With the beginning of holidays and hot summer days I am sending you some tips and hints from traditional Tibetan medicine, Sowa Rigpa. It is almost 4000 years old natural medical system that teaches us how to live in balance with nature and its cycles. Similar to the waxing and waning of the moon, the 3 humours of wind, bile, and phlegm also go through yearly cycles of accumulation, manifestation, and pacification with the changing of the seasons. By following these natural rhythms we can keep the healthy balanced state and prevent the diseases.
In summer, the wind humour is manifested due to the accumulation of its energy during the spring. Just like wind’s nature, you may notice some difficulties with concentration or experience emotional roller-coasters that may bring up anxiety and panic attacks (most prevalent in this season according to psychiatrists). Long days and short nights in addition to the wind energy may contribute to your sleeping lighter and even cause insomnia!
Summer is also a time when the fire element dominates. Since this element is connected with the heart, it is important to be aware of arrhythmia and other cardiological disorders that can arise.
The external heat also weakens the inner heat, or metabolic power of the body (Medro in Tibetan). It results in lack of appetite, sluggish digestion and slower metabolism.
At this time of the year as the fire feeds the bile humour, heat starts to accumulate inside the body, appearing as irritation and anger at the mental level, and physically as headaches, inflammations, colds and flu in the autumn.
To balance the predominant elements of this season, Sowa Rigpa recommends eating food that have sweet, salty and sour tastes. Examples include fruits and vegetables, fermented and gluten-free grains, meats like turkey or beef, fish, and organic fermented dairy. Eat plenty of seasonal local fruits, especially berries, and vegetables, as they contain thousands of beneficial substances, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, which help counter balance oxidative stress from sun-bathing, protect your health from the inside out, and prevent skin aging.
As refreshing as it feels in the moment, be careful not to cool down too much! Consuming cold salads and icy drinks can stifle and damage your digestive power. Therefore, it is prudent to include warm meals, especially soups (my favourite are nettle soup and spinach soup!), and always start your day with a glass of hot water.
What to avoid? Strong alcohol and deep fried and heavy to digest foods. Frozen foods, such as ice cream, are also heavy for digestion, so try not to over indulge in them.
Sprinkle rooms with camphor or sandalwood oils for a cooling effect! Avoid strenuous exercises and excessive sun-bathing, which further increase the heat accumulation. Choose to partake in calm and pleasant activities like swimming, walking in nature, and spending relaxing quality time with great friends and family. Important is also to take care of your mental health: try meditation, breathing techniques or yoga to balance the agitated wind element.
Add nutmeg and clove in your meals to help your heart, sleep and emotions. They are great for pacifying the wind humour and are not overheating. Padma NervoTib is also an amazing potent herbal formula to take in the evening. To reduce heat, you can drink some water with saffron, and take Padma HepaTib at noon.
To pacify the wind humour with external therapies, Sowa Rigpa uses warm oil enemas verses the modern hydrocolonotherapy that uses water, giving the opposite effect.
Another way and much easier to apply with great results is oil application on skin, like a gentle oil massage, with warming sesame oil or cooling oils such as olive oil or coconut oil. Also horme therapy with warm oil applied of wind points brings a great relief.
Avoiding toxic sun-block lotions, I prefer to apply coconut oil, as it provides some natural sun protection, nourishes skin and has antimicrobial qualities, in addition to wearing sun protective clothing and seeking shade when possible.
May you enjoy a Sowa Rigpa Summer and I wish you a wonderful season!
Have a wonderful summer!