• Esther Hornstein

You're not alone, this summer is really intense

Updated: Jul 9

I couldn't help but notice the increase of mentally ill patients that walked through my office this week. No, I am not a psychologist, but seeing as acupuncture healing penetrates deeply, these patients sought relief through Chinese Medicine. The summer season belongs to the Fire phase of the 5 element theory. When you compare each season to the stages of life you get: Spring = birth, Summer = adolescent hood, Autumn = middle aged, and Winter = maturing and last stage of life.


Summer signifies intensity. The blaze of the heat, the length of the day and the rate of growth of animals and plants serves as proof of this fact.


For humans, this translates into energy. Usually expressed as swimming, dancing, singing, togetherness, active vacations, BBQ's etc. A normal reaction to warm abundant feelings in healthy individuals.





So why the increase in mania?

Extra energy in a balanced body goes to storage after satisfying the immediate need and the rest saved to be called upon in the colder months. If there is a strong imbalance, extra energy or qi in that area leads to greater expression of that imbalance, be it depression, anxiety, moodiness, sadness, rage, etc..


The organs that correspond to the Fire/Summer element are the Heart, Pericardium (special protector of the heart), Small Intestine and San Jiao (transmitter and distributor of energy through out the 3 portions of the body). The heart, in my opinion is most important over all of them. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is like the emperor of the body. Responsible for big decisions and ensuring the survival of the body. Many psychological imbalances in Chinese Medicine stem from the heart, the king not being present.


Strong emotional reactions and physical trauma can "throw the Emperor of the thrown" leaving the great ruler to cower in a closet or just up and go. This stark imbalance in the heart can be seen when you try to hold the gaze in someone's eyes.


To correct this imbalance takes a great acupuncturist, possibly some herbal remedies AND of course seeking medical help. Despite the lofty analogies Chinese Medicine has to offer in terms of understanding mental illness, it is never a substitute for sound medical help and medication when necessary.


Suicide rates are actually higher in the summer months, probably due to the abundance of energy.


If you or someone you know needs help, do not hesitate to get it.

As in all things good and bad: remember this too shall pass. try to find something happy and productive to spend your extra energy on.

Always with you, in health, Esther

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