In the cycle of the Five Phases or Elements, the Earth Phase is the energy of Late Summer; it represents support, holding, nurturing, nourishment and abundance. It gives us the ability to nurture ourselves and others. With appropriate diet and lifestyle adjustments, we can cultivate a healthy Earth element, a strong gut and optimal immunity.
Here we look at ways you can find balance during the Earth Element
Mental & Emotional Health
Do people regard you are caring, compassionate and giving? A healthy Earth Element grants us the ability to nourish and care for ourselves and others. When our Earth Element is balanced, we are dependable and loyal, caring, compassionate and giving. However, when Earth is out of balance, we can be prone to confusion, worry, over-thinking and giving so much to others we wear ourselves out. You may be unable to focus or remember things.
Everyday expressions often heard from a person who’s Earth Element is in need of some attention are:
“I just can’t stomach it” … “The ground was pulled out from under me” … “I have to care for everyone else but nobody takes care of me” … “I’m always hungry, nothing fills me up” …
One way that we can nourish our Earth Element is develop a mindfulness practice, or activities that keep us grounded, they will help us focus on being present and calm the mind.
Do you make healthy choices that serve you and nourish you physically, emotionally and intellectually?
In our bodies, Earth is represented by the Stomach and Spleen. The Stomach’s job is to take in whatever we give it from the outside, mix it up and transform it into something that can be sent out to nourish various parts of the body and mind as needed. And the distribution work of the Spleen is critical to maintaining harmony of body, mind, and spirit.
If the Earth Element is out of balance, we may be prone to digestive disorders - poor appetite, bloating, weight gain and loose stools. The Earth element relates to issues of ‘dampness’ (humidity, heaviness, phlegm) which shows in the body as physical fatigue, mental fatigue, heavy lower body, sinus issues, and swelling.
One way we can nourish the Earth Element is by getting outside and engaging with the earth, take time to feel the ground beneath our feet, walking is a perfect form of exercise – it's energising and a great way to clear your thoughts.
Food & Diet
The Earth Element thrives on a nourishing diet. Be kind to your digestive system and follow the saying “Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper”.
Eat most of your food during the day when your digestive system is most efficient. Don’t over-eat, chew your food well, don’t snack or nibble between meals (your digestive system benefits from a rest), and avoid raw and cold foods (including drinks) especially if you are having digestive upset.
Say Yes To Sweet. Sweet flavors, in small amounts, favor the Spleen and Stomach (sadly, we are not talking about ice cream). Sweet foods that strengthen the Earth element include whole grains like millet, rice, and root vegetables, such as yams, sweet potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the sweet fruits and vegetables that are in season and available in the late summer harvest.
Don’t Skip Breakfast. According to the Chinese Medicine clock, the Stomach has optimal digestive capacity between 7-9am. A good breakfast strengthens the Stomach and Spleen Qi for the day.
The color of the Earth is Yellow. Eating foods that are yellow and orange are especially supportive for Spleen health. Examples include squash, sweet potato, yams, corn, papaya, and carrots.
Ways to tend to your inner Earth
Tending the Earth Element is a cornerstone of all physical, mental and emotional healing. If the Earth Element is imbalanced or weak, every part of our being will suffer for lack of proper nourishment.
- Eat a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, that provides all the nutrients we need for physical and mental health.
- Avoid information overload by maintaining a healthy “mental diet” and limiting exposure to media and advertising.
- Find your centre – do yoga, Qi Gong, mindful breathing
- Sing like no-ones listening ! The sound of the Earth element is ‘singing’, so go for it in the shower !!
- Exercise outdoors and spend time in natural green space. Touch the Earth to support the Earth Element within.
- Shiatsu! Touch brings us in to experience of the present moment and releases ‘feel good’ hormones
Shiatsu should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used alongside medical treatment.