Healing with Seasons

Traditional Chinese Medicine sees our internal health as nested within the larger eco-system of the natural world, including the seasons. By example, we wouldn’t prescribe a down jacket in summer or a bikini in winter (except maybe in San Francisco). Each season has qualities unique to it, that reflect back into our bodies. Some are obvious, like the heat of summer creating more heat inside our bodies, causing symptoms like heat stroke or hives. Others are more subtle, like the effects that internal heat can have on the stomach or emotions.

Below are some general qualities of each season, the organs they affect, a list of beneficial foods best eaten during each phase of the year, and a few foods to avoid. Keep in mind that to create an optimal plan, specific to you, it is helpful to work with your acupuncturist. She can help you understand the specifics of your internal patterns and how to best care for them in each phase of the year.

Element Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Season Spring Summer Late Summer Autumn Winter
Weather Wind Summer-heat Dampness Dryness Cold
Color Blue-green Red Yellow White Black
Tastes Sour Bitter Sweet Spicy Salty
Zang (yin): Organs Liver Heart Spleen Lung Kidney
Fu (yang): Organs Gall Bladder Small Intestine Stomach Large Intestine Urinary Bladder
Emotions Anger Joy Overthink Grief Fear
Food Green Bell Pepper Beet Cabbage Broccoli Kale
Food Green Lentils Red Lentils Garbanzo Beans Almonds Kidney Beans
Food Avocado Cherry Orange Banana Watermelon
Caution Soft Dairy Chocolate/Sugar Meat Eggs Cheese

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