The hottest period in the Chinese calendar, called 三伏 (sān fú), describes the period between mid-July and mid-August. This is the time when people start talking about the heat and try to find ways to escape it. Yet, the most healthful approach is to embrace the heat as much as possible.
The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor (Huángdì Nèijīng) is an ancient medical text that elaborates on this topic. The book notes that summer is a time for all things to grow up vertically, as well as expand horizontally. Any symptoms of sickness in the bones and flesh tend to lose their deep-rooted grip on the body, as their energy also floats to the surface.
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However, our modern lifestyle can become a hindrance. Air-conditioning, for example, will inhibit your body’s pores from opening and block the detoxing process. Although the summer heat has drawn toxins to the surface, they cannot escape from under the skin, leading to an unhealthy state.
Going against nature’s design to escape the discomfort of the heat and sweating can bring on implications later. If the toxins remain locked within the body, its immunity can be compromised, and the following fall and winter may bring on illness. Summer is when you should allow your pores to open fully and eliminate toxins. Moderate exercise can also aid your body in its cleansing process. Be sure to avoid iced foods and beverages during the 38 days of the summer heat. Any invasion of coldness into the body during this time may not show up immediately, but can cause cold extremities and lower body temperatures during the coming winter months.
Here are 3 detoxifying tips for the summer period:
- For a super detoxing treat, drink hot ginger tea and snack on fresh dates (or soaked dried dates). You can also mix the ginger and dates in hot water for a naturally sweet and fiery tea that helps your body to dispel cold and dampness.
- Soak your feet in hot water (you can also put some slices of fresh ginger in the water) and give your feet a good massage. It’s especially effective to do this before sleep.
- Get to bed early (before 11 p.m. is best) and try to get adequate sleep. By treasuring this period of summer, you can improve your health on a holistic level and better equip yourself for year-round health.
Translated by Cecilia and edited by Emiko Kingswell