This month I find myself reflecting on this past year and compelled to write a small personal reflection. It has been almost one year since I had a baby! This last year has been filled to the brim with change and a new kind of adventure. Last year at the end of August I closed down my practice for a few months to become a mother, the largest transformation I've yet done in this life. This parallels the energy present in the late summer which is the energy of harvesting that which we sow. The birth of a child is a very obvious manifestation of this concept, but in life we are constantly planting seeds for other things, such as ideas, events, personal growth goals and more.
Then in November I moved my practice to a new location: Red Cricket Healing Center. This was another long awaited 'harvest' because I waited for about a year for all of the elements to fall into place for the move. It's an exciting new space. In addition to my shiatsu & massage practice we have acupuncture, community acupuncture, yoga classes, tui na and holistic physical therapy all in one building.
Since re-opening my practice I've been working to find that ever elusive work/life balance. And one thing I've learned from Chinese Medicine is that seeking balance is a constant practice in which you add and take away as needed. As I look forward to the coming year I see a slow and steady approach being what's needed. I am putting the bulk of my energy as always into offering high quality, mindful bodywork to you...and realizing that many of the other details of running my practice will fall into place as needed.
Again I am so grateful for all of you. My work is fulfilling and I love doing it. But enough about me, let's reflect on seasonal health and talk a little bit about how Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at wellness this time of year.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE & THE EARTH ELEMENT
In Minnesota we are entering Late Summer, the time of year where balance and abundance prevail. We often begin to slow down from the busy pace of early in the season and relax into the lazy days of summer. This time of year is associated in Traditional Chinese Medicine with the Earth Element.
Chinese Medicine is all about function. It gives us context for our experiences and offers a tangible path towards balance. If someone is having trouble concentrating, reaping the metaphorical harvests in their life or feeling a lack of appetite for food or for life in general then Chinese Medicine offers a simple path of daily practices and treatments to help support that. Eating certain foods, receiving Shiatsu and Acupuncture, and meditating and/or exercising can really help.
There are Five Elements in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal. The Earth Element represents Late Summer as described below:
"The Earth energy of late summer is the phase and the feeling celebrated in the song 'Summertime, and the living is easy…' It's color is yellow, the color of the sun and earth, and in human anatomy it is associated with the stomach, spleen and pancreas, which lie at the center of the body and nourish the entire system. If Earth energy is deficient, digestion is impaired and the entire organism is thrown off balance owing to insufficient nourishment and vitality." -Daniel Reid, The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing
This quote generalizes the essence of the Earth Element. Physically, it brings our attention to digestion and energy levels. Mentally and emotionally it reminds us to look at how we concentrate and think to manifest things in our lives. Nourishment is needed on both physical and emotional levels for us to thrive.
"Viewing the human condition as an extension of nature, Earth energy is needed to bring forth a harvest in our lives. The ability to reach completion is governed by this element, and those who chronically fail to reap what they have sown may have an imbalance here." -Gary Dolowich, M.D., B.Ac., Dipl. Ac, Archetypal Acupuncture
Are you feeling as if you are able to complete what you set out to do? Or are you always starting projects you can't finish? Asking these questions might bring self-awareness to patterns that may be holding you back. By becoming aware you are then empowered to make changes and support better physical, emotional and mental balance.
To sum, there are a number of symptoms that can signify an Earth Element out of balance. These can include: fatigue, lethargy, fogginess, insecurity, worry, feeling ungrounded.
-Susie Carlson, dipl. ABT
Certified Shiatsu & Massage Therapist
Summertime! Well it seems in Minnesota we’ve completely skipped Spring and jumped right into the hot weather of Summer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been working quickly to adjust to the new way of life, it is so different from Winter and early Spring practices.
Welcome to the season of longer days, lazier afternoons and an increase in energy to match the bustling months to come!
It is likely that you are already eating lighter, more cooling foods and doing things to match this Summer energy (spending time outside, swimming, connecting with friends) These simple changes are what seasonal harmony is all about, and will help promote health for your body and mind.
The Summer season is ruled by the element of Fire and contains the energies of expansion, movement, energy and growth. The emotion related to this season is Joy. The mind and the spirit of the Heart are very important and typically thrive during this time of year. It is a good time to connect with loved ones and actively practice those pursuits that bring us great joy and happiness. When a lack of joy or and overabundance of manic energy is present, then we know it is time for some shiatsu or acupuncture to help bring us back into balance. Practioners of Chinese Medicine can also provide lifestyle advice so that you are able to come back into balance on your own.
Living in harmony with the seasons is at the core of Traditional Chinese wisdom. Health is nurtured by living in harmony with nature, one’s environment and found through preventative practices and practical eating.
Align with Summertime
Foods for Summer Season
Here is where I remind you that it is always best to talk to your physician before making any major changes to your diet. Professional practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine can also provide safe advice on lifestyle practices and foods that will suit you! This article is for information purposes only and cannot substitute personal advice from a professional.
:: Sea of Qi Newsletter ::
I thought I'd share a recipe from one of my favorite books: "Healing With Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford. I've shared bits and pieces from this book in the past. This is an easy saute recipe, packed with nutrients.
Summer Wakame with Greens
1/2 cup Wakame (a type of seaweed) soaked and chopped
1 bunch greens (swiss chard, kale, spinach)
1 teaspoon oil (optional)
Dash sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Always talk with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. A Nutritionist or Doctor of Chinese Medicine can also help with any dietary questions you may have.
about the wisdom of Chinese Medicine as applied to Shiatsu & Massage, healthy living, the benefits of Bodywork and simple healthy lifestyle practices.