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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida


Jul 01, 2020 03:17PM ● By Pamela Purser

Denis Moskvinov |

With the pandemic sparking global discussions on natural ways to boost immunity, I’d like to discuss how Traditional Chinese Medicine views the subject. TCM approaches immune boosting in relation to the surrounding environment and the current season, with summertime being distinctly different than the other three seasons. 

Summer is the time of year when we’re most energetic, and here in the Gulf region, where summer can be a mixture of hot humidity and a surprise thunderstorm, the weather really takes its toll. One minute we’re sweating, and the next we’re seeking shelter from the rain. 

According to TCM, sweat is the fluid of the heart. Excessive sweating can weaken the mind, causing symptoms like depression, restlessness, sleeplessness and irritability. (It’s not surprising for road rage to throw a middle finger during summertime.) A weakened mind weakens our immune system. 

The physiological changes caused by our summer weather, like excessive sweating, are thought to damage the heart’s qi and impair lung function. Impaired lung function can be seen in heat signs such as high fever, thirst, scanty urine and anger. Thus it directly affects our immune system. The Gulf’s hot, rainy summers also cause fluid and electrolyte imbalances in the body, leading to lethargy, weakness, fever, thirst, lack of appetite and possibly loose bowels. 

Immune-Boosting Foods

To boost immunity in these tough conditions, TCM recommends eating more vegetables and fruit to stimulate the appetite and provide adequate fluids. Food with pungent but not bitter flavors can enhance lung function and support the body’s normal sweating mechanism in summer. 

Watermelon is an excellent fruit for summer. It’s listed as an herb in Materia Medica. It helps relieve summer heat, generate fluids and promote urination. Moderate consumption is the key.

Be mindful of consuming too many greasy, raw or frozen foods, as they can damage the digestive system and lead to poor appetite, diarrhea or upset stomach. I highly recommend warm, cooked foods to help a weak digestive system work more effectively.

Milkos |

  Acupressure for Immunity

Here are my favorite three acupressure points for boosting immunity in summer:

1) Pericardium 8, also known as Labor Palace. It’s located at the center of the palm, between the second and third metacarpal bones, closer to the third metacarpal bone. It’s where your middle finger touches when you make a fist. This is my go-to acupressure point when I’m feeling angry or irritable or have a sudden heart palpitation.

2) Large Intestine 11, also known as Pool at the Crook. To find it, bend your elbow so your upper arm is parallel with the floor and your forearm is perpendicular to it (a 90-degree angle). Feel for the large hollow on the outside of your elbow, right where the crease ends. This point is very powerful for clearing heat in many ways—such as lowering body temperature, easing constipation or relieving a toothache.

3) Urinary Bladder 40, also known as Supporting Middle. It’s located in the middle of the back of the knee, between tendons in the thigh muscles known as biceps femoris and semitendinosus. I love this point for easing fever and lower-back spasms in hot, humid weather.

Have a great time navigating summer 2020 with these tips!

Pamela Purser, an acupuncture physician and licensed acupuncturist, is clinical director and co-owner of Navarre Acupuncture and Wellness, located at 7287 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, Fl. For more information, visit

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