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Joy & Harmony Through Balance

7th September 2021

By Ottilia Unrath

In Japanese Zen-Shiatsu and TCM we work with the five elements, observing nature and the aspects of our own life. Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water are in connection with the seasons and help us diagnose where is imbalance in our physical-, mental and spiritual nature.


Today I would like to explore the Element Earth more in depth, because it is related to late summer.​

  • The colors associated with this element are yellow, orange, brown, gold, khaki. Take a look in your wardrobe. Do you have any of these colors? How do you feel about these colors? Do you love them? Do you avoid them?

  • Weather connected to it is heat, wet and humid. Can you tolerate this kind of weather?

  • The direction is center. Do you feel centered and grounded?

  • The flavor is sweet. Do you like sweets? Do you avoid the taste sweet in your food?

  • The emotions go with the element Earth are compassion and worry. What are your thoughts on these emotions? Do you worry too much? Are you compassionate?

  • The organ related to it is the mouth.

  • The meridians are Stomach (Yang) and Spleen (Yin).


The element Earth is about nourishment and assimilation.

In how many ways do you take care of yourself?

How do you nourish yourself?

How is your digestion?

I know, it is a huge topic. It is not my aim to discuss eating disorders and changing eating habits. But when you look around and notice, what is available now in your region, where can you get organic and local products and / or seek advice of a good nutritionist, I am sure you are on the right track.

How is your memory? Do you tend to over-think? Maybe you have to study all day and there is a lack of a healthy dose of sport activity? These are just a few aspects, what can bring your Earth element out of balance.


How to move the Chi (Ki), your life force energy in the body? Ground yourself with tai chi or chi gong exercises in nature. Maybe a long walk with a friend in the forest? Stand up for a few minutes every hour from your desk, move around, squat and extend your legs. Massage and tap down your legs or balance on tennis balls on the soles of your barefeet underneath the desk. Stretch your arms up and breath deeply into your belly. Rub your palms together and place your palms over your open eyes and gaze a few seconds into these calming, dark energy cups.


Try your best not to worry. My dear teacher, Sharon Gannon said, "when you can, change it, when not, just lovingly accept it. Let it be in God's hand."


A bright and joyful song came to my mind "Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. Singing and dancing are truly magical tools on the path of joy.


If you are interested, there is a fabulous book on Chinese Medicine by Ted Kaptchuk, in which the theory of the law of the five elements is mentioned and dated back to the Zou Yen Dynasty (350 -270 b.C) in China.

I recommend you two amazing books by my highly respected teacher, Pamela Ferguson, called The Self-Shiatsu Handbook and Take FIVE - the five elements, a guide to health and harmony.


Nourish yourself with homemade fresh, organic food. Establish a regular meditation practice. Start with small steps. Pada pada, means one step at a time.

Book a shiatsu treatment with me, when you are in Potsdam and Berlin.

Stay safe and well-nourished!

 - Ottilia Unrath

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