Summer and the Element of Fire Kathleen MacGregor L.Ac.

Chinese Medicine’s Five Element system describes the flow of Qi, (or life force), through time, all living things and our bodies. It gives us a framework for understanding where the flow of Qi may be blocked or out of balance causing pain, illness and emotional and lifestyle challenges. The Elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water represent phases in the movement of Qi. Each phase has its related characteristics such as seasons, colors, sounds, emotions and powers.

Summer Solstice has just passed; the longest time of light of the year. This is the season of the element of Fire. Summer follows spring on the cycle of creation, or building up, of Qi. The spirit of Wood with its hope and vision for the future leads us into the spirit of Fire which is being fully present in the moment. We can relax and enjoy the fruition of our planning, the sun is at its height, nature is in full bloom and the community comes out to play.

Love and joy are the ways the Fire element expresses itself within us, our inner sun. Love fires our spirit and enables us to connect with other people and to all of life, to join in community and friendship. It gives us the joy and enthusiasm to involve ourselves fully in whatever we do. Whether it is washing the dishes, walking the dog or going to work we can have fun.

Our inner sun creates heat that we need to survive. The main characteristics of Qi are warmth and movement. The warmth of Qi provided by Fire keeps our blood flowing, speeds up our digestion and assimilation and fuels all the millions of biochemical transformations needed to support the mind and body.

An imbalance in the energy of Fire can be seen in symptoms of excess or deficiency. When the inner Fire burns too low a persons heart may be too protected, they may be unable to reach out and connect with others. A person may seem defensive and cool, unable to find the joy in life, feeling flat and empty even in circumstances that normally would create happiness. Parts of the body may be too cool and the metabolism slows down.

When there is too much Fire its like having the heater blasting in summer. Everything dries out. A person may feel too hot and look red. Inflammation and eruptions of heat may be seen in the skin and tissues. People can be too open all the time, unable to set appropriate boundaries. Desperate to connect they may seem attention seeking and too intense.

Speech and the tongue are controlled by the Fire element. Fire in balance engenders communication, understanding and the spark of clear thinking and intelligence. When Fire is excess a persons voice speeds up and they seem loud and overly excited. Their speech may be garbled and their thinking confused. When Fire is deficient a person may seem closed and uncommunicative. Speech is slow and ideas are difficult to express. The voice seems flat even when talking about happy events.

The organ and energetic system of Fire is the heart. The Nei Jing, the main text of Chinese Medicine, refers to the heart as the Supreme Controller. It rules and organizes all the energy systems and functions and must be properly nurtured and protected. The Nei Jing says, “when the spirit is strong then the suffering is minute”. When the inner sun burns bright we are able to grow and be inspired, feel loved and connected even in illness and hard times.

The first acupuncture point on the heart meridian is called Utmost Source. It is used when a person fells isolated and alone, can’t love self or others. It rekindles the connection with the inner spirit of Fire. Another acupuncture point on the Heart Protector meridian is called Palace of Weariness. Palaces are places of richness that provide nourishment for the weary heart and gives the strength to go on.

The power and gift that the element of Fire provides on our life journey is its ability to illuminate the depth and to reveal the nature of the inner truth that serves as a foundation for insight and correct action in life. The love and joy that Fire creates connects us with others, allows us to open our hearts and give and receive in equal measure.

Kathleen MacGregor is a Five Element acupuncturist with an office in Meiners Oaks. 805-646-6581,


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