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Culture Insider: Customs of Sanfu - the dog days of summer

Updated: 2022-08-02 14:03 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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China now has entered Zhongfu, the second phase of Sanfu. In the Chinese lunar calendar, Sanfu refers to the three 10-day periods that are predicted to be the hottest days of the year, which are called Toufu, Zhongfu and Mofu.

Sanfu usually comes between mid-July to mid-August. Let's take a look at the traditional Chinese ways of spending the dog days of summer.

A citizen receives Sanfutie in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, July 17, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Receiving the Sanfutie

Sanfutie, or Sanfu medicinal patch, is a bandage made of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believe that receiving Sanfutie during the hottest summer days is effective for coughs, asthma and arthritis; it is a patchwork solution for winter ills in summer.

The treatment is based on the TCM principle of yin and yang, which believes the balance of both elements in the body is vital for good health. Sanfutie contains a paste of herbs that are "hot" in nature, and when applied to specific acupuncture points, usually on the back and neck, they replenish the yang elements.

These patches have been used in TCM since earliest recorded times, according to Huangdi Neijing (The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), more than 2,000 years ago, the time-tested textbook for TCM practitioners. Sanfu patch treatment became extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and has enjoyed a revival in recent years as more patients turn to TCM treatment.

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