The Theory of the Five Elements and What it Means for You
Nature and your body are very much intertwined, according to the theory of five elements. Ancient Chinese philosophers discovered that most things in the world can be broken down to five energy types - wood, earth, fire, metal and water. There’s said to be a little bit of all five elements within each of us, but Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) advises that we must sustain a balance of them all in order to maintain good health. In TCM understanding how the elements affect your health allows you to create a comprehensive and effective treatment plan to eliminate disease and chronic conditions. The five elements are constantly changing, each becoming dominant at different times in the year’s natural cycle, and, in return, affecting your health. Each element is also associated with different body organs and tissues, senses and emotion, season and climate and colour.
The Five Elements and ME!
Your Liver ⎮ Wood│ Spring │ Green │ Anger
The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of our emotions, energy and blood. Excess stress or emotions can have a huge effect on our liver health so it’s vital to rebalance it. As the blood storing organ it nourishes our eyes and tendons i.e. if you have any eye issues or muscle cramps your Liver needs to be looked after. The emotion associated with the Liver is anger so if you are the type that get irritable or angry easily your liver is out of sync. The sour taste corresponds to and supports the Liver function so if you crave sour, have it. Your Liver needs an extra boost.
💛 How to Show Your Liver Some Love
When stressed, choose gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, and yoga instead of extreme gym sessions. Excessive workouts stress the body and overwork your tendons, so they may eventually lose their flexibility, impacting the Livers function of being “flexible” and quick healing.
Your Heart │ Fire │Summer │Red │Joy
The Heart is the king of all organs. True cardiovascular health is not just about physical fitness, it’s about true contentment with one’s life. Happiness, joy and love are often associated with the Heart representing a state of peacefulness. Stress or lack of joy can directly impact this organ’s function. The Heart controls blood and perspiration i.e. when Heart Qi is deficient, excessive perspiration can occur. The heart can also suffer when there is a lack of blood, as the heart houses the Shen, our Spirit. Any mental emotional instability e.g anxiety can be caused by a lack of blood not nourishing the Heart.
💛 How to Show Your Heart Some Love
Smiling is pure medicine to the Heart. Smiling stimulates the Heart and brings a sense of internal , so smile at yourself when looking in the mirror and at people around you. In no time you will feel a true smile emerging. Feel gratitude for yourself.
Your Spleen│Earth│Late Summer│Yellow│Sympathy
The Stomach and Spleen, our digestion or „middle“ is responsible not only for digesting foods, but also for digesting your emotions and thoughts, keeping what nurtures you and letting go of what doesn’t. Chronic worry, anxiety, or overthinking the Spleen. Just as Mother Earth’s job is to nurture growth and all living creatures, our digestion is key to your overall health. Tired and craving sweets? The muscles are governed by the Spleen, so weakness or tired legs and sweet cravings (taste corresponding to and supports the Earth is sweet) might be due to a a weak Spleen. Naturally sweet, and warm foods support a healthy middle.
💛 How to Show Your Spleen Some Love
Eat mostly cooked or warm foods and beverages - your middle is warmth loving by nature, so eating cold or raw foods and cold drinks can damage the digestion function over time. Yellow and orange grains and vegetables are energy boosting!
The Lung’s major functions include maintaining a strong immune defense. It’s associated season is Autumn so if you tend to catch colds or have allergies in Autumn, take good care of your Lungs. The nose is the Lungs sensory organ, a runny nose, sneezing, congested sinuses, or loss of smell, indicate a compromised Lung function. The associated tissues is your skin, so if you want to have healthy skin it’s important to take care of the Lung and its partner organ the Large Intestine. Emotionally and physically, the Lung is responsible for “letting go” of whatever you don’t need, from life experiences to emotions to actual metabolic by-products.
💛 How to Show Your Lungs Some Love
Wrap up warm in windy and cold weather, especially chest and neck. A high part of the Lung’s job is to protect you from pathogens like cold and flu, so you can save Lung energy by covering up your skin when it’s cold outside.
The Kidney is the “reserve generator” of energy in the body, storing “pre-natal Qi” inherited from your parents and supplying essential Qi to any organ running low on Qi. That’s why, in Winter, the time fo the year associated with this organ, it’s especially important to conserve energy by getting more rest. The Kidneys rule over your ears and bones. Hence any ear problems, such as deafness or tinnitus or osteoporosis are a signal that Kidney energy needs extra support. It’s associated emotion fear can be a red flag that the kidneys, the powerhouses of the body, are themselves low on Qi and are working too hard.
💛 How to Show Your Kidneys Some Love
First identify and stop energy drains! Sleeping before midnight, resting when you’re tired, and giving yourself permission to take a break and de-stress throughout the day can have a huge impact on how you conserve your energy.
Ingrid's Favourite Winter Recipe💕
Pumpkin Soup is a very nutritious ayurvedic recipe. Pumpkins taste sweet, as well as being rich in beta-carotene, which helps improve immune function. It, also, has fiber, potassium and vitamin A. This soup provides satisfaction, but does not weigh in the stomach, and can be a perfect food for dinner in wintertime!
In this recipe is included the ingredient Ghee, which is clarified butter. Considered a healthier fat than butter, it has several health benefits and so is one of the foundations of Ayurvedic cooking. Being a very versatile ingredient, it can be used in any type of cooking, replacing the own butter or other vegetable oils.
Long pepper, also used in this ayurvedic recipe, serves to season dishes, It delivers a spicy and aromatic flavour, full of health benefits. It works as a natural stimulant of gastric secretions, favouring the digestive processes of the stomach.
2 sweet potato
- enough water to cook the pumpkins
- 1 teaspoon of ghee
- 2 tablespoons ginger
- ½ teaspoon long pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 pinch of sugar
- juice of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek
Salt to taste
4 tablespoon of coconut milk
Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the cumin, ginger and ground long pepper, let it roast well. Then add a pinch of sugar, lemon juice, and the rest of the condiments.
Add the sliced of pumpkin and sweet potato and continue to steam for another 3-4 minutes. Add enough water to cover the pumpkins Reduce the heat and cook slowly until the pumpkins are tender. Using a hand mixer, beat the soup until it has a creamy consistency, adding a coconut milk while beating the soup. Return the soup to the pan and heat if necessary. Garnish with a little nutmeg and parsley.