Late summer is a welcome relief from the intense heat and brightness of summer. With the coming of late summer, nature returns the fruits it has made, which are ripe and ready to be picked. It means autumn and winter can be survived without scarcity, and that energy can be conserved during the cold period when outer growth ceases.
Within the five elements, this season reflects as the Earth. In our bodies, the Earth is represented by the stomach and spleen, the organs that receive food and enable us to be nourished by its essence. As the process of digestion begins in the mouth, food should be chewed thoroughly and mixed with saliva, the bodily secretion of the Earth Element. Icy cold foods and drink should generally be avoided, as extreme cold strains our Fire Element (whose job it is to maintain a normal body temperature).
The other earth official, the spleen, according to Chinese Medicine, is the official of transport. As such, it takes what the stomach has prepared and moves it on to nourish the cells in the body. A healthy spleen not only nourishes us at the physical level, but also makes sure the nourishment reaches our minds and spirits.
We can see that if the Earth Element is out of balance, we may be prone to digestive disorders – as well as illness in any other organ or function of the body, for all are dependent on the stomach and spleen for nourishment.
In summary, the period of late summer is a time for slowing down and gathering in. To look at Chinese Medical Theory, we consider the patients internal and external condition, in order to balance the individual, harmonious balance equals good health.