Earth Element is the only element that does not really correspond to one of our seasons. But this doesn’t make it any less important.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Stomach (and its partner the Spleen) is most affected by chronic worry, anxiety, or overthinking. Remember, the Stomach is responsible not only for digesting food and drink, but also for digesting your emotions and thoughts, keeping what nurtures your spirit and letting go of what doesn’t.
The Stomach’s element is Earth.
Just as Mother Earth’s job is to nurture growth and all living creatures, Stomach Qi is what “feeds” all the organs enough power to perform their jobs.
The mouth is the sensory organ related to the Stomach. If you have any mouth issues, such as bleeding gums or bad breath, it may be a sign that your Stomach function is compromised.
Muscles are the tissue associated with the Stomach meridian. If your muscles are weak and underdeveloped, or if they cramp or tire easily, you may have a Stomach or Spleen dysfunction.
The taste that corresponds to and supports the Stomach is sweet, according to Five Element theory. If you crave sweets, perhaps your Stomach needs support. The taste of sweet naturally supports the healthy function of your Stomach. Like a baby, the Stomach loves warm and hates cold. Reducing intake of cold drinks will support healthy Stomach function.
Worry, anxiety, and overthinking are the emotions associated with the Stomach. If you constantly worry or over-think things (especially negative thoughts), get anxious easily, you may have a Stomach imbalance or function disorder. Experiencing any emotions chronically or excessively can damage Stomach and digestive health, as the digestive system processes not just the food you eat, but the thoughts and emotions that you internalise.
Foods to Support Stomach Health
Many foods have an essence that supports the Stomach, especially yellow or orange foods. Also foods harvested in the late summer and root vegetables that grow directly in the ground. A TCM practitioner might regularly prescribe these foods for patients when trying to build strong Stomach function.
Simple Tips for Everyday Stomach Health
Don’t worry, be happy! Worry, anxiety, and overthinking are the emotions that are associated with the Stomach and Spleen, and these emotions in excess have an especial impact on your digestive health.
Eat mostly cooked or warm foods and beverages – your Stomach is warmth loving by nature, so eating cold or raw foods (especially nuts and vegetables) and cold drinks can damage Stomach functioning over time. Raw fruit is okay as the essence of fruit is very light.
Have your dinner by 6 or 7pm at the latest – this gives your Stomach a chance to rest along with all your other organs! If you eat a lot or heavy foods at night, then you are making your Stomach work overtime when it should be resting.
Acupressure for Stomach Health
Massaging the entire area from under your breastbone to above your navel can help strengthen your digestive system and relieve symptoms such as nausea and lack of appetite. Massage this area gently by placing one hand on top of the other and slowly making five circles. Reverse direction and make five more circles. Repeat this routine for about five minutes.