In ancient times, Chinese thinkers developed what is now known as the classic 5-element theory. It was then noticed that human physiology could be categorized into five different ‘types’.
For regular folk, in order to make it easier to understand; these five categories were named after five different elements. That way, element metaphors could be used to explain how each element (body and mind type) behaves… and how it can be treated.
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that every element is related to a season, a color, a flavor, an emotion, and a couple of organs in the body.
Keep on reading to learn more about how the earth element influences your life. By doing so, you may identify possible physical/emotional imbalances and learn how to promote health and wellness.
People with a dominant Earth element tend to have round and/or strong complexions. When in balance, Earth individuals can be very supportive, patient, thoughtful, responsible, good-tempered, caring and compassionate (this sounds just like Mother Earth, right?).
The Earth element represents nourishment. An example of this would be soil that is used to grow our crops. The Earth element promotes energy to grow, to flourish and to harvest.
Earth is commonly associated with the Late-Summer season – the period of transition between the Summer’s end and Autumn’s beginning.
In the late Summer, people who identify with the Earth element should pay close attention to their lifestyle habits, personal relationships, and physical activities in order to stabilize and harvest the Earth’s energy and avoid disease.
Every element is related to two different organs in our body – a Yin organ and a Yang organ. Since the Earth element represents nourishment, its Yin organ is the Spleen and its Yang organ is the Stomach.
Example: we nourish the Stomach with the food and drinks we consume. The Spleen nourishes the body with the energy produced from the contents of the Stomach.
This means that digestive problems are often a result of an imbalance of the Earth element. Therefore, to harmonize this element in our body, we must get to know the functions of the Stomach and Spleen.
The Stomach and Spleen are responsible for getting the nutrients out of food and making them useable in the body. The Stomach receives food and water, the Spleen transforms them into nutrients and transports them to the other organs.
If the functions of these organs are impaired, proper absorption of nutrients will not take place and, in many cases, there will be eating disorders, abdominal problems, loose stools, weak limbs, and tiredness.
The Spleen is also the body’s blood source. For that reason, symptoms of anemia, like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, pale skin, depression, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, and poor menstruation can be linked to cases of shortage of Spleen energy.
Stomach aches, poor appetite, belching, vomiting, nausea, and hiccup are often due to an obstruction of the pathway between the Stomach and the Small Intestine.
With that said, balancing-out the Earth element can help people swift smoothly across all stages and seasons of life, with a healthier digestive system, hence a strong immunity, more energy, and better sleep.
The Spleen and Stomach do not like cold nor raw foods.
Do you enjoy a cold drink after an intense workout, or on a hot Summer’s day? How about ice cream while strolling in the park? Dear reader, be careful. Although these simple actions appear to be harmless… cold refreshments will only damage your Stomach and Spleen functions for people who identify with the Earth element.
In the Summer, and especially in the Late Summer season, people with dominant Earth elements must restrain from these habits and choose to drink temper or even slightly warm water instead and avoid any food which is usually eaten cold (ice pops, smoothies, ice cream, iced tea, cold beer… you name it!).
The Earth element is related to the color yellow. In late Summer, it is wise to incorporate more yellow-toned foods into our diet in order to consciously cultivate, tonify, and harvest the Spleen and Stomach energies.
Think in lots of pumpkin, corn, apricot, dates, lentils, brown rice, turnip, oats, carrot, sweet potato, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, to name a few. These foods provide tons of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which are highly beneficial to the Earth-related organs.
Remember, no raw foods, no cold foods and eat more yellow foods – especially in the later parts of Summer.
When it comes to emotions, the Earth element is associated with sympathy. When in balance, an individual can empathize with other people’s problems and feelings and help them wherever possible.
Sympathy is usually seen as a positive emotion, but when it gets excessive, it can turn into worry, anxiety, brooding thoughts or difficulty thinking straight.
People with an unbalanced Earth element often have a very active mind with restless thoughts. They can experience mild to severe concentration and memory issues, foggy-headed feelings, difficulty concentrating or thinking straight. Earth is responsible for digesting thoughts and information as well as food!
You may experience imbalance as an inability to take responsibility for yourself and your life experiences. You may lack self-control and blame and criticize others for your problems.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
A balanced earth element supports your personal freedom and autonomy to direct your spirit to realize your highest potential. You are a creator of your reality and manifest easily all that you desire into the physical world.
In balance you trust yourself and take full responsibility for your life. You feel a strong sense of self-worth and positive self-value.
Aside from the dietary recommendations mentioned above, there are other activities you can practice to even out your Earth element.
Meditation – learning how to meditate is a great way to wear off excessive mental work. It is very well known among the scientific community now that 5 to 10 minutes of mindfulness and/or breath awareness meditation can help to reduce everyday stress, enhance concentration, boost immunity and reinforce sleep .
You can also try energetic physical therapies like Tai Chi, Yoga or Qi Gong. These body exercises mainly focus on breath, body movement control and awareness, they help practitioners focus and channel their energy and thoughts in a positive way. The movements in these practices are designed to remove blockages along the body meridians.
