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Late Summer – Stomach and Spleen

It is late summer and the Chinese believe that now the Earth Element, which is comprised of the *Stomach* (yang organ) and *Spleen* (yin organ) meridians, is highlighted.  Late summer falls somewhere midway between June 21st and September 21; the solstice and the equinox. From what I understand, this season is more of a feeling rather than an exact date – just like you can tell when the fruit is ripe or the fields need harvesting – you’ll know when you’re in the Earth Element because there will be a feeling of fullness or ripening of life-force.  The taste of late summer is sweet, its color is yellow, the sense is taste, the smell is fragrant, the sound is singing, and the mental quality is clarity. It governs the mouth and muscles and its negative emotion is anxiety and its positive emotion is empathy. In the Chinese cosmos, the Earth lies in the center of the five elements, and to the other directions (north, south, east and west) are the other 4 elements or seasons, in direct relationship to the Earth. The Earth element supports nurturing, abundance, centering, and conservation. The Earth is the balance of the yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine principles and strives to bring harmony, grounding and stability.

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The *Stomach* receives, stores and partially digests food particles, which it then passes to the small intestines and the spleen by breaking down larger molecules into smaller ones.  On a more metaphysical level, the stomach represents how well one can take a bite out of life and assimilates life’s joy and contentment. It absorbs our thoughts and mental attitudes about the Earth and helps to determine where we stand on it. How well we nurture, nourish, feel secure and enjoy life will dictate the Stomach meridian’s ability to balance and support the flow of qi. When we are balanced in the Earth meridian, we feel centered, grounded, fulfilled. <txp:image id=”470” class=”imageright” />The Earth is our mother and speaks to how well we can care for others and ourselves, how we mother and allow ourselves to be mothered, and how empathic we feel with the Earth and all her children.  Imbalances of the Stomach meridian on a physical level can result in lethargy, weakness, debilitation and digestive problems.  Essential oils can aid and benefit the Stomach meridian when it comes to digestive disorders. Oils that calm and soothe an upset stomach are *basil, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, lavender, melissa and peppermint*.  A combination of these oils, in a carrier oil, can be massaged onto the belly in a clockwise direction around the navel. Likewise for indigestion, bloating, flatulence, and nausea oils that can be added to a carrier oil include the above and also *anise, bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, juniper, marjoram, thyme and rosemary*. On a mental level, when the Stomach meridian is out of balance we feel disoriented, ungrounded, tired, confused and impaired in our thinking.    Essential oils that can focus the mind and aid in concentration are *basil, cardamom, rosemary, peppermint, melissa, tea tree, black pepper and elemi*.  Worry and anxiety are also key words in Stomach imbalance and oils that can assist in the release of negative emotions are *chamomile, cypress, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, marjoram, melissa, neroli, patchouli, rose and vetiver*.  These oils can be inhaled on a tissue or burned in an aroma lamp, or even better, can be added to bath salts or bubble bath and soaked in. This will help in releasing the tension in the muscles and viscera as well as soothe a worried mind.

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The yin meridian in the Earth element is the *Spleen* (including the Pancreas).  The spleen is all about storing blood, forming antibodies and producing white blood cells, which help to fight off harmful bacteria.  It is concerned with absorbing, transforming and transporting food, water,  and energy (qi). When we are deficient in Spleen qi, we can feel sluggish and fatigued, both physically and mentally.  The Spleen is also said to house thought processes, and if we think too much, the Spleen meridian may suffer. Over-thinking (like worrying) leads to Spleen qi deficiency.  Essential oils that bring back clarity of thought and ease an over active mind are *lavender, lemon, grapefruit, vetiver, rosewood, elemi, chamomile, marjoram and hyssop*.  The Pancreas secretes enzymes that break down food to make it available to the body. It also regulates blood sugar, therefore emotionally the Spleen/Pancreas meridian encourages the enjoyment of the sweetness of life. When imbalanced, we can no longer find life to be sweet, so we substitute large amounts of sugar to compensate for what we are unable to allow in with joy. We may feel weak, worried, isolated and depressed when our sugar levels are raised by candy instead of by exuberance and connection to source as well as community.  Essential oils that reduce depression and encourage joy are *basil, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lavender, patchouli, neroli, rose, melissa, ylang ylang, and elemi*.

So in this late summer, invite in the feeling of ripeness and fullness into your life.  Sense the connection to the Earth and all that she is offering in this abundant time of year and bring in the joy, peace and clarity. Choose the sweetness of life in the form of qi that flows so strongly now.  Connect to the Earth and ground into her nurturing strength and love and send a smile to your stomach and spleen!

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