Why get Acupuncture in Portland in the Summer?

Why get Acupuncture in Portland in the summer? Two reasons:

What is there about summer that gives us unique health challenges? It is such a wonderful time of the year. I was pondering why get acupuncture in Portland in the summer?   I was thinking about all the things that we do that are different because it’s summer.   We wait for the summer to get here so that we can have more time outside.   What do we do outside?   Ride bikes, hike, golf, swim, lie in the sun, go to the beach, have BBQ’s or cook-outs, spend time in our garden, or attending to our lawn/landscaping, to name just a few things.   Then I singled out two things that I noticed about summer and how acupuncture deals with them.

The first thing I happened to notice was a statistic about child birth rates.   Aug and Sept, depending on the year, are the months that consistently have more child births.  If that’s the case, then those children have NOT been conceived during the summer months, which led me to wonder, if libido, or sex drive goes down in the summer.    What might contribute to that?

Is there a reason for that or is it just that it’s hot and sweating profusely is not all that sexy. Interestingly, some studies show that sexual activity actually increases in the summer.  From a physiological perspective, libido is theoretically higher in the summer.  There is some science behind that.  Sunlight has been shown to have an association with serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in the ability to experience pleasure. As our serotonin levels increase, we are more apt to feel more sexual energy.

“Sunlight gives people energy,” Match’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. Helen Fisher, said in a press release. “This is because the pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin in the dark of winter. This can make people feel more sluggish and sleepy.  However, as the light increases in the spring and then summer, the pineal gland reduces its production of melatonin. The drop in melatonin levels we experience from being in the sunlight increases our libido, because apparently, melatonin can block sex hormones.    The other factor could be that increasing light can make us feel sunnier and have more energy and optimism.   All of which can help in increasing our sexuality.”

This phenomenon may only be true up to a certain level of heat.   In another study done, the researchers found that, for every day that the temperature went above 90 degrees,  there were 0.4% fewer births nine months later. This study was for the years between 1931 and 2010.  The result of one of these excessively hot days was that about 1,165 fewer babies were born across the United States.

The second interesting fun fact that has more impact than one would think is, the effect of eating more fruit in the summer. And why wouldn’t we eat more fruit; especially the local fruit that is picked ripe and is so delicious?  Why would that matter?  Because fruit is often eaten cold, and it’s sweet.  Both of these characteristics are harsh on our spleen.

Spleen?   Who cares about a spleen when we are discussing the food we eat?   That’s a bit of the way that Western medicine treats the spleen.  Who knows what a spleen specialist is called?   Do you know anyone that has ever gone to a spleen specialist?  I jest a bit there.   In western medicine, the spleen is considered part of the immune system.  It produces white blood cells and removes old red blood cells.

However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spleen is incredibly important. It’s paired with the stomach and is one of the main organs of the digestion process.   Not only do they process and digest food, they process everything that comes into our body through our sensory organs.

In today’s world, where there is soooooo much stimulation, all the time, we overload our spleens, and thus become spleen deficient. What can we do to support our spleen?

  1. Don’t drink cold/ice water and don’t eat a lot of cold raw foods.   Our spleen does not like cold. The reason being is that food is broken down via digestion, and that is powered by heat. Eating and drinking icy cold foods makes the spleen work harder.
  2. Eat warm foods. Soups are especially good. They are easy to digest, which is why eating soup when you are sick feels so good. Your body needs as much energy as it can get to heal when you are sick. Thus the less energy needed to digest food, the more you have for healing.
  3. Don’t multi-task when you eat.   Be relaxed and rather than taking in a lot of stimulation, i.e. watching tv, checking emails, playing games on our phones, all things that we have to “digest and process.”  Thus it gives our spleen a break when all we are doing is eating, in a relaxed manner.

So why get acupuncture in Portland in the summer? Increase that love connection and keep your digestion strong!!!!

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