Summer-time health tips backed by Traditional Chinese Medicine

Living in accordance with the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine means adapting your lifestyle and eating habits to reflect the season. During the summer months, particularly in Australia where temperatures can soar and the sun is strong, seasonally-specific practices can help the body and mind stay in alignment, minimising ill health and allowing you to get the most out of the season.


Fire: the element of summer 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a theory called the 5 phases which includes wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Unsurprisingly, the season of summer is ruled by the fire element, due to its association with heat. Fire is linked to the maximum expression of yang, representing a time of growth, joy, outgoingness, and spiritual awareness. Physically, fire is also associated with the heart and small intestine, while emotionally it is associated with the stability and strength of the mind, our memories, thought processes, and consciousness. This is because the heart is considered the seat of the mind. The summer months, when the element of fire dominates, is the perfect time to strive for outward progression while also focusing on heightening our spiritual awareness and harnessing a sense of joy in our lives. A healthy summer season will mean a strong heart, deep stability of the mind, and a satisfying sense of spiritual connectedness. 


Summer health problems

The predominance of heat and the fire element during the summer months can be a source of strength and growth, but if the body and mind are out of balance, it can also lead to some summer-specific health problems. You may notice an increase in these issues during the warmer months:

  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Excess perspiration
  • Anxiety, agitation or irritability
  • Heartburn
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Mood disorders including depression or mania
  • Speech issues such as stuttering, rapid speech, or excessive talking


Lifestyle tips for summer

Altering your daily rhythms and habits to reflect the season can help you maintain balance and health during the summer months.  Some simple tips to stay in alignment this summer include:

  • Wake up earlier and go to bed later 
  • Take a rest or a nap after lunch and escape the midday heat
  • Stay hydrated and take the opportunity to immerse yourself in cool water frequently through baths, showers, and swimming
  • Dedicate time to creative projects
  • Avoid stressful or anger-inducing situations and prioritise finding calm in your everyday life
  • Try to create space for child-like play and nourish your inner sense of fun


Nutrition tips for summer

During summer, your diet should focus on increasing hydration and preventing indigestion. This means you should be eating plenty of light, cool foods and avoiding heavy, rich, or fatty foods. This will help to prevent overheating and to bolster your fluid levels to prevent the common health issues of summertime.


Foods to include

Summer is the season to enjoy refreshing fruits like watermelons, pineapples, oranges, pears, kiwis, and lemons, as well as light salads incorporating foods like cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, bamboo, watercress, seaweed, spinach, snow peas, and asparagus.  Fish and seafood are also considered cooling, as well as yoghurt, grains, and mung beans.


Foods to avoid

Warming foods, including red meat, oily dishes, spicy foods, or meals using large amounts of onion, garlic, ginger, or pepper, should be avoided or minimised in the summer. It’s also important to be aware that very cold foods (such as ice cream) should be avoided during summer as they can cause the digestive system to slow down, creating indigestion problems.



Of course, drinking plenty of chilled water is always a good idea in summer. You can further enhance the cooling properties of your water by adding slices of lemon or cucumber. In terms of hot beverages and teas, mint, chamomile, lemon balm, hibiscus, chrysanthemum, green and white tea are all considered cooling, regardless of the temperature at which they are consumed. Coffee is considered very warming and should be avoided during summer. 


Eating habits

Remember that the body becomes prone to indigestion during the summer months, so avoid overeating and allow plenty of time between meals. Getting up earlier and going to bed later should help you to space your meals out more across the day.  


Learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SITCM) has a thirty-nine-year history of providing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) education and continues to contribute significantly to the development of traditional Chinese medicine education in Australia. With courses designed and taught by industry experts with years of hands-on experience, we offer students the best start in their career in Chinese Medicine. To learn more about our courses, or to make a general inquiry, contact us today.


Is a career in Chinese medicine good?

There’s no doubt that Traditional Chinese Medicine is a fascinating field, and one that is becoming increasingly popular in the Western world. Depending on what you study, a qualification in TCM can lead you down a wide variety of career paths including:

  • Herbalist
  • Massage therapist
  • General health consultant (like a GP of Chinese Medicine, offering advice on diet, nutrition, stress relief, and treatment of illness and disease)
  • Acupuncturist
  • Researcher


While a career in Chinese medicine is likely to evolve and change over your lifetime, there are a number of key benefits that will likely remain the same. Read on to discover some of the top six reasons people love working in the field of Chinese medicine. 


Work face-to-face with people

Whether you’re working as a herbalist, a general health practitioner, an acupuncturist, or a massage therapist, you will be working hands-on with your clients every day. If you love making connections with people and are easily bored sitting behind a computer screen for 8 hours a day, Chinese medicine could be a great career for you. Chinese medical practitioners are generally more hands-on than typical Western doctors, often inspecting the patient’s tongue, eyes, and colouring as well as deeply observing the patient using sound, touch, and smell in order to detect any possible disharmony in the patient’s qi. Due to the holistic nature of Chinese medicine, practitioners often make deeper connections with their patients, working to fully understand what may be causing ill health or disease, rather than relying solely on external tests. 


