The summer says goodbye and the days are getting shorter again. Perhaps you also feel a little melancholy in the air in the last few days. Dark and cold again, somehow nobody wants that in the northern hemisphere. But there are still a few beautiful weeks ahead of us before winter pauses, where we can marvel at the autumn colors of yellow, brown, gold and orange and celebrate the abundance in the form of harvest festivals.
The Five Element - theory offers us an insight into imbalances of the meridians.
Each element is related not only to a meridian pair and associated organs and functional systems, but also to many different factors, such as colors, tastes, smells, moods, allergies and different images.
In late summer, the Element Earth is in the foreground with colors ranging from brown to gold, from yellow to orange. In Shiatsu, the Spleen (Yin) and Stomach (Yang) meridians are associated with the Earth Element. Earth harmonizes all other elements, it is nurturing, caring and calming. But it also stands both for a transition, gather and store for the winter, as well as for development and for something new.
The colors yellow, orange, brown, khaki, gold are characteristic for the Element Earth.
Humidity, heat and sultry weather draw the way for the energy flowing towards the center. Your center, your belly ("hara" in Japanese), this is exactly the place where the spleen around the navel has its energy center.
The sense organ is the mouth and the sense is taste. Do you like to eat? What does it mean for you to nourish and feed yourself?
TCM adds the emotions of compassion and concern to the Earth element.
Earth Element includes nutrition and digestion, nursing, reproduction, menstrual cycle, mood swings. The Stomach Meridian regulates not only the stomach, but also the esophagus, the function of the uterus , breasts and lactation.
The Spleen Meridian regulates not only the function of the Spleen and Pancreas and the digestive juices, but also the ovaries. This meridian runs through the upper outer quadrant of the breasts where tumors most often occur, so it plays an important role in the function of the mammary glands.
The spleen energy circuit controls memory and thinking. Too little physical exercise and too much learning, studying or mental work at a desk throw this meridian out of balance.
Let go of the compulsion to go jogging or to the gym every day, even if you are tired, exhausted or have a little cold. Letting go can be liberating. Competitively practicing yoga or ambitiously stepping up in a sport seems beneficial after a long day at the desk. Listen to your body! The Spleen-Pancreas meridian controls obsessions, fixed ideas, or when someone has a "spleen" or "fad". Are you someone who is over limiting and often uses the phrase "it's like this" a lot? If so, slowly and kindly detach from your fixed ideas! Learn new mindful movement styles, change your environment, make new friends at Tai-Chi or Qigong class.
Mindfulness can also be developed through yoga and long walks in nature. Slow and body-focused exercises will help you develop deep awareness. Exercise, no matter what, as long as you enjoy it and stick to it regularly, reduces inflammatory factors that are the main causes of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Mindful exercise enhances our ability to regulate our emotions.
In traditional Chinese medicine, there is a saying "Yi Dao qi Dao," which means energy flows where intention goes. In mindfulness training, the first thing you are taught is to build a compassionate relationship with your movement practice. In yoga, tai chi, qigong, not only are the postures, concentration and breathing rhythm important, but also how we can become more aware of our mental and emotional habits at the moment they arise.
Slow down, become aware, see things simply and clearly, practice "lightness" and unravel what seems unnecessarily complicated in your life.
Daily gratitude pauses help you to step out of a difficult situation.
Slow down and notice where the problems are. If you start to get angry or upset, most of the time the situation will get worse. Move carefully out of anger, don't put yourself under more pressure unnecessarily. Things are usually simpler than they seem. When we untangle our thoughts, we return to the breath and body sensations.
Give yourself a break and wash your hands under running water, count your breath, 1-2-3-4 inhale and 1-2-3-4 exhale. Concentrate only on your hands, on the sensations, how does the soap smell, how warm is the water, how does it feel on the surface of your hands?
This little exercise is very helpful for panic attacks, for overreacting and for confusion.
A healthy Earth Element provides stability. You feel a strong connection to your center. Maybe you hear your "inner voice" and pay attention to your intuition also in everyday life. The power rests in you and you are balanced. You are well nourished, not overweight and you love food, but you are not addicted to it (chips, fast-food, sweets, coffee... etc.). My Shiatsu teacher, Edit Storch described the balanced energy of the Earth element to us like this: "Stable, strong and good-natured, has taste and compassion. He is comfortable in his skin and can feel at home anywhere on Earth."
When the element is out of balance, it can lead to massive eating disorders. Instead of well-fed, bulimia and anorexia can destroy a person's strong center. Earth means compassion, but here harbors the danger of overprotectiveness and oppressiveness, obsessive behavior patterns, and being overanxious.
Harmoniously extracting chi (energy) from food nourishes the kidneys and enables the whole body to act powerfully. Take the time to cook, even if it's the night before and then you take something in a lunch box the next day. Organic regional produce will provide you with the most important vitamins, trace elements and minerals.
"The healthy energy of spleen ensures that the organs in the body stay in place and do not sink down." - Wilfried Rappenecker explains in his book Five Elements and Twelve Meridians. The condition of Spleen is particularly evident in the mouth and lips. According to TCM, if the organ is healthy, the mouth, oral mucosa, gums and salivation will also be healthy.
The lungs, spleen and kidneys are the main organs that regulate the body's defenses. Well nourished means creating a strong base for the immune system.
The stomach absorbs the food and the energy goes down. Do we have an appetite for life, for fun, for learning? When we are overwhelmed or feel weak, it is difficult or impossible to eat. When the stomach energy is in balance, we can digest everything. Experiences, love, learning.... everything goes through the stomach. There comes the big question, how and with what do you nourish yourself? What feelings, events do you let get to you? Do you have a strong protective system? In TCM the stomach supports you in your relationship with your father.
In Japan they say the most important condition for your health is to maintain a good relationship with your father and mother.
Stomach energy is strongest in the body from 7 to 9 in the morning, and Spleen energy is strongest from 9 to 11. In the period, you should eat the first nutritious meal.
Finally, I would like to share with you the exercise of caring. It is a meditation also called "metta" or "loving kindness". Sit down, have a comfortable but upright posture. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out. Let your breath flow in a natural rhythm and observe your thoughts. Choose to meet your feelings with gentleness. If you detect defensiveness, meet it with kindness. Be open and signalize willingness to work gently and kindly with your heart.
Think of someone with whom you have a difficult relationship. Repeat a few times the words:
"May you be happy. May you be healthy and well. May you be safe and protected. May you be at peace."
Focus your attention on your heart. When you are ready, repeat the words silently to yourself.
"May I be happy. May I be healthy and well. May I be safe and protected. May I be at peace."
Repeat the phrases five times. Extend the exercise to other people in your life. Place your hand on your heart and breathe deeply in and out. End your "metta" practice with gratitude.
I wish you a wonderful late summer,
Here you can book a Shiatsu consultation and treatment with me. I look forward to your feedback, questions and comments.