Seasonal Pivots- Earth Element

Posted: September 12, 2019

Ripe fruit hangs heavily from the bough, humidity ways heavy in the air, and your own mind and body may feel heavy in the heat of August.  These are how the season of the Earth element often show up.  Read about the significance of this element and some tips to stay comfortable through this short season.

Earth Element: Pivots and Transformations

As with the other elements, Earth is associated with organs (stomach and spleen), meridians, and a time of the year. While the other elements are associated with specific seasons of the year (Fire with summer, Metal with fall, Water with winter, and Wood with spring), Earth is usually associated with the end of summer, the time of harvest, and does not have a season to itself.
However, the function of Earth element to create transformations in energy (most notably, the transformation of food into a form of energy that the body can use, called gu qi) causes it also to be associated with the transformation of each season into the next -the transitional times between summer and fall, fall and winter, winter and spring, and spring and summer are each associated with the power of Earth. These pivots between the seasons have been considered extremely useful times to receive acupuncture treatment in order to facilitate our capacity to move easily between the seasons with optimal health. Read More
The Earth Element: Being Supported and Nourished Through All the Seasons
The Earth in our bodies is expressed in the qi of the Stomach and Spleen and can be diagnosed by palpating the center of the abdomen and the area surrounding the navel. The job of Earth energies is to transform food into blood and qi that nourishes all parts of the body. On the physical level, digestive health and the nourishment of all tissues with adequate blood and qi indicates the smooth movement of Stomach and Spleen in our bodies.
When well-balanced with the other four Elements, Earth supports us mentally and emotionally by assisting us to experience a balance between our capacity to nourish others, and our experience of being nourished (by ourselves and by others). Spiritually, this is expressed as a profound sense of being supported and nourished in life, and knowing oneself as part of the web of life.
On my website there is a video for a 5-minute abdominal handwork practice. You can do this yourself at home to improve the flow of qi.

Late Summer Tips for Eating
Avoid heavy foods that cause sluggishness
like meat, eggs, excess nuts and seeds.
Cool off with warming spices
Hot peppers, both green and red, cayenne, fresh ginger, horseradish and pepper heat comes to the surface of the body allowing us to be less affected by the summer warmth and allows us to sweat and become cooler.
Cooling foods
Cooling foods include fruits, cucumber, tofu, salads, sprouts and teas from mint and chamomile. Among fruits, apples, watermelon, lemon and limes are the most cooling. Cold foods, however, hold in sweat and heat, contracting the stomach and interfering with digestion. So avoid iced beverages and ice cream.


What’s that smell?
Mugwort, also known as Artemisia vulgaris, has been used for the purpose of moxabustion for thousands of years. The warming of acupuncture points and meridians, moxabustion is the burning of herbs (most commonly mugwort) either directly on the skin, attached to needles, or in a large rolls held above the skin.

The burning of mugwort has an odor that is sweet and earthy, belying it’s relation to sage. Having a soothing effect overall, moxabustion warms areas of poor circulation, reduces inflammation from injuries, and can be used to either increase qi or disperse qi from an area of the body, as needed.