The Summer energetic season according to traditional Chinese medicine’s (TCM’s) Five Element Theory began May 6 and ends July 19. The element of the five that is assigned to Summer is Fire. Whenever we present imbalances in the skin such as redness, irritation, sensitivity, blotchy or allergic skin, excessive heat and perspiration, and couperose, this indicates that we have a Fire imbalance. These indications of imbalance also apply to emotions. For example, a depressive, unhappy emotional state is contrary to the emotion of the element Fire when in balance. TCM offers remedies for assisting us to get back in balance.
Summer obviously is the time of the sun, heat, growth, expansion, warmth, increased light, and abundance. All of these characteristics are very graphically demonstrated in the exuberant growth of flora during the energetic Summer. Nature always gives us clues. In fact, we can always look at how the weather affects plant growth to remind us that we as well can experience seasonal effects on our skin and emotional states during each of the five seasons when we are energetically out of balance.
In Taoism. Fire is the most yang of the five elements, but let’s remember that in each of the five elements there is always a yin/yang balance. Consequently, even in the Summer, we can experience yin conditions in our skin and our emotional state. Taoist astrology refers to yang Fire energy with the color red and it refers to yin with purple.
Although we easily become aware of changes on our skin, we might be less mindful of our seasonal mood swings and of whether our outlook tends to be positive or negative during any given season. Since the emotion of Fire is joy, an energetically balanced individual should be in a positive and balanced joyful mood during the energetic Summer. Excessive exuberance is an emotion out of balance (excessively yang) just as a lack of joy also indicates a lack of balance (excessively yin).
Fire personality traits and emotions may include:
- love, both interpersonal and divine
- joie de vivre, joyfulness
- generosity of spirit
- a compulsion to call attention to ourselves
Symptoms of Fire imbalance can show up physically and emotionally as:
- excessive perspiration
- rashes, hives, hot skin eruptions
- sleep disturbances, insomnia
- palpitations, irregular heartbeat
- restless or explosive energy
- inappropriate laughter
- disaapointment as the logical outcome of an out-of-balance and immature approach to relationships
A balanced Fire type personality is one who expresses the Fire characteristics, both physical and psychological, on a year round basis. The Fire type often find success in life as a result of his or her predisposition to be warm-hearted and generous. They find experiences of love, compassion, fun, joy, and pleasure very healing while they may also find the sharing joy and laughter without the goal of a reward in mind very challenging.
However, like hot molten lava, uncontrolled or imbalanced Fire can be unpredictable and changeable, chaotic and challenging to contain. It’s active, combustible, energetic, animated, and powerful. It can burn and damage others.
In TCM, Fire’s body organs are the heart and small intestines. Therefore a sustained Fire imbalanced may predispose to heart problems such as heart attacks or may experience digestive problems in the small intestines.
Fire types are lovers and protectors of the heart. They tend to be driven to find love and intimacy sometimes at the expense of other important arenas of their lives. They can also be thrown off stable emotional course when experiencing traumatic events.
Other attributes of the Fire element include these:
- Color: red
- Taste: bitter
- Direction: South
- Voice quality: laughter
- Smell: scorched
Symptoms of imbalance with Fire include:
- Expectation: true love
- Stress response: loss of joy
- Emotional perception: hurt
Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 8, 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Photo by Leonard von Bibra at Unsplash
Moss, M.D., Charles A. Power of the Five Elements: The Chinese Medicine Path to Healthy Aging and Stress Resistance. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2010. Print.