It’s late summer, and it’s hot. Really hot. And humid. Really humid.
So no one said that paradise doesn’t come with a downside. In Miami, it’s called July and August. It’s slow, lethargic, and the heat is suffocating. Avoiding a heatstroke is a daily mission. Afternoon rainstorms bring humidity, mosquitoes, and a sweltering sticky fever.
I found reference dating back to the 1500s for “dog days” as the 20 days prior to and 20 days after the “dog star” Sirius conjoined with the sun in the Mediterranean sky.
And this year has gone rabid with Covid19 to contend with as well. Read the quote at the end of this post to see what summers were like in the 1500s.
Praying this too shall pass.
Summer vacation isn’t what it used to be. If you are lucky and live in a coastal area, maybe you got to the beach. And I hope you did since options are slim and it’s too hot to think about anything but lounging around. Late summer and it is San Fu time – a 30 day period of intense heat. Don’t worry – we plan to chill.
San means number 3 and Fu means obscured. On the Chinese calender this 30 day period translates as “the three hidings”. During this time, 3 particular periods (called Fu days) each 10 days long are predicted to be the hottest days for the northern hemisphere.
This is important for healing because traditionally moxibustion treatments were given on the day after the summer solstice and on the first of the 3 Fu days during the hottest part of the day (around noon) to prevent disease in the winter.
2020 San Fu days are July 16th -August 24th
Fu days for treating the immune system are on July 26th, August 5th, and August 15th.
I got your Yang here
This is a very special time of the year when our bodies feel hot, activating our Yang. And these yang meridians in order to cool us off, rise closer to the surface of the skin. It is also during this time that we are most vulnerable to damp cold. Think of walking into a very cold but humid room that has the A/C blasting while you walk in all sweaty and hot from walking outside.
The yang channels that are cooling you off by sweating will become cold when they hit the AC, possibly pulling in cold dampness deep into the body as the channels submerge again.
Tips for staying healthy in the Fu days
- Avoid places where the A/C is blasting and cold.
- Don’t take a cold shower.
- Don’t eat cold food or use ice in your water.
- Protect the back of your neck. I know this sounds crazy in the sweltering heat. Like, all you want is a cold drink and A/C. I actually wear a scarf around my neck during the San Fu to protect the meeting point of the yang channels at base of the neck where that bone sticks out (C7 vertebrae for the anatomy nerds)
- Tan your back! Sunbathe facedown for 20 minutes in the morning sun, preferably before 11am so you don’t burn. Coldness actually concentrates on the back of the legs.
- Use warm tea and room temperature drinks to cool down and hydrate – it is possible!
It is super important to protect your yang during this time because allowing the cold to penetrate and go deep into the body can lead to more severe cold/flu season in winter, lower back & joint pain, PMS, even digestive problems.
Get some TLC
Come in to see us for some gua sha or Moxa. This will feel amazing and help boost your immune system for the rest of the year. This is also a great time to treat asthma.
Food for Fu Days
Eat for the season. Adzuki beans, mung beans and black soy beans (see my post on natto) help to clear the heavy feeling you may get in the hottest days of summer.
Avoid cold foods, like ice cream – ok so sorry for that comment, it’s almost sacrilegious to not have ice cream in summer. You could make a chia pudding or a sweet rice porridge instead. Oatmeal and millet is also very good for your digestive system in summertime especially.
My good friend and sister in all things healing, Polly DeAngulo has created these simple tai chi videos. They will improve your life in every way.
Follow Polly here
Banish your dog days with acupuncture
“the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”
Clavis Calendaria, 1813