Summer is my favorite time of the year! In Chinese medicine, it is the season of highest Yang – it is the time of expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity.
Our Yang (pronounced “yawng” not “yaeng”) shines easily during this season, but as with everything, you must always balance the Yin and Yang or you will pay the price physically….
To keep us focused on this balance, here is little info about Yin:
Yin is the non-blood fluid portion of the body (spinal fluid, lymphatic fluid, joint fluid, mucus membranes, etc.) Think of it as that which nourishes connective tissue and structures: fascia, muscle, bone, ligament, tendon, nerves, veins, arteries. Yin holds, Yang moves.
Yin is cool moisture (think coconut water, cucumbers, or watermelon) and Yang is hot energy (physiology, motion). Yin has form and Yang has function. You must have sufficient Yin to have sufficient Yang….
Signs Yin is deficient:
difficulty staying asleep
hot at night (with or without night sweats)
tremors and / or spasms (restless leg or “charley horse” cramps)
joint injury or pain due to repetitive motion / repetitive stress
age spots / uneven skin tone
and anyone over age 40….
Yin is cool moisture, and when deficient it gives rise to dry heat conditions. We naturally heat up (and sadly, dry out) as we age so anything we can do to stave off that process will increase health, beauty, and ultimately longevity.
The only ways to nourish Yin are through appropriate foods, sufficient water intake, herbal medicine, and generally slowing down (meditate, walk, get enough sleep, and practice other restorative activities).
Side note about herbal medicine… with a few exceptions, your MD, your chiropractor, and the helpful and well meaning people at Whole Foods are likely not trained nor board certified in any form of herbal medicine. I am board certified in Chinese herbal medicine. That means that I had over 1100 classroom / clinic hours of dedicated herbal training and passed the national board exam in herbal medicine.
For Western herbs, seek advice from a naturopath (ND) or homeopathic physician. For Ayurvedic medicine, find someone specifically trained to practice that form of medicine. Herbal formulas have been used as medicine for many thousands of years. They should be specifically recommended to treat you by someone with adequate training.
Foods that Nourish Yin
Black Sesame Seed
This summer, (please) ditch the chemical-filled Gatorade, Vitamin Water, or any other packaged “energy drink” and pick up some coconut water (read the labels – stay away from any that have preservatives or added sugar – I like Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water). Or, if you’re in a pinch, just fill up with some regular old water… and maybe add a slice of watermelon or cucumber.
For a more nourishing Yin drink, check out the green juice with green apple at the recently opened Lake Forest Juice!(www.lfjuiceco.com)
Recommended Reading: The Spark in the Machine by Dr. Daniel Keown – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18643243-the-spark-in-the-machine
Written by an MD about how the science of acupuncture explains the mysteries of Western medicine. So fascinating and such a great read!!!
Be well – Jana
L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., Dipl. OM, MSOM, BS Nutrition
Apex Acupuncture and Wellness, Ltd.
725 N. McKinley Road | Suite 100
Lake Forest, IL 60045