Community Acupuncture – How, What, Why Now? #3
Author: Gunjan Chopra
As we begin to transition into fall, we move into the time of the Spleen & Stomach. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen & Stomach represent the earth element of our bodies, echoing the ripening of the earth at this time before harvest. These organs are responsible for absorbing nutrients in order to nourish our muscles and build Blood.
This time of year invites us to reflect on our relationship to the earth of our bodies and of the land (traditionally stewarded by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Huron-Wendat peoples). Where in our lives are we tending to the earth with care and attention? Where are we using up our resources at an unsustainable rate? When do we dissociate or disconnect from our core / earth energy?
Just as the dysfunction on the land makes its presence known (through extreme weather and the hottest summer on record), the Spleen and Stomach in dysfunction make themselves felt by slowing us down with digestive disturbances while feeding thought patterns of worrying and overthinking.
Coming down from the heady hot Heart energy and hectic pace of the Toronto summer, this time of year can be an opportunity to tend to the basics of our everyday lives and explore where it is possible to slow down, tweak our routines, and tune into our bodies, with compassion towards the demands and realities of our lives. It’s said that the Spleen in harmony fosters a sense of self-compassion, of feeling at home within ourselves.
Acupuncture is one tool that can be used to support the Spleen and Stomach in functioning more harmoniously with the rest of our bodies and our lives. The community acupuncture sliding scale model means that for more people, acupuncture can become part of the routines that sustain us.
Some other ways of supporting the Spleen/Stomach include eating small meals at regular intervals, practicing mindfulness, and indulging the Spleen’s sweet tooth with the sweet harvests around the corner - squash, pumpkin, sweet potato. We can build self-compassion by finding ways to ground ourselves and to connect to the abundant earth wherever we are, with respect to the the workers who feed us, and the original peoples struggling to protect land and life.