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Summer and Traditional Chinese Medicine

by Stacy Lauren-Kon, Lac MSOM

Summer and TCM

Summer and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mend Family Acupuncture and Healthcare in Los Angeles, CA

The seasons play a significant role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Each season is believed to have its own characteristics and effects on certain organs, so living in harmony with these changes is essential for maintaining optimal health. That includes making changes in sleep patterns, adjusting one’s diet, and one’s level of activity.

Each season is aligned with either Yin or Yang, one of the Five Elements (Fire, Water, Metal, Earth, Wood), and a Yin and Yang paired organ/meridian system (Yin: Heart, Lung, Spleen, Liver, and Kidney and Yang: San Jiao, Large Intestine, Gallbladder, and Urinary Bladder). Summer is associated with Yang, the element of Fire, and the Heart and Small Intestines. It is considered the most Yang time of the year when nature and Qi (energy and life force) is at its peak of activity and growth. Yang is associated with light, high energy, solid material, it is an expansive time where there is vibrance and outward-moving energy. 

The Heart is considered the ruler of all organs and plays a vital role in maintaining emotional well-being, sleep, and circulation. Since it is a Yin organ it is taxed during the Yang season of Summer. The Small Intestine is a Yang organ and is responsible for separating pure and impure substances, both on a physical and emotional level.

The Summer is associated with joy, enthusiasm, and exuberance in TCM. It is a time for expressing oneself, being social, and engaging in activities that bring happiness and fulfillment. However, an imbalance during Summer can lead to an excess of joy, which throws the Shen (spirit) off. Since the Shen resides in the Heart, this imbalance can lead to manic or hyperactive behavior. Maintaining emotional balance and nurturing positive emotions are essential during this season.

Eastern Medicine places great emphasis on diet and nutrition.  Since each season corresponds with a different organ, specific recommendations are made for each new season and Summer is definitely no exception. The nutritional focus is on light, refreshing, and cooling foods that help counteract the external heat. Foods such as watermelon, cucumber, mint, and green leafy vegetables are commonly consumed to cool and hydrate the body. Normally TCM recommends keeping raw foods to a minimum in the colder months. But in the Summer, cold raw foods is preferable. 

The summer season encourages outdoor activities, exercise, and spending time in nature. However, it is easy to overdue it and tax your Qi. Engaging in gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, or yoga can help balance the body's energy during this time. Protecting oneself from excessive heat, staying hydrated, and getting adequate rest are also extremely important. 

Overall, the significance of Summer in Eastern Medicine lies in aligning oneself with the seasonal energies and making appropriate lifestyle and dietary adjustments. By doing so, it is believed that one can enhance overall well-being, prevent imbalances, and promote harmony within the body and mind.

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Salad

Stacy Lauren-Kon offers Acupuncture, Cupping, Facials, Weight Loss in Los Angeles, CA

I fell in love with this recipe when a friend brought this to a dinner party I was hosting. It is permanently on my “favorites” list! Thank you, Rachel.


1 small red onion, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
3 baby cucumbers, seeded and cut into cubes
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup mint leaves, sliced thinly


Mix red onion with lime juice in a bowl; set aside to marinate at least 10 minutes. Stir olive oil into mixture.

Toss watermelon, baby cucumbers, and feta cheese together in a large bowl. Pour red onion mixture over watermelon mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle mint over the salad; toss and enjoy!