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How to Ground Your Earth

Learn how you can ground your earth element through the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine.



In traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, the Earth element is one of the foundational concepts within the Five Element Theory. It represents stability, nourishment, and grounding energy. Like the fertile soil that supports and nurtures life, Earth is the motherly element that grounds us in harmony and interconnectedness.


Its season is recognized in the Northern Hemisphere as late summer and arrives with a warm embrace that lingers between seasons. It's as if the sun has woven a golden thread through the air, carrying a soft, earthy scent reminiscent of the subtle sweetness of harvest.


This tranquil pause acts as a prelude to the vibrant tapestry of autumn, a moment where the earth seems to hold its breath before the grand transition of seasons unfolds.

The Earth element is associated with the organs of the Spleen (Yin) and Stomach (Yang), which are responsible for digestion and the alchemizing of food into nourishment. The Spleen converts consumed food into energy and channels Nourishing Qi {Ying Qi} throughout the body. Ying Qi’s function is to nourish Zang-Fu organs and the body as a whole. In the realm of Chinese medicine, this is the very essence of Qi that is awakened when an acupuncture needle delicately finds its place within an acupuncture point. The Spleen plays a vital role in generating the body's essential Qi and Blood, which are crucial for maintaining health.



According to Chinese Medicine, each organ houses a spirit that mirrors a facet of our psyche.

The Wu Shen (Five Spirits) of TCM symbolize the Yin organ systems within the body. The Spleen's spirit, known as the Yi {Intellect}, governs our mental capacities like cognition, concentration, and memory. Anxiety finds its counterpart in the Spleen, affecting the Yi. Overthinking and worry can erode Spleen Qi, giving rise to symptoms like fatigue and digestive distress. [1]


Just like the nurturing essence of Pachamama towards the growth of all living things, the element of the Stomach is akin to Earth, as it also fosters life. The Qi of the Stomach provides the essential "nourishment" that empowers each organ to fulfill its duties. Keep in mind the Stomach assumes the role of not only processing food and beverages but also of processing your emotions and thoughts— the stomach gives you the ability to digest life.

Remember to incorporate cooked, warm meals into your diet during the late summer season to provide sustenance for your Stomach and Spleen. Infusing your dishes with aromatic spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom brings warmth and clears dampness. Embrace the natural sweetness of foods that complement the Earth element by opting for whole grains, rice, yams, cabbage, onions, corn, sweet potatoes, papaya, astragalus, pumpkin, carrots, and oranges. The Earth element’s color is golden yellow, so prioritize foods that embody these vivid shades and offer nourishment to both your spleen and stomach.



Following the Chinese Medicine Organ Body Clock, the hours between 7-11 a.m. align with the Spleen and Stomach's prime operating phases. Don’t skip breakfast and craft a nourishing meal that provides substantial warming support for the Stomach and Spleen Qi. It is best to omit items that are categorized as cold foods in TCM, like raw vegetables, iced drinks, and frozen and refrigerated foods. Instead, consider favoring foods and beverages that are either warm or at room temperature. Congee, porridge, or oatmeal is a great breakfast vessel for warming ingredients. And if you find yourself unable to stomach food during that time of day, consider drinking bone broth before your cup of joe!


People with a balanced Earth element tend to be stable, nurturing, empathetic, and well-grounded, embodying qualities of harmony and interconnectedness.


When the Earth element is out of balance, individuals might experience digestive issues, excessive worry, exhibit less sympathy, or an inability to adapt to change.


 


How to Heal Your Earth Element


Dampness is predominant in late summer but can also be encountered in other seasons. Dampness moves slowly because it is heavy. It inhibits the flow and activity of Qi. It often brings on the symptoms of obesity/difficulty in losing weight, tendency to suffer from inflammation, loose stool or constipation, or excessive secretion of mucus.[2]


In Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, and herbal formulas can be used to clear dampness, open the meridians, and eliminate stasis. Acupuncture can help us eliminate the dampness in the body by helping promote circulation as well as supporting the body’s digestion center (spleen and stomach). Fire Cupping mobilizes blood flow and propels Qi. This brings balance to yin and yang organs, relieves fatigue, and enhances the body’s function.


Herbal formulas provided by your Acupuncturist can also assist in clearing dampness from the body, as they are formulated specifically for your body’s needs. Book a consultation to learn more about how dampness may be showing up in your body and what treatments can aid symptoms.



 

Movement Practices


Restorative Practice - Qigong


Qigong (pronounced chee-gong), a traditional Chinese practice blending physical movement, breathing techniques, and meditation, serves to balance and cultivate the body's vital energy or Qi. Engaging in Qigong can bring notable benefits to the health of the spleen and stomach, including improved digestion, Qi flow, balanced emotions, and enhanced blood circulation. This ancient practice combines gentle movements, controlled breathing, and focused meditation to promote overall well-being.


For a Qigong practice to nourish Earth, click here: Qigong Practice Video

Courtesy of Mimi Kuo-Deemer



Grounding Practice - Walking Meditation


From Peace In Every Step Written by Thich Nhat Hanh [3]


You can take a step and touch the earth in such a way that you establish yourself in the present moment; you will arrive in the here and the now. You don't need to make any effort at all. Your foot touches the earth mindfully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly, you are free–free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, and you are touching the earth.


When we practice walking meditation, we arrive at each moment. When we enter the present moment deeply, our regrets and sorrows disappear, and we discover life with all its wonders. Breathing in, we say to ourselves, “I have arrived.” Breathing out, we say, “I am home.” When we do this, we overcome dispersion and dwell peacefully in the present moment, which is the only moment for us to be alive.


Walking meditation can be very enjoyable. We walk slowly, alone or with friends, if possible, in some beautiful place. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking—walking not in order to arrive, but just to walk. The purpose is to be aware of our breathing and walking in the present moment, enjoying each step. Therefore, we have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. If we can take one step like this, we can take two, three, four, and five. When we can take one step peacefully and happily, we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for humankind.


When we do walking meditation outside, we walk a little slower than our normal pace, and we coordinate our breathing with our steps. For example, we may take three steps with each in-breath and three steps with each out-breath. So we can say, “In, in, in. Out, out, out.” “In” is to help us to identify the in-breath. The lengths of your in-breath and out-breath do not have to be the same. For example, you can take three steps with each inhalation and four with each exhalation.


If you feel happy, peaceful, and joyful while you are walking, you are practicing correctly.


Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth and share the lesson of love. We walk in that spirit. From time to time, when we see something beautiful, we may want to stop and look at it—a tree, a flower, some children playing. As we look, we continue to follow our breathing, lest we lose the beautiful flower and get caught up in our thoughts. When we want to resume walking, we just start again. Each step we take will create a cool breeze, refreshing our body and mind. Every step makes a flower bloom under our feet. We can do it only if we do not think of the future or the past, if we know that life can only be found in the present moment.


Warmly, Komorebi Center for Healing

Written by: Natasha Gaye




 

Resources:


[1] Chong, J. (2023). The Five Shen: Because Sometimes One Soul Just Isn’t Enough. Retrieved from https://dantianhealth.com.au/five-shen/#:~:text=The%20Wu%20(Five)%20Shen%20of,)%20and%20Po%20(Lungs).


[2] Five Seasons TCM. (2021, January 23). What is “Dampness?” 了解“湿气.” Retrieved from https://fiveseasonstcm.com/blogs/traditional-chinese-medicine-101/what-is-dampness.


[3] Hanh, T. N. (1992). Peace Is Every Step. Bantam.





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