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The Earth Element

Updated: May 5, 2022

Earth | Transition of Seasons | Stomach + Spleen | Satisfaction, Gratitude; Worry, Obsession Nutrition, The Golden Month (pregnancy & postpartum) and Family Planning

The Five Elements is an ancient and universal approach in Chinese culture. It is used in many teachings, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Feng Shui and martial arts. We are born into our constitutional element(s) all while transitioning through elemental phases throughout our lives. Because the elements are not static, we all embody each element within ourselves as well. It is our lifestyle choices that help harness the gifts of these traits, but know, it can also challenge us just the same. Each element has its own focus. Collectively, the elements achieve balance through a supportive and dynamic relationship with one another. Thus, connecting and balancing an individual’s mind, body and spirit. The Earth element has a special part in the elemental cycle. Its focus is seen in-between the seasons - the transitional phases. Therefore, it comes up more than once throughout the year. The Earth element’s organ systems are the Stomach and Spleen, which correlates to the transformation and distribution of Gu Qi (food Qi) throughout the body to maintain good health. And what better way to support our bodies through the seasons than through food. TCM nutrition utilizes energetics of food to keep the body balanced and operates from a place of “food as medicine”. Similar to the idea of eating with the seasons means eating what is being grown and harvested within each season. We are also working with food energetics and properties. For example warming foods such as cinnamon and ginger to warm the body up in the colder months, and cucumbers and watermelon to cool the body down through the Summer heat. Although simple theories, they must be utilized correctly. The Earth element, much like Mother Earth, is about nourishing and caring for our environments. In the elemental life cycle, Earth is a time of nurturing and transitioning, much like pregnancy and postpartum periods. TCM can support pregnancy in many beautiful ways. Whether it is fertility support, pregnancy symptoms and side effects, labour preparation and right up to the postpartum phases for the birthing individual and for baby. The first 30 days postpartum is known as The Golden Month in Chinese culture. This is a sacred time of healing and rebuilding to ensure a healthy recovery from labour and delivery to continue caring for oneself and providing for a growing baby and family. A lot of this care comes from food and herbal medicine support. Much like pregnancy and postpartum phases, there is a beginning and an end. Just the way the Earth element supports the transitions through the seasons. The idea of our Stomach being our second brain has always been an important factor in traditional healthcare. How our body reacts to mental processing - be it stress induced or from simply being a student studying all the time. This directly affects how your digestive system operates. This is a great example of how our body and organs work together. Much like the Mind processes information, the digestive system also processes - breaks down - nutrients and minerals to further support and feed the rest of the body. When the Stomach and Spleen are overworked, this can lead to sluggishness, damp accumulation in the body and brain fog to name a few. These are signs of the organs not optimally operating. The emotions associated with Earth are satisfaction and gratitude; out of balance that can look like worry and obsession. Since the Stomach is your second brain, overthinking with worry and obsession can consume the Mind, Body and then the Spirit. When we worry and obsess over things, we are on a very narrow track without enough room to notice the surroundings. And that’s when the imbalance affects our functioning and support is needed to reconfigure ourselves and our elemental functioning.

​Unbalanced Earth

Balanced Earth

Weak digestion - poor appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, loose stools

Feels good after eating; good muscle tone, good appetite

Easily worries, obsesses; feelings of not being enough

Able to clearly state needs, set boundaries with satisfaction in life to nurture self and others

Symptoms worsen at times of transition, between seasons, or in damp and humid climates

Likes order and moderation; maintains routine to get needs met

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