Updated: May 5, 2022
Fire | Summer | Heart + Small Intestine | Joy, Love; Anxiety, Despair
The Five Elements is an ancient and universal approach in Chinese culture. It is used in many teachings, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Feng Shui and martial arts. We are born into our constitutional element(s) all while transitioning through elemental phases throughout our lives. Because the elements are not static, we all embody each element within ourselves as well. It is our lifestyle choices that help harness the gifts of these traits but know, it can also challenge us just the same. Each element has its own focus, but collectively, the elements achieve balance through a supportive and dynamic relationship with one another. Thus, connecting and balancing an individual’s mind, body and spirit. Mother Qi Medicine utilizes the elements to connect to ourselves, our bodies and our journeys. MQM’s Fire element focuses on Mental Health and Heart health. Both Eastern and Western medicine understand that the Heart and the Shen (Mind) have a direct effect on our emotions and mental activity. Both organs utilize the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to communicate within and care for the body. Think 'fight, flight or freeze' responses for the sympathetic nervous system, and stress management for the parasympathetic nervous system.
Sleep is the most important factor in Heart health. This is the time of day when the Heart rests and recovers. If the Heart is not in good health or is stressed out at all, the rest of the body will also suffer. Think of a time when your sleep was interrupted all night long or you just didn't get enough sleep, how did you fair the next day? Your mental game was probably not as sharp, perhaps your hand-eye coordination was a little off, or you simply couldn't stay awake for much of the day. Most adults aren't getting enough sleep each night, thus fatigue is accumulating. This is also seen through, but not limited too, dis-ease of anxiety, loneliness, stress and poor circulation, that further affects our cardiovascular health. Have you ever heard someone say “their heart hurts” in moments of sadness and despair? Or how chest tightness is often accompanied with anxiety and stress? TCM further explains this with Heart health affecting our memories, emotions, thinking, and sleep. Therefore, an imbalanced Heart can stir up insomnia, depression, speech related issues and mania. When the Heart is not well-rested, the spirit and consciousness also cannot rest. Summer is the Fire element season. This is a happy and full of life time of the year. The sunny days are warm and long, we are able to enjoy the outdoors through play and that feeling of freedom, like a summer school break. That Summer warmth is felt right through our bodies and through the connections we make with others. Fire is about passion and manifestation. Our Hearts are more open and more vulnerable in the Fire phase, which makes it the phase of connecting with ourselves through our hopes and dreams. The movies always emphasize the "summer fling" but the Fire phase is really about getting to know ourselves better and hopefully falling in love with who we are. It is a time when we are learning and navigating our goals and passions, manifesting the life of our dreams, and hustling our way through that learning curve. It is the Fire phase that connects us to our truest most unique selves from the source, our Heart. It is also the phase where we learn how to balance ourselves the most. And how else can we earnestly love others without first loving ourselves? A Fire element out of balance is best described as a large and erratic flame, like an uncontrollable forest fire. Whereas a well-balanced Fire is calm and soothing, like a relaxing camp fire. But how do we balance out our Fire phase? This is when we look to the other elements to help with balance. Do we need more Water qualities, such as slowness to calm the fast-acting erratic fire? Or, is it that we need more nourishing Wood movement to feed the fire? When working with an acupuncturist, we want to know all about you - your lifestyle, your habits and your emotions, stressors and trauma, be it past or present. How is your body fairing along in your journey? How can we help your cardiovascular health with minor lifestyle shifts? And one of the hardest focus for some is: are you celebrating yourself and your accomplishments thus far? Big wins or little wins, they really should be celebrated. This is what helps keep the balance in ourselves. Mental health has become more and more prevalent in health and healing over the years. It has become more acceptable to seek professional help, be it talk therapy, somatic treatments, and energy healing practices to name a few. TCM takes it further with connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit as the body absorbs its environment - thoughts, words, physical practices and energies. One area cannot seek healing without affecting the other. And that’s the true definition of balance. Have you experienced your Fire phase yet?
Poor circulation, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart palpitations
Healthy constitution, good circulation, abundant energy
Confused mind, anxiety or despair
Able to balance activity with restful sleep; warm personality
Symptoms are worse in the summer with excess heat or stimulation
Mind focused, clear thoughts, joyful, disciplined with a keen sense of humour
Adapted from Rhythms of Change by Mary Saunders