Help others

Of course, choosing a career in Chinese medicine means you will be working to improve people’s health every single day. This can be an incredibly rewarding career, particularly as many people come to Chinese medical practitioners after having exhausted all the options offered by Western medicine without seeing any improvement in their condition. Helping people improve or cure chronic health conditions that have been causing them suffering for a number of years is one of the most gratifying experiences a practitioner can have, and something TCM practitioners often get to enjoy. 


Improve your own health

TCM practitioners have a wealth of knowledge about how to lead a balanced and healthy life and this can be implemented to improve your own health. Whether it be using your knowledge of nutrition to improve your own chronic health conditions or creating herbal medicines to treat the seasonal flu, there’s no doubt you will live a healthier, more balanced life when you’re working as a fully qualified TCM practitioner. 


Lifelong learning and professional development

The field of Chinese medicine is over 2,000 years old and almost infinite in its complexity. What’s more, the field is still evolving rapidly, with new discoveries constantly being made. As you grow and evolve as a practitioner, you will continue to hone your skills and refine your knowledge and understanding of TCM. You’ll also continue to read new research and studies to stay abreast of advancements in the field. Working in Chinese medicine is a great option for anyone who always wants to improve themselves and learn more, as the scope for learning is endless.  


Employment in a growing field

Alternative medicine and specifically TCM is a rapidly growing industry in Australia. More and more people are turning to Chinese medicine as they begin to see the benefits and efficacy of the approach, while also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western medical approach. By choosing a career in TCM, you’re entering an industry that is on the rise, with demand for TCM services increasing year by year, offering great job security. 


Option to be self-employed

Many students of TCM dream of one day opening their own clinic, and this is a definite possibility for a fully qualified practitioner. Owning your own clinic or being self-employed allows you the ultimate professional flexibility. You can choose your own hours, dictate your own work environment, and set up shop wherever you’d like to live. 


A career in Chinese medicine is rewarding, engaging, and secure, offering you the opportunity to work hands-on with patients to improve their health every day. If you’re considering a career in Chinese medicine, the Sydney Institute of Chinese Medicine can get you where you want to go. Our Bachelor of TCM is fully accredited by the CMBA in all 3 divisions (Acupuncture, Herbal Dispensing & Herbal Medicine) and our courses are practical, allowing students to get hands-on experience at our thriving clinic in Sydney’s Chinatown. Learn more about our courses today. 

How to Integrate Chinese Medicine Into Your Everyday Life

Integrate Chinese Medicine Into Your Everyday Life

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  is a holistic approach to health based on the understanding that the mind, body, and spirit are all connected and that illness and disease arise when there is some kind of energetic imbalance in one or more of these areas. While TCM practitioners are highly trained to use specific healing techniques such as Acupuncture, Cupping, Chinese Herbs, and Moxibustion, you can also integrate practices based on TCM into your everyday life to improve your overall health. Here are some simple ideas to get started. 



Like all aspects of TCM, a healthy diet is based on the idea of balance. But unlike the Western concept of a balanced diet, a TCM balanced diet includes consideration of the flavours in the food, the temperature, and speed at which it is eaten, and the mental and emotional experience of eating. According to TCM, your diet should be made up mainly of:

  • Cooked vegetables – Aim for plenty of variety and lots of leafy greens. Raw vegetables are generally to be avoided.
  • Gluten-free starches – Rice, millet, or quinoa should be eaten in moderation with meals
  • Protein – This can take the form of animal products or beans.
  • Healing foods – Incorporate healing foods such as ginger, seaweed, bone marrow/broth, organ meats, mushrooms, ginseng, and goji berries into your diet. If you have a particular ailment, there are specific healing foods you should incorporate to treat that issue. For example, if you have a cold, you should eat ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon or if you’re suffering from vomiting, add orange peel to stews or tea.
  • Warm liquids like tea – Avoid drinking until around an hour after your meal.
  • Avoid dairy, cold, raw food, processed foods, and sugar. 


A TCM diet also takes the seasons into account. For example, winter meals should be warm, slow-cooked foods like stews, whereas summer meals should be cooler and faster to cook, like stir-fries. 


Finally, the environment in which you eat your meals is also important in TCM. When you sit down to eat, you should choose a quiet, peaceful place where you can focus on eating. Eat slowly and chew your food properly, and avoid arguing while you eat, eating on the go, or taking your meals in front of the TV.



