6 Tips to Nourish the Spleen in the Long-Summer

“The Long-Summer corresponds to the Spleen & Stomach and the element of Earth”
– Traditional Chinese Medicine Fundamentals

The Spleen builds the Qi and the Blood.
It supports the Immune System.

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The 5-Element System of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The 5 Element System includes a fifth season that we know in the West as ‘Indian Summer’.
The Chinese call this season the “Long Summer”, and it corresponds to the element of Earth and the Spleen and Stomach.
Just around the corner we have the Fall, which connects to the Lungs. Both of these organs are vital in our immune system.
The Spleen nourishes the Lungs, so it’s important this time of year to give your Spleen a boost, so that your Lungs will be strong for the upcoming cold and flu seasons in Fall and Winter.
Here’s a few tips to tonify your Spleen Qi this time of year…

 

 

6 Tips to Nourish Your Spleen in the Long Summer.

Tip 1: Eat food from the Earth
Farmers_Market__July__2010_027Try to eat as much fresh, local and organic vegetables and fruits. Eating directly from the garden is ideal. If you don’t have a garden, go to a farmers market and stock up.
Eat less meat products, especially if you’ve been BBQing a lot this summer, this is a good time to reduce your meat intake and triple your fresh produce consumption.

 

Tip 2: Eat more cooked and warmed foods
baked-corn-on-the-cobStart cooking your veggies more. Don’t eat only raw salads. Start adding stews, steams and sautés to your meals. Throw more potatoes, zuccinis and squashes on your BBQ. Cook up some corn on the cob.
The Spleen prefers cooked foods as they are easier to digest and assimilate. Too much raw or cold foods can injure the spleen and create dampness in the body. Keep enjoying your salads and raw veggies too, but start adding more cooked and heated foods to your meals.
Tip 3: Meditate and reduce over-thinking
meditation It is said that over-thinking and worry can injure the Spleen.
When the Spleen is injured 3 things can happen:

1. Digestion is compromised: Less nutrients are absorbed
2. Less Qi and Blood is created.
3. Dampness and Phlegm can grow.
The virtue of the Earth element is called “Yi”, which means “Awareness and Attention”. When we let worry consume our thoughts, we lose awareness and attention of the present moment and get lost in obsessing about the future or past. This causes harm to the Earth element and the Spleen and Stomach Qi is compromised.
Doing regular meditation, qigong, yoga, walking in nature, making art or playing music – or any activity to quiet the mind can help restore the Earth element in the body through a serene mental state.
Tip 4: Avoid dampness forming foods
donuts

Mmmm, these doughnuts may be delicious, but the sticker, sweeter, doughier and more chemical any pastry or sweet is, the more damp-forming it will be.

According to Chinese medicine, certain foods create dampness in the body. Dampness can weaken the Spleen and the Qi in the body.
Some symptoms of dampness in the body:
–  Fatigue, body heaviness, sluggishness
–  Weight gain, bloating, gas
–  Body pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis
–  Cysts, fibroids, tumours
–  Yeast infections, candida
–  Unclear thinking, ADHD
–  Chronic sinus infections
–  Cloudy urine, Foul smelling stools
–  Thick tongue coating, swollen tongue

Important: If you have any of these symptoms and want help to clear the dampness from your body, schedule an appointment with me at my clinic for acupuncture and herbal solutions. You can schedule your appointment online at www.blaiseryan.com/appointment or call 613-702-5377.

ice-cream sundayDamp Forming Foods to Avoid:
–  Dairy, Ice cream
–  Wheat & Gluten
–  Cold drinks with ice
–  Processed foods
–  Refined flour, pastry, pasta, breads
–  Cold raw foods
–  Refined sugar and sugar substitutes
–  Coffee, alcohol
–  Deep fried foods
–  Peanuts and peanut butter
–  Bananas, mangoes.
–  Baked goods, cookies, pastries, doughnuts
Tip 5: Massage these acu-points on your foot
The Spleen Meridian travels up the inside of your foot, along the side of your big toe and inner arch.  Stimulating these points can help boost your Spleen Qi.Sp1-5
Rub these important Acu-Points before you go to bed, or anytime during the day that you need a little boost of energy or rest from stress. Rub along these points shown on the image below on the inside of your foot.
Tip 6: Take a walk after eating
While going for a nice walk after eating, try to bring your attention to your breath and avoid thinking or worrying about anything outside the present moment.

While going for a nice walk after eating, try to bring your attention to your breath and avoid thinking or worrying about anything outside the present moment.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s said that excessive “sitting” and “staring” can injure the spleen.  So instead of going straight back to your computer desk after lunch,  taking an easy and short 10 minute walk after eating can greatly assist the digestive system and renew the Spleen’s energy.
This is a great thing to do after dinner too.  Especially if you overate.
Don’t make it a power walk.  Call upon the energy of the Earth element and make it more of a leisurely stroll.
Walk slowly and easily, let your eyes look at different things, breathe the fresh air and try to be in the present moment.
The breathing and slow walking without worrying about anything will give your metabolism a boost and renew your mind at the same time.