Chinese medicine is very seasonally focused. It is believed that to stay at our energetic best it is important to align mind body & spirit with what is happening in nature so we can recharge and maintain good health throughout the year
Late Summer - Earth Element
Late Summer is a distinct season within the Traditional Chinese Medicine calendar. It is a time of harvest and abundance, as well as time to store and ready supplies to last the winter ahead. Although officially now autumn, there is still a sense that our settled weather patterns are supporting us to stay outside and make the most of warm days. This settled solid warm space personifies the earth element.
Many cultures have festivals and celebrations to mark 'the harvest', to thank mother earth for providing, as well as encouraging feelings of appreciation & reward for efforts made during the year.
Western culture can find it difficult to acknowledge a sense of 'harvest' especially if the goal posts keep moving. We often focus on 'destination' rather than the journey, meaning we never 'see' the fruits of our labour.
Being able to see and appreciate that there is abundance everywhere, knowing that you are enough, have enough, and deserve to receive and be rewarded for just being you, are central to building and maintaining this element within.
Physically Earth element is connected to 'mother' & 'nourishment'. In order to thrive as adults we have to take good care of ourselves. Things such as a place to call home, regular food, and routines to fit work, rest, exercise, playfulness & hugs need to be maintained. When these basics of life are disrupted or routines are effected we start to feel out of sorts, energy lessens, and belief that earth is a happy place can to go astray.
One of the main presentations of earth element lack in clinic are digestive issues such as sluggishness, bloating, irritable bowels, reflux or leaky gut scenarios all leading to issues of fatigue.
Emotionally with a lack of earth energies, people can become disconnected, discontented and feel and sense of ongoing lack. Some lack ability to take care of themselves and act like a needy child, others get trapped in obsessional thought that takes them away from the natural rhythms and routines of their everyday life. Longer term these types of patterns ultimately lead to concentration issues, fatigue and more neurotic behavior.
If you have any of these issues a good place to start is a focus on routines. Use the rhythm of daily tasks to create momentum again. This includes a focus on regular meals (no skipping), regular sleep times and time for gentle rhythmical activities such as walking, dancing or swimming. Earth energy builds when we reach out to others, share family and/or community spirit and altruistically spend more time 'giving'. Earth element strongly responds to daily gratitude. There is always something to appreciate.
Late summer/Autumn is abundant with fresh food, and your diet should reflect this, with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Think vegetable or pumpkin soups, warm salads, nuts and seasonal stone fruits. If you are having digestive issues make sure you cook your food. Cooked foods can help release nutrients for easier absorption. Another idea is to look at cutting back gluten, dairy and meat for a bit to give digestive tract linings a rest. These are often irritants if there is any underlying inflammation. On colder days start to get the crock pot out to build warmth in your stomach ready for the winter ahead.
If you are worried about your health or feel you need a little more to get your earth energy flowing again, come and see me at Garden City Health for a seasonal adjustment treatment. Appointments Phone: 03 356 2436
Look out for me as a speaker at the up coming Mind Body Spirit festival (12th March 2017), where I will be discussing more on the 5 elements through the seasons.
I am also putting together a weekend wellness course to share Traditional Chinese Medicine principles of wellness in more depth. This course, will bring holistically minded people together for a fun weekend of education and connection. It is ideal for those feed up with struggle and looking to find a new ways to find better flow and improve over all wellness and vitality. See my website for dates.
For Practitioners I have up coming cupping and acupuncture related courses. Next one is Intro to Cupping - Christchurch 5th May 2017
For more information on any of these topics see: www.acu-specialist.co.nz
Best wishes for a plentiful harvest.