While the New Year is the perfect time to reboot your wellness regime, the indulgent festive period has no doubt left you feeling under par.
That’s where traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda can help. The ancient health practises can teach you how to reboot your system and keep energised and balanced – and who doesn’t want that?
We called on Escapada Co-Founder Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Emilia Herting, to give us a low-down on the hottest ayuverdic health trend right now; the 5 elements. Prepare to feel more energised in an instant.
What Are The 5 Elements?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, the Five Elements is a comprehensive theory that outlines the relationship between the different elements in nature and the QI (life force) that flows through them. These elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, and each individual is a blend of these Five Elements. But in order to be truly healthy they need to be balanced, therefore in TCM, understanding how they affect your health allows us to create a comprehensive and effective treatment plan to eliminate disease and even chronic conditions.
In TCM Ayurveda the five elements are also 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 tissues, senses emotion, season climate, and colour. As a TCM practitioner, we use all of these elements to interpret and explain physiology and pathology of the body.”
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What happens if the 5 elements are unbalanced?
“Health conditions, and disease arise when the five elements become unbalanced; such as one element becoming too strong or too active. To cure this imbalance at Escapada we conduct a thorough assessment and diagnosis treatment plan where we look at your tongue, colour of your skin, sound of your voice and ask Q&As to determine your sensory problems and what areas of your body are troubling you. The personalised treatment plan we create from this diagnosis is aimed to restore the balance of you QI. Acupuncture will be used to adjust the flow of QI through the body’s meridians to restore healthy function, and Chinese Herbs help you attain optimal whole-body health.”
The Elements explained how to keep them healthy:
Your Liver: Wood, Spring, Green Anger
“The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of our emotions, energy and blood, and as the blood storing organ, the liver nourishes our eyes and tendons. In TCM, the emotion associated with the liver is anger, therefore if your liver is out of sync with your body you will become irritable and angry easily as your liver is under too much stress. Excess stress and emotions have a huge physical effect on you liver health, so it is vital to rebalance it. You may crave sour tastes, this is corresponding to the liver function, so feed it – it needs an extra boost to heal.”
How to look after your liver
“When stressed, choose gentle exercise such as swimming, walking and yoga instead of high intensity gym sessions. Excessive workouts stress the body and overwork your tendons, and eventually lose their flexibility. This impacts the liver’s function of being flexible, resilient and quick healing.”
Your Heart: Fire, Summer, Red Joy
“The heart is the king of all organs, but true cardiovascular health is not just about physical fitness, it’s about true contentment with your life. Happiness, joy and love are associated with the heart, and in TCM this is because it houses the Shen, our Spirit and in turn creates a state of peacefulness in the body. The heart also controls the blood within our bodies; stress, sadness and anxiety are all caused by lack of blood nourishment to the heart, directly impacting its function.”
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How to look after your heart
“Smiling is the best medication for your heart. It simulates the organ and brings a sense internal peace. Feel gratitude towards yourself, smile at the people around you, and smile for yourself to bring you joy, happiness and health!”
Your Spleen: Earth, Late Summer, Yellow Sympathy
“The Stomach Spleen are our body’s digestion, but it is not only responsible for digestion foods. In TCM, these organs also digest your emotions and thoughts, keeping hold of what makes you happy and healthy, and ridding the body of what doesn’t.
Chronic worry, anxiety and overthinking weakens the spleen so it is vital to let go and focus on you. We believe that just as Mother Earth’s job is to nurture growth and living creates, our digestion is the key to overall health. If you are tired, weak, or have regular sweet cravings, this is a sign that your stomach and spleen are out of sync. Heal your body by feeding it naturally sweet and warming foods.”
How to look after your spleen
“Opt for cooked, warm foods and beverages – your digestion is warmth loving by nature, so eating cold, raw foods and drinks can damage the spleen and digestion functions over time. Yellow and orange grains and vegetables are extremely energy boosting, too.
Your Lungs: Metal, Autumn, White Grief
“The lungs’ major functions include maintaining a strong immune defence. Its associated season is Autumn so if you tend to catch cold or have allergies in fall, ensure that you take care of your lungs and its associated TCM tissues and organs. The nose is the lung’s sensory; a runny nose, sneezing, congested sinuses or loss of smell indicate that there is an imbalance in your lung’s function. The associated tissues to your lungs is the skin, so if your want to have healthy, glowing skin, you have to take care of the lungs and its partner organ the Large Intestine.
Emotionally and physically, the Lungs are responsible for letting go, from life experiences and loss, to actual metabolic by-products.”
How to look after your lungs:
“In TCM, one of the main functions of the lungs are to protect you from pathogens like cold and flus. Save lung energy by wrapping up warm in windy, cold weather, especially covering the chest and neck.”
Your Kidneys: Water, Winter, Black Fear
“The kidneys are the “reserve generator” of the energy in the body. Storing “pre-natal QI” inherited from your parents and supplying essential QI to any organ running low on QI throughout life. In TCM, the season associated with your kidneys is Winter, and this is because it’s most important to conserve your energy and rest to avoid burn out, fatigue and using your “reserve generator”. The kidneys also rule over your ears and bones, therefore any ear problems such as deafness, tinnitus or osteoporosis are signs that the Kidneys energy need extra support.
The associated emotion of the Kidney’s is fear, therefore if you are becoming upset, paranoid or fearful it is a red flag that the kidneys, your powerhouse of the body, are low on QI and working too hard.”
How to look after your kidneys
“Identify and stop anything that is extremely energy draining as it will physically and mentally effect your health. Go to sleep before midnight, allow yourself to rest when you’re tired and most importantly give yourself permission to take a break and de-stress throughout the day. Stress, and overloading workloads is a huge zapper of your energy, which you need to learn how to conserve.”