Feed Your Mind: The Earth Element in Five Element Acupuncture
The Earth Element in Five Element acupuncture governs nourishment and digestion in every aspect of body, mind and spirit. Earth is the Element of Late Summer, season of the harvest. The harvest includes all that we take in from the outside world.
In Five Element acupuncture, nourishment includes more than food for the physical body. Our mental, emotional and spiritual diet is equally important, especially in the Information Age. How you feed your mind – how you take in and process information and experience – is vital to health and happiness. This critical mental function is governed by the energies of the Earth Element within.
Late Summer and the Earth Element in Five Element Acupuncture
As Summer, season of the Fire Element, draws to a close, there is a subtle shift in the air. The days get shorter and mornings take on a chill. The days may be hot, but the heat has lost some of its punch. Plants shift from flowering and vining to setting fruit and ripening. In Five Element acupuncture theory, there are five seasons instead of four. The fifth season is Late Summer, season of the Earth Element and the harvest. It is the season of reaping what we have sown, and bringing in the fruits of our labors. We rely on the harvest to set aside stores and surplus of food to nourish us through the cold months to come. (To learn more about Late Summer and the Earth Element in Five Element acupuncture, watch the video, or read an earlier blog post.)
The Information Diet: Mental Nutrition and the Earth Element in Five Element Acupuncture
In Five Element acupuncture theory, nutrition includes more than your physical diet and the food you eat. While nutrients from food certainly impact your mental health, the ancient Chinese recognized another form of mental and spiritual nutrition. All of the information you take in from the outside world, and all of your life experiences, are part of your mental “information diet.” The ancient Chinese considered everything we take in to our being – air, food, water, information – to form our “acquired qi”, the vital energy (qi) that we receive from the outside world.
Some of the things that probably make up your daily mental “information diet” are:
- media, news and entertainment – movies, novels, social media, art, music
- advertising and consumer marketing
- work and play
- conversation, connection and sharing with friends and family
- creativity and relaxation, hobbies
Like your physical diet, the quality and nutrition of your mental, emotional and spiritual diet impacts your well-being throughout your entire life span. The energy of the Earth Element within the body, mind and spirit governs how we process information and experience, just as it governs how well we digest our food.
We can make some choices about information and experiences, just like we can make choices about what we eat for dinner. Unfortunately, not all of it is under our control. Sometimes, we are bombarded with information we don’t want and we feel overwhelmed. Or, we suffer damaging or traumatic experiences that send us reeling and leave us feeling hurt.
All of these life experiences impact our emotional well-being, as well as our cognitive ability to think and reason clearly. In Five Element acupuncture theory, thinking and feeling are inseparable. In other words, conscious thought process is closely tied in with our emotional states, as we shall see in Part II of this article.
Maladies of the Information Age: Worry, Obsession and the Earth Element
We live in the Age of Information, like it or not. From breakfast to bed, we are bombarded with information: fake news, real news, advertising, social media, email, text messages. And, of course, we are also taking in experience every waking moment: traffic, work, coffee and conversation with a pal, dinner with the kids, walking the dog. Modern life is fast-paced, busy and full. It gives us a lot to think about.
Is it any wonder that so many people feel overwhelmed and preoccupied? The busy “monkey mind” takes over. Attention spans are short, as we are pulled in too many directions. Worry, anxiety, restlessness and obsessive thinking have become so habitual that we are unaware of our own level of distraction. Insomnia, heart problems, high blood pressure, and stomach problems like acid reflux are all common complaints that are amplified by the stress and worries of the Information Age.
Five Element acupuncture gives us an antidote to these modern complaints. Thought, emotion and information are all forms of energy in the body, mind, and spirit. They are governed by the Five Elements – especially the Earth Element. By understanding how these energies work within us, and tending to them, we can find ways to ease our minds and nourish our spirits, relieving the anxiety and worries of daily life.
The function of the energies of the Five Elements in managing and processing information, transforming experience and eliminating toxins, is especially pertinent today. A robust Earth Element can help us navigate some common experiences of the Information Age, including:
- feeling bombarded or overwhelmed with information or experience – You may have too much information to “digest” at once, good or bad. It’s like having too much food on your plate, not through your choice.
- manipulation of impulse and desires by advertising – Consumer culture is dominated by subtle and persuasive advertising, leading to over-consumption and impulsive spending we later regret. A robust Earth Element helps us to pick and choose what is truly nourishing, avoiding over-consumption and poor choices.
- exposure to toxic information and experience – We are all exposed at times to traumatic experience and negative information that is detrimental to emotional and physical health. A robust Earth Element can help us identify, filter and expel “toxic” information that is impacting our body, mind and spirit.
Needless to say, both our emotional life and our ability to think clearly are impacted by the quality of our “information diet.” These, in turn, have an impact on our physical health.
Healing the Earth Element in Five Element Acupuncture
Five Element acupuncture balances and restores the energy systems of the Five Elements in body, mind and spirit. It can help us to recover from information over load. Acupuncture treatment can heal the root cause of many of the common maladies of the Information Age – anxiety, insomnia, immune weakness, acid reflux, high blood pressure, heart problems, to name a few. Along with other mind-body wellness methods such as Zero Balancing and yoga, Five Element acupuncture treatment creates a shift in consciousness where the distracted thinking of the busy “monkey mind” settles down. The client enters a more relaxed and open state of consciousness where deep healing becomes possible.
Part II of this article will delve more deeply into how we can care for and nourish the Earth Element within, on a mental, emotional and spiritual level. We will introduce how Five Element acupuncture understands thought and emotion. We will explain how we can use that understanding to help shift our own consciousness and live with a healthier state of mind.
Inner Works Acupuncture is a Five Element acupuncture clinic in Portland, Oregon. Call us today at (503) 227-2127 to schedule an appointment.