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Feb 25

Late Summer and the Element of Earth

We’ve all heard of the seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – but what about Late Summer? Is this even a season? In Chinese Medicine, this is the season that sits between Summer and Autumn. It is a time past the budding flowers of Spring, past the time of growth and maturation of Summer and into the time of harvest, the fruits of which nurture us as the earth nurtured the fruit. In Chinese Medicine Five Element theory, this time is associated with the element of Earth. We all consist of the Five Elements which are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water and we’ll see how the Earth element displays itself in us.

Late Summer and the Element of Earth

The Organs associated with the Earth element are the Spleen and the Stomach. These Organs have functions which are physiological but have an equivalent psycho-emotional function.

The Spleen is the Controller of Transforming and Transporting. It converts food and drink into Qi (energy) and Blood, and transports this food essence and fluid around the body. When an imbalance occurs, fluids may accumulate and cause conditions such as oedema, fluid on the lungs, and aching and stiff joints. Mentally and spiritually, when the Spleen is not in balance, this can result in thoughts not being processed and distributed appropriately. Sometimes, there can be thinking that’s not converted into action, poor memory and concentration, or thoughts and worries that can seem obsessive.

The Stomach is the Controller of Rotting and Ripening. Food is taken in through the mouth, chewed, swallowed and enters the Stomach, which continues to break the food down so the beneficial parts of it can be used to create Qi. A healthy Stomach also allows us to digest mentally and spiritually as well, enabling us to take in information, break it down, process it and absorb it. When the Stomach is out of balance, physically, a person can experience symptoms such as nausea, hiccups, vomiting and bloating.

There are times of the day when particular Organs have more Qi and function optimally. The time of the Stomach is 7am – 9am and the Spleen is 9am – 11am. It is best to have breakfast in the hours of the Stomach and then allow the Spleen to digest the food in the hours afterwards. If a person’s Stomach and Spleen are weak, they may find that they have a poor appetite in the morning and are also more tired at those same times in the evening, between 7pm – 11pm.

Enjoy this time of Earth – enjoying this pause between the Yang of Summer and the Yin of Autumn. It is a time of nourishing yourself in preparation for a quieter part of the year.

Nov 23

6 Self-Care Tips for PMS

6 Self-Care Tips for PMS

Most women know about PMS as over 90% of women experience one symptom of PMS and over 50% of women experience more than one symptom. Symptoms can include:

  • mood changes such as irritability, aggression, tension, lower self-esteem, depression
  • fluid retention such as bloating of the stomach, swelling of the feet and ankles, breast swelling and soreness
  • pain such as abdominal cramps, back pain and headaches
  • food cravings, binge eating
  • nausea

In Western Medicine, this collection of signs and symptoms is considered a normal part of a woman’s reproductive life. However, in Chinese Medicine, it is your body expressing disharmony within itself.

The Liver organ system in Chinese Medicine controls the free flow of Qi (energy) in the body. Emotions are also a form of energy and when they are not expressed appropriately or at all, the free flow of energy starts to get blocked, creating Liver Qi Stagnation. This can cause emotions which are associated with the Liver anger, frustration, resentment and annoyance, which are emotions which can cause the Liver Qi Stagnation, so a cycle is created.

To break this cycle, here is some self-care you can apply:

  1. Avoid coffee, alcohol, hot and spicy foods, rich and fatty foods, and large amounts of red meat before and during your period.
  2. Acupressure “Nei Guan (Inner Gate)”, located three finger-breadths from your wrist crease, this point moves Liver Qi, calms the mind and reduces nausea.PC6 Neiguan Acupuncture Point LocationPC6 Neiguan Acupuncture Point
  3. Practice gentle and mindful exercise such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga. It cultivates your body through physical movement as well as develop mental awareness.
  4. Regular meditation cultivates mindfulness and gives you the ability to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. You can just “watch” your anger and by doing this, it removes the “charge” of the anger and your conscious and unconscious reactions to it.
  5. Write in a journal to help you stay in touch with your emotions.
  6. Avoid excessive work and maintain a balanced and regular schedule for eating, sleeping, working, exercising and resting so no undue stress is placed upon your physical, mental and emotional self.

As you can tell, the main culprit in causing PMS (and in fact most diseases) are emotions. If we can learn to be aware of them, recognise them and allow them to flow through us and out of us constructively, we can reduce the disharmony that is created and causes illness.