While acupuncture requires extensive training to perform safely, acupressure is an effective needle-free tool that you can use at home to boost your health and treat mild ailments. According to TCM, your qi, or vital life force, flows through the meridians in your body. When this energy becomes trapped or stagnant, problems can occur. Acupressure involves applying pressure at specific points on your meridians to help improve the circulation of your qi. When performed correctly, acupressure can help relieve stress, headaches, and pain, improve sleep, regulate digestion, and relax your muscles and joints. 



Movement is an essential part of health, but unlike Western Medicine which often prescribes specific exercises and intense workouts, healthy movement in TCM can be whatever feels good for your mind and body. Make sure you move your body every day, preferably outdoors where you can get some fresh air and spend time in nature. If it’s not possible to exercise outdoors, open the windows wide so you can enjoy the breeze while you move. Tai Chi is a special form of movement used in TCM to energise and rebalance your body’s qi. Integrating an outdoor Tai Chi session into your daily or weekly routine can make great improvements to your overall health and well-being. 



In TCM it is understood that your thoughts and feelings can have a significant impact on your physical and spiritual health. Negative emotions and thoughts can deplete our bodies, increase inflammation and weaken our immune systems, making us more susceptible to both short and long-term illnesses. One of the most beneficial daily practices you can incorporate into your life is a short meditation. While meditation and mindfulness are becoming increasingly trendy in Western medicine and popular culture, this practice has been part of TCM for thousands of years. 


Rhythms and rituals

TCM understands that the human mind, body, and spirit thrive off rhythm and rituals. Having a set rhythm to your day can help your body know what to expect, making the day flow more smoothly, while rituals can help restore peace and balance to the brain and promote mindfulness. Rituals don’t have to be complicated to be effective; they can be as simple as preparing a pot of tea to drink in your garden each morning or taking a calming foot bath each evening before bed.


TCM is based on an understanding that good health is all about balance. Changing your daily habits to align with TCM principles can help to maintain your long-term health and prevent illness from occurring.  If you’re interested in learning more about TCM, why not check out the Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine? Contact us today to learn more about our Diploma or Bachelor level courses in TCM, or to make an appointment at our teaching clinic. 

Why Chinese Medicine Simply Works?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient practice that has been used to treat illness for over 2,000 years. Unlike Western medicine, which views the human body as a machine with different parts that can be treated individually, Chinese Medicine takes a totally holistic approach. According to Chinese medicine, the mind, body, and spirit all impact one another, contributing to overall well-being or illness and disease. What’s more, individuals are seen as part of the wider universe and the natural world, rather than discrete entities living in isolation from the world around them. 


The key focus of Chinese Medicine is the vital life force called Qi which runs through the body.  Qi is made up of the opposite and complementary forces of the Ying and Yang. Good health is a result of a balanced Qi, whereas imbalances can lead to ill health or disease. Chinese Medicine practices work to restore the balance through targeted treatments such as acupuncture, herbs, tai chi, moxibustion, hot cupping and more.


Many people find that the “human body as a machine” approach of Western medicine fails to treat their conditions because it treats an illness in isolation, without taking into account the broader context of the individual’s mind, body, spirit, and the wider environment. Chinese Medicine is backed by the ancient wisdom of thousands of years of traditional practice and is often able to resolve complex or chronic health issues that do not respond to Western medicine. 


Here are some of the key reasons why Chinese Medicine works so effectively.


Chinese medicine treats the issue holistically

While most Western treatments will focus exclusively on the area where symptoms are showing (e.g. the eye), Chinese medicine aims to treat the overall systematic issue underlying these symptoms, based on the understanding that no part of the body functions in isolation. This may involve integrating multiple types of treatment aimed at restoring balance to different systems within the mind, body, and spirit. 


Chinese medicine creates long-lasting effects 

While many Western medicines can work instantly but have short-term benefits only, Chinese medicines may take longer to work but they work on a deeper, more holistic level which results in long-term improvements. For example, while Western medicine for a cold may instantly suppress cold symptoms without helping to resolve the virus, Chinese medicine works to strengthen the overall immune system, helping reduce the duration of the cold.

Chinese medicine treats the root cause of illness

While many Western medicines are designed to treat the symptoms of illness, Chinese medicine aims to treat the root cause. This means it not only works more effectively, but it can also help to prevent the reoccurrence of the issue, leading to better long-term health.


Chinese medicine is tailored to individual needs

A Chinese Medicine practitioner will assess an individual’s symptoms and unique attributes in order to create a personalised formula for them. This means two patients presenting with the same illness will be provided with two different treatments, personalised to their unique needs. Usually, the formula will also be further refined based on an individual’s response to the treatment. This individualised approach means that the treatment is more effective and less likely to produce any negative side effects. 


