Season of the Heart

In Chinese Medicine, summer is the time of year of the heart. The heart is ruled by the element of fire, it makes sense that summer would be the time of fire, since it’s usually warm/hot weather. How our organs work in Chinese medicine is different than how they work in Western medicine. In Western medicine, when we speak of the heart, we speak of heart disease, cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and such things.

 In Chinese medicine, those elements exist as well, but the heart is considered to be the emperor of all of the emotions and mental functions, it is the home of your spirit, rules the emotion of Joy, regulates your sleep, and regulates the small intestines. When your heart is properly nourished and balanced – you would feel content, emotionally balanced, and even have access to your higher wisdom.

The opposite is also true if your heart is not cared for properly – most psychological conditions would be considered to be heart imbalance. Too much joy can result in a condition we would diagnose as manic-depressive in Western medicine. Not enough joy can be considered to be depression. Anxiety, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, restlessness, spontaneous sweating, chest pain, tongue pain, and burning urine are other symptoms of heart imbalance. In summer, when you get “too much heat” you can have a bad case of diarrhea connected to eating the wrong food, it would be an imbalance in your small intestine. The physical functions of your heart, which we would consider to be similar to western medicine, are ruled by the pericardium, whose job it is to protect your heart. Here you would see all the problems we usually diagnose as heart disease – such as having a heart attack, arrhythmia, or heart failure etc.

I’ve loved Chinese medicine ever since I was introduced to the concepts of it over 25 years ago, because of the whole idea that our body is connected to our spirit. To me, it means that, by taking good care of your body, your spiritual development will be easier. And vice versa, if you take care of yourself spiritually and emotionally, your body will have an easier time.

Lifestyle elements, like how you eat, sleep, and exercise, all play a role in your heart health.  Red is the color of the heart, and red foods are considered to be very good for healing your heart. Exercises that strengthen your chest – and deep breathing are good exercises. Meditation, prayer, love, and finding ways to fulfill your purpose in life will also help your heart.

One Comment

  • Pattie says:

    Thank you Dr. Shiroko! I love the concept you mentioned that if you take care of your heart your body will have an easier time! This makes sense, but so often I forget how important that is. Thanks for the reminder.

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