The Earth Element
In the science of Echo Psychology, it is believed that the recent rise in depression and other mental and spiritual illnesses is due to the increase in technology and development, keeping people disconnected from the earth. Mother Earth gives us a home, nourishes our bodies with food, and nourishes our minds through the abundant gifts we receive through our senses. When one is connected and close to the earth, he is grounded in unconditional love, security, peace, and an abundance of energy. In Classical Five Element Acupuncture, it is believed that when the Earth Element within us is balanced and healthy we are able to both receive and give the gifts of nourishment and motherly, unconditional love. We feel secure and grounded, able to digest and extract nutrients and energy from physical nourishment as well as mental knowledge and experiences. We have a healthy store of energy in our muscles and a reserve of knowledge and information to cope with situations that arise from being a human.
When our Earth Element within is sick, we are unable to receive the mental and physical nourishment around us. We do not feel the security of having enough food or love and when it is presented to us we cannot receive, digest or assimilate it and are left needing and wanting more.
On the other hand, we may reject nutrients, love, and caring completely. When the Earth Elemetnt is out of balance, our ability to nourish and take care of ourselves and others is impaired. We might expend too much energy taking care of others and leave nothing for ourselves. The Officials of the Earth Element are the Spleen and the Stomach.
The Stomach Official moves along the whole of the body starting at the eyes, going down the face to the lips and up towards the ear, taking in the nutrients of the world through the eyes, ears, and mouth then bringing it down the to the stomach and intestines, down the legs, finally terminating at the foot, grounding us to the Earth. It takes the food, knowledge, and experiences and makes them accessible and appetizing for the body to take in and absorb.
When our Stomach Official is sick, our food cannot be absorbed and our body cannot get the Qi, or vital energy, that it needs. Reality cannot be accurately perceived because we cannot fully take in, digest or assimilate information from the world. Some symptoms of a sick Stomach Official include eye problems, headaches, tinnitus, deafness, acid reflux, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms could be weakness, tiredness, anxiety, neediness, worrying from a lack of a sense of security, and inability to receive and absorb love and nourishment from the outside world.
When nourishment from food and experiences is rotted or ripened by the Stomach Official, it is then transformed into Qi and transported throughout the Body, Mind and Spirit by its partner the Spleen Official. The Spleen Official gives us the power of movement and flow and is responsible for the transport of all substances that move within the body including blood, lymph, and stool. A sick Spleen Official will lead to symptoms such as poor concentration, a sense of being stuck, gynecological disorders, prolapsed organs, hemorrhoids, buildup of phlegm, lumps, fibroids, or stones. There will be uneven distribution of energy causing cold hands and feet, fatigue, or low energy. When this Official is sick, someone might feel stuck and unable to move.
When we have a strong healthy Earth Element within, we are receiving abundance and nourishment from the outside world and turning it into nourishment for our Bodies, Minds and Spirits. When we have a strong Earth Element we can both give and receive motherly care, sympathy and love.
References: Worsley, J.R., The Five Elements and the Officials, J.R. and J.B. Worsley. 1998.