Sep 12, 2013

Thoughts on Late Summer

We have had such a beautiful summer it is hard to think about anything else, but in Chinese Medicine we are quickly approaching yet another transition of seasons.  Most of us only think of four seasons, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we have five seasons, the fifth one being “late summer”.

Late summer is related to the TCM element of Earth and it acts as a turning point for the hot, active, Yang energy of the spring and summer into the cooler, storing, Yin energy of the fall and winter. It begins late August through the Autumn equinox.

The Earth element is regarded as the center, a balancing and stabilizing influence. People who are predominantly Earth types tend to be very nurturing, caring and sympathetic. They are often people pleasers and may be unable to say no; always putting the needs of others ahead of their own. An imbalance in the Earth element can result in feeling unfocused, spacey or indecisive. Patterns of disharmony in the Earth element can also manifest as poor digestion, lethargy/fatigue, and weight issues.

The emotion associated with the Earth element is pensiveness, which includes worry and over-thinking. Earth types may be troubled by obsessive, repetitive thoughts. This constant mental processing can impede digestive function. A weak digestive system can make us feel foggy-headed, and an overanalyzing, worrying mind can impede our assimilation of food. Spending time outside of our mind chatter can help us to become more nourished, both literally and figuratively.

Some ideas to help you enjoy late summer:

Because of the Earth’s elements dual processing role—of thoughts and of food—make sure to focus on eating when you are eating rather than multitasking, work, TV, or deep emotional conversations (light and enjoyable talk is fine). This focus will help you to digest your food better.

As the weather cools, incorporate some warming foods that support the Earth element. Foods like ginger, squash, pumpkin, fennel, and mustard greens help your digestive system.

Most of us spend a lot of time “in our heads”—planning, organizing, thinking, and worrying. This is a great time of year to start or restart a meditative practice.

And of course seeing your friendly acupuncturist will help you transition into this season more easily too! We can help with problems that come up with an Earth imbalance such as; digestion (constipation, loose stools, bloating, heartburn etc.) as well as worrying/pensive thoughts, difficulty making decisions, or feeling foggy-headed.


Please support our local midwives by joining Miles for Midwives October 6th at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Miles for Midwives takes place every autumn to raise awareness around the benefits of midwifery and the important work of Washington midwives! Your participation helps to ensure that families in Washington State have greater access to quality women’s healthcare and the lower healthcare costs associated with utilization of midwives. Perfect Harmony Acupuncture is proud to be a sponsor of this event! More info at:


Nicole Hidaka L.Ac.