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July 22, 2013 / Karen R Adams

boy is it hot

hot summer sunThis is going to be a short post because, well, as we say in Massachusetts, it’s wicked hot here, and the humidity makes it hard to move or think.  Even with AC I feel like I’m going to be sweating all over my needles.  Sorry.

So I’m going to re-cap here what I’ve been saying to just about every patient I’ve seen for the last 3 or 4 weeks:

  • Work with the season.  Summer is meant to be hot, and in the northeast it’s also humid.  I don’t know about you, but I can vividly remember summers as a child when it was so hot that even we kids didn’t play tag for very long.  So… move more slowly.  Save your Qi to be part of your internal cooling system.  Stop marching everywhere and amble instead.  Grab moments to stop, have some water, dip your feet in the pool or a stream.  Hang out with your friends on the street corner or front porch a bit more, because summer is also meant for friends.
  • The internet is full of ideas for cooling off.  I saw someone yesterday with one of those heart-shaped fans they used to loan us in church.  Another idea I saw: fill a bottle with water, freeze it, and put the bottle in front of a fan.  Bet you can have fun creating new or re-discovering old cooling devices.  One of my patients said she just covered herself with damp towels and lay down in front of a fan.  You could take a cool shower before bed.  Another patient told me she and her co-workers have scheduled their lunch breaks so they can spend 15 – 20 minutes floating in a local swimming hole – every day.  Imagine!  If you make a commitment to slow down, bet you could fit something like that in to your day, too, because you’ll be more thoughtful about how you use your time.
  • Practice CTFD.  Okay, I borrowed that from the daddyblog, but it is a parenting technique that can be adapted to any situation.  ‘CTFD’ stands for Calm the Fuck Down.  For 99% of us, the heat is uncomfortable, but it won’t kill us.  But I can guarantee you that resisting the external heat by struggling or complaining will increase your internal Heat, and then you’ll really be uncomfortable.  By practicing CTFD, you might even be able to enjoy summer.
  • Pay attention so you stay hydrated.  Don’t just force-feed yourself water; I’ve had at least one patient who made herself sick by drinking so much water she unbalanced her body chemistry (electrolytes, potassium, etc).  Drinking more is good, though, so why don’t you make your own vitamin/mineral water?  How about watermelon lemonade, made in a blender, with some sliced lemons?  Sun tea is always good – any of the dried berry teas will do.  If you add some nettle tea and mint you’ll not only cool yourself down, you’ll be getting nutrition as well.  Heck.  Make cucumber tea.
  • Add these foods to your diet – or your tea: watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, tangerines or lemons, celery, pears.  Not only are all of these foods hydrating (especially watermelon), they are energetically cooling as well.
  • Make sure you really chew your food.  Not only does that make things easier on your digestion, but, in the CM way of thinking, that actually helps hydrate you.  Believe it or not, but do try it.
  • Don’t go crazy with iced drinks and cold food.  Really.  You’ll stress your Spleen which is already struggling to deal with the humidity.  Room temperature teas are good – and room temp in air conditioning makes a pleasantly cool drink.  Take it easy on the salads; you can get away with more raw foods in the summertime just because they are cooling.  But try not to eat them right out of the fridge.
  • Eat less.  Over and over I hear people telling me that they’re just not hungry, as if that means there’s something wrong.  It’s okay, and it’s fab that you’ve noticed what your body is saying.  If you eat lightly, you’ll feel better because, again, you’re not stressing your Spleen.  Smoothies are great for this time of year, as are juices.

And that’s it.  Summation: relax into the season and accept it because even you are not powerful enough to cool off summer and it will make you crazy to try.  Crazy makes you hotter, so why do it?   Support yourself with cooling, hydrating, easy to digest food and drink.  My favorite?  Find some good friends and a river…

sawmill river

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