutations are a wonderful daily ritual that can be done in your garden. Feeling the earth beneath your feet can be very grounding.
- Try and manage a balance between work and play. This is a hard one for many of us. Life is very busy and it can be a constant struggle to carve out that play time for yourself. Yes, adults need to play too!!
- Maintain an adequate fluid intake and a diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables. Lean towards the produce of the season; apples, lemon, kiwi, melons, oranges, pears and cooling foods such as cucumber, spinach, yoghurt, barley and green tea. The bitter flavour corresponds to the fire element, so throw some bitter greens into your diet too! And just remember it’s okay to indulge sometimes we just have to balance it out.
This season is the perfect time to engage in joy, and laughter and establish healthy boundaries and connection with ourselves, family, friends and the wider community.
If you feel like your fire element is a little unbalanced this season a Chinese Medicine treatment may be just what you need. A practitioner can discuss your particular symptoms and help restore equilibrium through Acupuncture, Cupping, Gua Sha, Herbal Formula, and dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Not into needles? Then you can book in for a Shiatsu treatment instead. You can still achieve amazing results minus the needles with Shiatsu.
Louisa is a graduate of the Southern School of Natural Therapies (Torrens University) and holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Chinese Medicine). Louisa also holds diplomas in Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies, Remedial Massage, and Holistic Counselling. She is registered with both the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).