According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Late Summer season is a sweet spot of balance and also a highly transitional time of year. It is the turning point from the rising Yang energy of the Summer to the descending Yin energy of the Fall and Winter. This time of year is associated with the Earth Element and closely linked with digestion of food and experiences. During this time of year, it can be helpful to focus on activities that allow you to feel grounded and nurtured.
Digestion is one of the key functions of the Earth Element, making this element intrinsically tied to the ability to nourish and nurture oneself. The Earth Element is made up of the Spleen and Stomach Organ System. The Stomach’s main function is to “‘rot and ripen food and fluids,” preparing it for “transformation and transportation” by the Spleen. Both of these processes allow for energy from food to be converted into energy (Qi) in the body. General tiredness and weakness are the most commonly treated symptoms in TCM and are often due to deficiency in either of these organ systems.
To support the digestive process, start with focusing on what you are eating. Foods that are warm and cooked are more easily processed by the Spleen and Stomach. Chew your food. The more you chew your food the more easily it can continue to be broken down by your digestive system and converted into energy (Qi). Turn off the TV and computer while you are eating. Focus your intention on the process of eating. Taste your food and be aware of how certain foods make you feel. Allow yourself to feel full and content after eating. Rest and allow yourself to assimilate the act of eating before moving to the next activity.
In addition to the digestion of food, the Spleen and Stomach are also strongly linked to the digestion of experiences. Taking time to assimilate and digest experiences can help you to feel more grounded. Take time to process the day in a way that works best for you. This could include journaling, creating art, walking or meditation. Focus on establishing or reestablishing routines. You could do this by focusing on waking and going to bed at the same time each day, engaging in physical activity in a way that supports you in feeling strong and stable, and taking time to be in nature. These are just a few ways that you can support the Earth Element during this time of year.
Interested in learning more about the very important Earth Element and how it is reflected in your body and the world around you? Follow this link for information about a one hour workshop this Saturday afternoon, September 16th, 2017. The workshop will include more in-depth information about the functions of the Earth Element, it’s associations (colors, emotions, sounds, areas of the body, etc), and ways to promote feelings of being grounded and nurtured. The workshop will also include acupressure points and an easy self-abdominal massage routine to aid with digestion that you can use at home.
Amy Daws is a trained Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, and Chi Nei Tsang therapist. She is interested in the way that these modalities can bring healing and joy to people's lives.