Monday, January 14, 2013

The Five Elements: Earth

This is the third in a five part series of posts on the elements of acupuncture and shiatsu.

What do you think when someone is described as 'earthy' or down-to-earth? You might imagine someone who is nurturing, or maybe someone who has a good head on their shoulders, and is stable and practical. That is exactly what the element of Earth symbolizes: nurturing that 'Mother Earth' gives to everything and everyone on it, the stability of the land we walk on (aside from earthquakes), and the center of all the other elements.

Earth is the only element that is both yin and yang, the feminine and masculine energies together. Earth types tend to be very dutiful, dependable, and cautious in everything they do. They are also sensuous, using all five of their senses to experience their surroundings and take in what earth has to give them. The personality traits attributed to Earth types are compassion, empathy, caring, nurturing, patience, thoughtfulness, and steadfastness. Of course with the positive there will be negatives, and those negative traits include anxiety, jealousy, stubbornness, and excess.

This element rules the spleen (yin), stomach (yang), large muscles, mouth and lips, eyelids, lymphatic fluids, and saliva.The spleen extracts water from food and distributes it throughout the body. A healthy spleen ensures good digestion, strong muscles, good circulation, good memory and reasoning. The stomach controls the rate of food ingestion. When there is physical dysfunction, earth types tend to suffer from indigestion, poor metabolism, hiccups, nausea, and excessive bleeding.

Of course there ways for an earth type to get balance back emotionally and physically. If you're feeling stressed from worrying too much, try actually digging into dirt by way of gardening or simply taking a walk through a woody park. Avoid dieting excessively - eating healthily is not the same thing as a diet. Also, try not to eat too much because that slows down the rate at which your body processes the foods you eat, and can cause a number indigestion symptoms. Eat slowly, drink water in between bites, and really do a mental check with your stomach on when it is that you feel full.    

If you're interested in finding out your elemental type you can take a test at Five Elements Test or The Chinese Elements, and find out what you need to bring balance back to.

Sources: [Complementary Therapists, Wikipedia, and Constitutional Assessment]

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