Prevention is a central focus of the Integrative Medicine that I practice. This means not just waiting for things to go wrong with our health and then reacting, but being proactive and making lifestyle changes that promote better health so that we don’t become ill in the first place — my long-time tag line — Stay Healthy. One way to do this is to align our activities and habits, in such areas as nutrition, exercise and so on, with the changing seasons.
I have followed this approach myself for many years and have used the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to guide me. In this system there are five elements each corresponding to a season, and many other associations such as a color, specific body organs, emotions and so on. My book Staying Healthy with the Seasons explores all this in great detail.
An important part of this approach is something called the “Doyo” which could be translated as “Transition.” This is it’s own mini season that happens during our Late Summer, but also occurs between each of the other 4 seasons which gives us a pattern that looks like this:
These transition phases begin about 10 days before each equinox and solstice and continue for about 10 days after them, so we have a three week period of adjustment between the seasons. These “Doyo” times can be a bit chaotic both in the natural world and in our bodies – according to TCM they contain all the elements at the same time. We often see weather extremes during these transitions – intense rain from a thunderstorm, or a brief unseasonably hot spell as examples.
It is interesting that here in the U.S. we have the Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, which many people see as the beginning of summer even though the solstice isn’t for another 3 weeks or so. Often schools end their year in these weeks and the lives of students, from elementary school to college, go through some upheaval along with their families. This can be cause for celebration, but also create a sense of confusion or loss. A similar pattern appears when schools start up again in the Fall, often a few weeks before the Autumnal equinox, which is another Doyo time.
Even in our modern world, often very disconnected from Nature and her cycles, these timeless patterns seem to continue. If we are aware of them then we have the chance to create a harmonious rather than conflicted relationship with these changes. This can have a beneficial impact on our physical, emotional and even spiritual well being.
If you signed up for my free class on June 8th and couldn’t join me live to talk about Getting Ready for Summer the video recording of the entire class is now available for you to view.
If you didn’t get an email with a link to the recording then please email me at [email protected]