The Time of Earth

Jessica Towery Issue: Section:

From mid-August to mid-October is considered, in Five Element Chinese Medicine, to be the time of late summer and the element is Earth. In mid-August, we begin to see the harvest and bounty that summer has brought forth. Just go to a local farmer’s market and you see all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that have been harvested. It’s the time between the height of summer and beginning of fall. The days are still bright and sunny, but the days begin to shorten.  It is the time when yin and yang are in balance.
Late summer is also a damp time of the season. It’s usually the height of hurricane season, as the east coast witnessed with hurricane Irene recently. The yin organ associated with the Earth element is the Spleen, responsible for transformation and transportation of food, and the yang organ is the Stomach, responsible for the ripening and rotting of food. Dampness and humidity can permeate the air. For people, eating foods that create dampness in the body such as fried foods, dairy, sweets, and alcohol can cause dampness within the body.

In people, the element is reflected in harmonious and disharmonious ways. The emotion associated with Earth is sympathy and sometimes worry. A balance in people is to be able to give and receive sympathy equally.  There are two possible imbalances in the Earth element for people.  Some may experience the need for sympathy and can become too dependent on others. Sometimes the person feels rejected because they aren’t getting the attention they need; friends may feel that the person is too needy and may not have the time to constantly nurture that person. Others may not be able to experience sympathy for others, or do not feel that they need sympathy or support from others. These people either can’t feel emotions and empathy for other people who are in pain or suffer a loss. Others on this side of the imbalance are always taking care of others and do not take care of themselves. They believe that if they aren’t constantly caring for others, the world will fall apart.

So it’s important to focus on these things during this season. Examine your diet and pay attention to what you are eating. Stick to vegetables and fruit that are in season, as well as grains. Stay away from too many fried foods, dairy food, sweets, and alcohol. Also, pay attention to your emotions. Notice how you feel towards others, and if you feel overly needy. It may be a good time to seek therapy to work through some of the emotional imbalances. Acupuncture is available to help with these imbalances as well, but it must work in tangent with self examination.
Jessica Towery, MS, L.Ac

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