Integrative Medicine Blog

The Yin and Yang of Summer: Keep Your Body in Balance

Liza Pollock L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M. Sunday, July 09, 2017
Istock large intestine 4

Summer can cause internal imbalance. Here are some tips for keeping your body in check this summer!

Summer has arrived indeed! According to Chinese medicine, summer is the most yang (pronounced ‘yong’) time of the year. Yang is the moving, active, warming aspect within nature and our bodies, while yin is the still and cooling aspect.

Following the healing advice of one of the world’s most famous Qigong masters, “As we look at nature, during this time of the year, the surface of the earth is warm, however when you step into a tunnel or underground it is very cold. Our bodies mirror this same structure. Our yang Qi moves toward the outside and we feel hot, however our internal organs are very cool. In order to reinforce the yang and nourish the yin for this season, implement the following suggestions:

1. Eat and drink warm or room temperature foods and liquids.

2. Eat more soups and easily digestible foods.

3. Eat or drink 2-3 slices of ginger after breakfast.

4. The temperature of a room or car should be no more than 10 degrees different than the outside temperature.

Acupuncture and acupressure can also be used to address imbalances brought on with seasonal changes. The heat of the summer is considered one of the outside environmental factors that can disrupt the body’s defenses. This can lead to fever, headache, toothache, sore throat, nosebleed, stomachache, too much sweating or even too little sweating, dizziness and more. One of the most accessible acu-points to help clear heat and address these presentations specifically is Large Intestine 4. The Chinese name for this point is ‘He Gu’ which translates to ‘Joining Valley.’ It is said to be the ruler of the face and the mouth. This is one of the best points for any kind of headache and even for almost any kind of pain in the body.

This point is located on the top of the hand between the metacarpal bones that lead to the thumb and index finger, midway between the wrist and knuckle of the metacarpal bone of the index finger. By applying pressure very close to this bone, find the tender most spot, and hold for 1-5 minutes each side. You may notice your headache/toothache/stomachache dissipate entirely! Meanwhile, you’ll be strengthening your body’s defensive Qi by activating this point.

(This point is contraindicated during pregnancy until a woman is ready for labor due to its strongly moving function, so please do not apply pressure here if you are pregnant.)


Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman.