In Five Element Acupuncture, Earth is the name of the energy that resonates with the season of late summer, the harvest. Earth energy begins after the upward and expansive period of Fire. It is a pleasant time of year when the temperature is warm, but not too hot, plants bear their fruit and abundance is all around. This is a time for harvesting and enjoying the fruits of our labors. The Earth is the source, provider, and distributor of nourishment, which supports our bodies, minds, and spirits. This is motherly energy; the energy of the divine feminine. It sustains and nourishes all life unconditionally. To receive this nourishment is to know security, stability, centeredness, grounded-ness, contentment, satisfaction, abundance, oneness, and peace. The Earth Element regulates all aspects of nourishment, including reception, digestion and distribution. This applies to physical food and also to ideas and experiences, which feed our minds and spirits.
When our Earth energy is in balance, we give and receive nourishment and sympathy to ourselves and others appropriately. We give enough to ourselves and we give what we can to others without draining our own resources. We have a healthy appetite and our digestive system functions effortlessly. We are able to take in ideas and experiences, process them and reap the lessons and rewards that they offer. We feel stable, grounded, satisfied, and content. When Earth energy is out of balance, there may be digestive problems and our bodies, particularly our muscles, are either over-fed or starved. There may be ravenous hunger or little or no appetite; nourishment can get stuck and cause a number of symptoms including food retention, nausea, vomiting, dampness, phlegm, obesity, anorexia, weakness, and cold extremities.
Mental and spiritual nourishment can get stuck or poorly processed as well. Here we may see obsessive thinking, worry, endless mental churning, ideas and experiences that do not get accepted, processed, or integrated in a useful or complete way. In addition, we may feel ungrounded, unstable in the body, mind or spirit. Emotionally, we may extend feelings of sympathy too much—to where our own security and reserves are threatened. Or, we may have no sympathy to give to anyone else because we feel undernourished and unable to give. We may habitually crave sympathy and attention and exhibit excessive neediness. An imbalance in the Earth Element can lead to ingratiation and excessive, disingenuous sympathy or, rejection of sympathy, feeling bitter and distrustful of others’ help.
Five Element Acupuncture opens access to the energy of all the seasons for use throughout the year. With an Earth imbalance, acupuncture helps to re-integrate the energy of Earth granting us the ability to feel the abundance of life around us. We are then able to receive, process, and utilize all forms of nourishment, which in turn, sustains our bodies, minds and spirits all through the year.