In Shiatsu and TCM, the transitioning period to a colder season, relates to the earth element. It is a period of change and adaptation for the next season. As we transition from the summer into the fall for example, our body undergoes a series of changes and needs to adapt to the different climate. Our bodies are magnificent works of art that can adapt and harmonise so that we can manage the different temperatures and emotions that come with that particular period.
As we transition, it is good to help our bodies adapt and so it helps if we also change what we eat and how we cook. Nutrition is key in helping the body make the necessary changes and to feel more in sync with the seasons. For example, during the hot summer days, it is good to eat lighter foods that are more refreshing, such as salads, etc. Also the way we cook should be more cooling: sautéing instead of frying, steaming instead of baking and so forth. It is a way to balance the summer heat. In winter, we should eat more warming food like more root vegetables and hearty carbohydrates. The way of cooking our food should also change accordingly, so instead of steaming, maybe make more soups and stews. This helps to keep the warmth in the food more sealed and acts as a balance to the outer colder weather.
The earth element in Shiatsu is very important during these times of transition as it helps to harmonise the body. The Spleen, being part of the earth element, helps to bring more energy into the body and to balance it out within the body. In Shiatsu, we try to balance the Ki (life energy in Japanese) and to bring this energy to flow freely, enabling the body to self heal. The Stomach meridian, also a part of the earth element, helps with aspects that deal with nutrition and digestion. This is also an important aspect for helping with transition, as it helps us to nourish ourselves in a different way and more accordingly to our current needs.
So treating the earth element when transitioning from one season to the next, can be very beneficial. As the climate changes, we change as well with it. Everything is connected and everything that happens in the macrocosmos, is reflected in the microcosmos.
Concentrate more on warming foods that help the earth element in the colder seasons:
root vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, cooked fennel, carrots, potatoes, etc. / millet is a wonderful grain that helps nourish the spleen / polenta / cinnamon / safran / dried fruits like apricots, raisins, etc. / nuts like walnuts, sunflower, almonds, etc.