Chinese Medicine is recognised as an extremely effective way to treat a wide range of illnesses and diseases of the body, mind, and spirit. It works so well because of its holistic approach which is backed by thousands of years of use. Chinese Medicine aims to treat the root cause of illnesses, taking a personalised and holistic approach to produce long-lasting effects without negative side effects.

Interested in becoming a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine? The Sydney Institute of Chinese Medicine offers a Bachelor of TCM that is fully accredited by the CMBA in all 3 divisions (Acupuncture, Herbal Dispensing and Herbal Medicine). Get in touch to find out more or book an appointment at our teaching clinic where we offer various Chinese medicine treatments.


Chinese Medicine: The Common Misconceptions

Complementary medicines such as Chinese Medicine have been growing in popularity in recent years, but a few misconceptions remain. At the Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have over 35 years of experience in providing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) education and continue to contribute significantly to the development of traditional Chinese medicine education in Australia. As a leading institute in the industry, we have decided to address a few common myths about Chinese medicine.


Misconception #1: Chinese Medicine is Unregulated

Traditional Chinese medicine in Australia is regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency through the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. Practitioners must complete education requirements, pass the VIVA exam, register and complete regular training requirements.

Those who are looking to become licensed practitioners have the option to study TCM in Sydney at SITCM through one of our available degrees.


Misconception #2: Acupuncture Is Not as Effective as Prescription Medicine

This depends: acupuncture can be highly effective at managing certain kinds of illness, particularly those relating to chronic pain. It has the added benefit of not involving any chemical substances.

Misconception #3: Acupuncture is Painful

Just because it involves needles, does not mean that the process is painful. The insertion of acupuncture needles is typically accompanied by a mild tingling or numbing sensation.


Misconception #4: Chinese Medicine is Exotic

Some people associate traditional Chinese medicine with exotic foreign ingredients for herbal dispensing. However, herbal ingredients are regulated by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration and many are commonly found in kitchens, including ginger, cinnamon, orange peel and ginseng. Moreover, herbs form just one component of Chinese medicine, which focuses on the body and energy from a holistic approach. Treatments include acupuncture, herbal medicines, massage, lifestyle changes, exercise, and diet.


Misconception #5: There is No Research Supporting Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine has been developed and refined over thousands of years of practice and remains popular today. The 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to a Chinese medicine researcher for finding a treatment for malaria using traditional herbs. Modern research shows that acupuncture is beneficial in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting as well as postoperative dental pain among many other issues such as tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, asthma, and addiction.


Misconception #6: Chinese Medicine is Expensive

Traditional Chinese medicine treatments are not expensive relative to other medical treatments. All major private health insurers in Australia cover Acupuncture and some also cover herbal medicine treatments.

At SITCM, our teaching clinic offers many affordable Chinese medicine treatments. The combined price of a consultation and treatment is typically only $15 dollars; patients can book online today!

What Are the Benefits of Chinese Cupping?


There is a famous Chinese saying: “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half the ills cured.” The wealth of knowledge within traditional Chinese medicine has been valued in China for millennia and has recently gained global popularity with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Michael Phelps drawing attention to its benefits.

Cupping is an especially pleasant experience and has been documented in many books that go back to 300 AD. There are even records that are three thousand years old which recommended cupping for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, based on the belief that illnesses can be sucked out of the body.

Cupping is one of the many therapies that is taught at SITCM as part of the different courses and degrees offered. It is also one of the treatments offered at our teaching clinic in Sydney due to the benefits for the human body.


What Is Chinese Cupping? What Does it Do for You?

Cupping refers to the technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices that are placed on the skin to relieve stagnation and congestion by drawing congested blood or energy to the surface.


There are two techniques for cupping: dry and wet. In dry cupping, the therapist will simply place the suction cups on the skin, while in wet cupping, the practitioner will make a small incision on the skin and then apply the suction cup to draw out small amounts of blood.


There is more than one way to induce suction in the cups, such as swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Another way is to place an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it.

There is a technique called “gliding cupping” which refers to cupping where the cups are gently moved across the skin – which could include the application of massage oils to facilitate the process.


In a way, cupping is the opposite technique of massage: massage involves applying downward pressure to muscles where cupping uses gentle pressure to pull them upward.


What Are the Side Effects of Cupping?

Cupping triggers a release of toxins that creates marks on the skin. These marks disappear within 10 days of treatment.

Rare side effects of cupping include mild discomfort, skin infection, or burns. However, a trained Chinese Medicine practitioner will know exactly what steps to follow to minimise the chances of these side effects.


What is Cupping Used For?

Pain could be a result of stagnation or congestion, so if we remove these we can eliminate or relieve the pain by restoring the body’s natural flow of energy.

Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. It can also clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma. Cupping can also be beneficial for the digestive system as it could improve metabolism and relieve constipation.

If you would like to schedule a Chinese cupping session, book an appointment at our clinic today.