The Earth Element #1

The earth element manifests in our bodies as the stomach and ‘spleen’.

Please note: the ‘spleen’ in acupuncture is usually taken to include what in western medicine is called the pancreas.

The spleen (being more solid) is the yin aspect of the earth element and the stomach (more hollow) is the yang aspect.

The earth element has to do with our digestion – our taking in and using the fruits of the earth.

In acupuncture the process of food digestion has two main stages:
the stomach is said to ‘rot and ripen’ the food we eat, and
the spleen is said to ‘transform and transport it’.
‘Rotting and ripening’ is the first stage of digestion.  It is digesting our food to the stage it is still recognisable food.  When our stomach is upset and we vomit what we expel is still recognisable as food.  The second stage is ‘transforming’ the food into qi (other organs as well as the spleen are involved in this) and ‘transporting’ this throughout our bodies, so that all parts of us are nourished.

The earth element is easily damaged by dampness.  In humid weather we often don’t feel hungry.

When our earth element is healthy we have good muscles and our limbs are healthy.  The wood element is more associated with two vital fluids – qi and blood – than storing one in particular.

Do you feel nourished by what you take in – whatever the aspect of your experience?

In what areas do you feel nourished?
What do you feel starved of?
What do you tend to take in too much?

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