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What do Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine Teach Us During COVID-19 Times?
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory, the Five Elements as a part of the Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. In Chinese herbal medicines, each of these elements shares correspondence to specific organ systems, emotional characteristics, food flavors, and many more.
For instance, the Fire element is known to correspond to the heart organ, it is even related to bitter flavor and shares a direct relation to the joyful emotions.
In further discussion, these elements are broken down to bring out how the Chinese Herbal Medicines are applied to the diagnosis of these elements as this system helps us in body preparation and teaches us the way we can be resilient.
i. Wood is Related to Movement
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, the wood element has a correspondence to Spring. It is concerned about growth. It is the growth that is making us feel stagnant during pandemic times. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic break out, we are unable to honor the Wood energy of moving out and wander about freely. Growth is crucial for preparation, specifically to make sure stretching the body sides and rotating the trunks is as flexible as sitting for longer than usual. To move the bodies also helps the lymph with free-flowing, which is the key to healthy living. The Wood element even corresponds to the bile maker, which is the liver, and bile storer, that is the gallbladder - both benefit from the movement for encouraging healthy digestion.
ii. Water is Related to Sleep
Did you ever listen to the water and feel sleep? Water is the element that is concerned about going inward to restore our bodies. The Water Element shares its correspondence with the Winter season, the time for the animals hibernate and the birds to go dormant. With most people being out of their typical routines, and specifically when they enter their routines, then continuous sleep is the major requirement for the bodies to stay fit and for repairing when they feel unwell.
iii. Metal is Related to Breathing
The Metal element shares its correspondence to the lungs. Several things are being done for being alive even no one thinks about it. Deep and intentional breathing as slow breathing re-calibrates the nervous system - inhaling through the nose filling up the belly, and exhaling out through mouth two times as long as inhaling.
Since COVID 19 is a respiratory disease, so it is ideal to pay more attention to strengthen the lungs.
iv. Earth is Related To Eating
Earth deals with everything about nourishment. The Earth element shares its correspondence with the stomach and spleen. So, by eating nutrient-dense foods, we can prepare ourselves to integrate back to laying the foundation of good health. Instead of relying on junk, the smart move at these pandemic times is to stress on nutrition and feelings of satisfaction and comfort. The gently cooked, sautéed and lightly steamed foods are the best as these are extremely supportive and nourishing to the digestive system, so it gets the least work to do. A happy gut means the immune system is happy.
v. Fire is Associated with Play
Indeed fire ought to teach us something about health. At the campfires, the flames always seem to joyfully dance around. Joy and Play are the buzzwords as more time there is for playing and enjoying the time while preparing varied nutritious dishes. Some of the Wood Elements can be incorporated while playing and moving.
The above-discussed Five Elements roadmap is necessary to follow to stay in proper rhythm and be prepared for the world to wake up to the new normal! To feel better, move daily by rotating the trunk and stretching the body's sides, specifically the legs' sides. For the Chinese herbal medicines to work better, keep up to the sleeping schedule by going early to bed and wake up early and exercise. Practice slow and intentional breathing each morning on waking up. Take in deep breaths through the nose by counting 4 and deep breathe out through the mouth by counting 8. Eat at regular times and have consistent meals consisting of lightly cooked foods, which must be mixed with seasonal fresh vegetables like the sweet potatoes, leeks, apples, Brussels sprouts, and more. Keep a part of the time for playing as it helps to elevate your mood. Following these lessons of the Five Elements, adjusting to the new normal will be easier.