Summer is characterized by heat, energy, and growth. People of this body type generally feel warmer than most and have difficulty sitting still. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, these body types are considered to have excess heat or a deficiency of yin.
Most Summer types exhibit some form of sleep disturbance, such as night sweats, restlessness, insomnia, or profuse dreaming. They typically feel hot and thirsty, and their palms and soles are warm. A rosy complexion, dry skin, acne, and skin rashes are also common. Summer types often have chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. They are exuberant and boisterous, but can be quick to anger. They often exhibit inappropriate social behavior or laughter.
"Summertime is always the best of what might be."
– Charles Bowden
Summer body types should focus on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to soothe their overworked systems and keep their bodies light. Seasonal produce like cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelon are the perfect antidotes to the excess heat that marks these types. Cooling and refreshing salads are preferable over heavy dishes. Seafood, legumes, and tofu are ideal proteins since they tend to be lower in fat and have a more cooling thermal nature than meats. A vegetarian and low-salt diet is especially helpful in cases of hypertension.
Raw foods typically provide the most cooling effect, though they should be eaten sparingly if there are signs of weakened digestion. Dairy foods can help to nourish yin, but should be minimized by individuals who have symptoms of excess phlegm, sinus congestion, arthritis, or edema.
Cooling and refreshing foods
Lots of fruits and vegetables
Steaming, simmering, or boiling methods of cooking
Some raw foods, if tolerable for digestion
Fried and fatty foods
Stimulants (e.g. coffee and alcohol)
For Summer body types, the inability to relax or settle down is similar to a never-setting sun. In order to be free of their heat-related symptoms, these types need to embrace the softer, quieter, and slower ways of winter. This means balancing an excess yang with a cool and calm yin. Regular meditation practice can help these body types to find peace within and learn to be comfortable with silence. Progressive relaxation exercises are also beneficial since they train the mind to quiet and control the body.
Summer types tend to express every thought that comes to mind; they may also become easily agitated or blow up at the slightest provocation. To balance their fiery tendencies, these body types should consider pausing before speaking and focusing on their breathing. Summer types can learn to rein in their flagrant, unrestrained yang and preserve their yin by keeping to their own personal space and developing more patience and self-control.
Ideal forms of exercise for Summer types include yoga and other meditative practices like tai chi or qi gong. These slow-paced activities can provide balance to the high-speed careen through life common among Summer body types. Lap swimming cools an overheated body and its repetition can soothe an overactive mind. No matter what kind of activity Summer types choose, they should focus on nurturing yin and making their physical movements as smooth and fluid as possible. Instead of relying on brute strength or energetic intensity to achieve a physical result, these body types benefit from emphasizing breathing, control, and proper technique.
Because Summer body types tend to push themselves to the extremes, one of the most important principles for them is to ensure that they allow adequate time for rest and recovery. Relaxation is essential for these body types to balance the strung-out energy that motivates them to excessive activity.