Outdoor activities like gardening, walking barefoot and climbing mountains can also be beneficial to connect with our sense of Earth.
If you scored highest with the Earth element, and your ailments are severe; be sure to apply acupressure to these points daily in the morning (between 7:00-10:00 AM), and three times a week if your disease is mild to moderate:
Chinese Name: Zhong Wan
English Translation: Middle Cavity
CV12 is in the center of the body and has a positive effect on the digestive organs.
Location: On the midline, 4 thumb widths above the belly button.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Actions: fortifies the spleen and disinhibits damp; harmonizes the stomach.
Symptoms: Abdominal distention; vomiting; diarrhea; dysenteric disease; untransformed digestate; stomach pain; gastric reflux and acid regurgitation.
Secondary Symptoms: Stomach rumbling; difficult defecation; yellow or dark-colored urine; loss of taste; cholera; cardiac pain; generalized swelling; yellowed skin; endogenous damage to the spleen and stomach; abdominal pain;
Chinese Name: Zusanli
English Translation: Leg Three Miles
ST36 is one of the best points for building energy and blood.
Location: 3 thumb widths below the lower border of the knee cap and one middle finger breadth outwards from the bony ridge of the shin, where the bone begins to flare.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Actions: Rectifies the spleen and stomach; regulates central Qi; harmonizes the intestines and disperses stagnation; frees and regulates Qi and blood of the channels; dispels pathogens and prevents disease.
Symptoms: Stomach pain; indigestion; vomiting; diarrhea; constipation; dysentery; dizziness; epilepsy; Water swelling; aching knee and tibia; abdominal distention; rumbling stomach.
Secondary Symptoms: Abdominal pain; cholera; difficult ingestion; eye disease; fever; bed wetting; rumbling intestines; heaviness in the head and pain in the forehead at the outset of heat disease; fever; lower abdominal swelling and pain; dryness of the mouth; inhibited urination; swelling of the feet.
Chinese Name: Chongyang
English Translation: Rushing Yang
ST42 and SP3 are the ‘source’ points of the earth meridians and have a balancing effect on the Stomach and Spleen.
Location: On the line between ST 41 and ST 43, in the depression between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones, 1.5 thumb widths away from ST 41, at the highest point of the top of the foot.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Actions: Supports Earth and transforms damp; harmonizes the stomach and stabilizes the spirit.
Symptoms: Atony of the lower extremities; redness and swelling of the top of the foot; dryness of the mouth.
Secondary Symptoms: Swelling of the head and face; abdominal swelling; mania and withdrawal; malarial disease; abdominal distention with no desire to eat; aching among the upper teeth; pain in the forehead.
Chinese Name: Taibai
English Translation: Supreme White
ST42 and SP3 are the ‘source’ points of the earth meridians and have a balancing effect on the Stomach and Spleen.
Location: On the inner side of the foot, in a depression slightly below the head of the 1st metatarsal bone, at the junction of the light and dark skin.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Actions: Supports spleen-earth; regulates Qi; helps movement and transformation; harmonizes the central burner.
Symptoms: Stomach pain; generalized heaviness; vomiting and diarrhea; abdominal distention; constipation; dysentery.
Secondary Symptoms: Inability to assume a reclining posture; distention in the chest; pain in the stomach and cardiac region; retching and vomiting; evacuative difficulty; diarrhea with blood in the stool; hemorrhoids; untransformed digestate; rumbling intestines and stabbing pain; lumbar pain.
These four acupressure points will help you to harmonize and fortify your digestive system, nourish all your organs and keep your mind calmer and worry-less.
Use your personalized points to enhance other acupressure routines – If for instance; you were using acupressure to boost your immune system or relieve a headache, be sure to also apply your four Earth element points as well.
Take your acupressure to the next level using essential oils that support the Earth element.
When you rub an element-supporting essential oil into an element-supporting acupressure point; balance is achieved quicker and lasts longer.
Essential oils for Stomach, Spleen:
Lemon, Grapefruit, Lavender, Frankincense, Patchouli, Geranium, Myrrh, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Fennel, Vetiver, Coriander, dill, roman chamomile, kewda
Out of the list of Water supporting essential oils, you can mix a few to make your own blend, or choose one or several depending on their availability or your own scent preference.
Homeostatic Intelligence – essential oils carry the life force/life blood of the plant.
The purpose of this ‘life blood’ is to keep the plant alive and healthy. This divine intelligence also empowers the body to heal better and faster.
Essential oils need to be diluted before applying to the skin as they are just too concentrated to use on their own. Mix your essential oils with something natural like cold pressed coconut oil or olive oil before you use them.
It is also important which essential oil a person is drawn-to… which aroma they find pleasing. The body knows what is best, as long as people go with their natural instinct and don’t bring the mind into it!
PLEASE NOTE: There are many cheap, synthetic copies of aromatic oils, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results purchase the highest quality oils you can possibly find. Use certified organic essential oils, or oils that have been tested and are pesticide free.