As the summer solstice just passed, it is a perfect time to explain the yearly energetic cycle and how the body responds to the seasonal energies. This year, the summer solstice fell on June 20, 2012 at 23:08 (11.08pm). In the U.S., many see this as the beginning of summer. As far as seasonal energies go, this is actually the pinnacle of summer energy. Think yin-yang theory. The summer solstice marks the longest day (day = yang) of the year and the shortest night (yin = night). The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. So you see, the summer solstice is the most ‘yang’ day of the entire year! The height of summer and yang-fire energy.
Our body’s energy works in conjunction with the daily, monthly and yearly cycles. We are at our most healthy when abiding by the natural cycle. Be active during day and sleep at night is the most basic rule. Women have monthly cycles as all are aware. The words menses, moon and month actually come from the latin word mensis (month). As for yearly cycles, do you notice how many people tend to put on weight in the winter and are more active in the summer? You can optimally cleanse your body when paying attention to the yearly cycle as well. Springtime is the best time to help your body rid itself of winter weight and toxic build-up as the energies are beginning to move outward during this time.
Timing seasonal energies is quite easy. I usually just count 45 days before the solstices or equinoxes (365 days a year divided by 4 seasons = 91.5 days each season). For example, 45 days before the summer solstice was approximately May 7, the accurate start of summer from an energetic standpoint. 45 days after the summer solstice will be the start of autumn energies (August 4) and the fall equinox will be the peak of autumn.
It is always a good time to get an acupuncture ‘tune-up’ around the solstices and equinoxes as the body does go through energetic changes during these times. In summer, the energies are at their most surface. When fall comes the energies begin to turn inward reaching their most internal at the winter solstice and come springtime, the body’s energies begin to awaken from their winter hibernation.
Summer is also an extremely good time to strengthen health even though you feel good. Many people tend to get sick in winter and there are tonifying strategies in Chinese medicine employed during summer months (or the ‘yang’ time of year) to help strengthen and prevent winter (the ‘yin’ time of year) weakness and sickness.