Chinese Medicine and Taoist philosophy looks to nature to understand health and harmony. The ancients witnessed that all living things are dynamic and interdependent. The seasons progressing naturally into one another is the basis of the Five Element Theory. The five elements, or active phases, are Wood (Spring), Fire (Summer), Earth (Late Summer), Metal (Autumn) and Water (Winter).
The "Indian" Summer is related to the spleen, pancreas and stomach. It is a time associated with heat and humidity (the end of summer) and with harvesting (the beginning of autumn).
How do these seasonal energies influence our physical and emotionally well-being?
Regarding the Tao Qigong system, it does influence it a lot. In Qigong we work with different vital organs each season to keep a balanced "weather" in our body.
The stomach and the spleen resonate with Late Summer’s energetic vibration.
In Late Summer the energy of this organ/gland group is more prone to be affected. In Qigong we support the balance in spleen & stomach. The exercises are able to create more nourishing ground that:
- openness and flexibility can blossom
- excessive cold or heat can be eliminated
- good digestion helps to absorb nutrition from food
- when new things come into our life, we can adjust to them and stay flexible
When the spleen is weak, our thinking is unclear and we worry. Constantly we are running over the same thing in our minds. In this way mental and physical digestion are very closely linked. This is also
why excess worry produces stomach ulcers. An imbalance in the spleen can also show as indecisiveness.
The earth element is essential for all seasons. That's why this "5th" season of the spleen interacts with every transition from one season to the next. For example: In early Spring it starts to snow - so Winter is back for a day. The next day it is warm. The 3rd day it's wintery cold again. This time, when two seasons are fighting with each other, is also called the spleen season.
The spleen is the largest organ in the lymphatic system. It is an important organ for keeping bodily fluids balanced. The spleen is located under the rib cage and above the stomach in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. A spleenis soft and generally looks purple.
"The spleen governs digestion and absorption by extracting and refining the essences from foods, builds up blood and Qi, directs ascending movements and holds things up, controls the flesh and holds things in place, keeps blood in its vessels, opens into the mouth, manifests in the lips, governs the sense of taste, and governs the quality of thought."