The Five Climates and Health

The Five Climates and Health

As we often discuss, the five phases of energy are present in nature and in the human body. The five phases of energy are found in seasonal climates. Change is ever-present as the ebb and flow of hot and cold, damp and dry, and winds blow to bring in new energy and send out the old. The body’s ability to adapt to the change in weather will determine its overall health or illness.

The five season climates affect the internal organs in specific ways, according to Taoist Medicine / Classical Chinese Medicine. Dry and cold air injures the kidneys. Think of the kidneys as the water element and you can picture the cold freezing them and wind disrupting the stillness of water. Hard wind and cold wind damage the liver. Liver energy is like the wood element and in nature and a strong wind can blow over a weak tree without deep roots.

Heat can injure the heart. The heart’s energy is already like fire energy, wanting to spread out in all directions. The harsh heat of summer can wear down an already hot heart and it’s best to rest in the hottest part of the day and year. It is said humidity injures the spleen. Think of the heavy air at the end of summer, in the dog days of summer, when we have “the air you can wear,” heavy and thick. As early autumn transitions to late autumn, cold and dry energy can injure the lungs. They like to be warm and moist to share oxygen with the blood.

Lastly, it is important to know that injuries of one season can show up the following season. My old acupuncturist used to have a big influx of patients in the spring. He attributed this to the attacks on the immune system during winter would rise to the surface with the rising energy of spring (picture seedlings pushing through the soil to reach toward the spring sunrise.) Watch out for: recurrence of winter illness in spring, winds of spring upsetting digestion in summer, the heat of summer causing fever in fall, and humid autumn to cause a cough in winter.

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