The Five Element Theory is a Chinese philosophy used to describe interactions and relationships between things. The five element theory includes: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. It is believed the fundamental elements are everything in the universe between which interactions occur.
The elements of the earth interact in many ways by either inhibiting or nourishing another element. This works in a star shaped pattern as you see above. Earth destroys water (if you fill a pond up with dirt, it will destroy the pond). Metal destroys wood (An axe made of metal would destroy a forest). Water inhibits fire (pouring water on a fire would extinguish the fire). Not only can an element inhibit another element, but they can also nourish one another. Water creates earth (rain waters the plants which help them grow). This pattern goes around in a circle. As you can see the elements work together to keep the earth thriving and all should be in equal balance. In the same way the earth elements work we should have an equal balance in ourselves and in our homes to have the best flow of Chi (life force energy).
Each element is also associated with a sound, emotion, taste, muscle, and climate. When you know which you are most dominant or weak in, you can take that information to create balance in your life. To create the best flow of life force energy or Chi. This is very similar to a yin yang balance, but more refined.
Let’s Take a Quiz!
Grab a pen and paper, then, jot down your answers to the following questions. When you are done, please count how many answers you have in each color. At the very bottom of this page there is a description on what each color means. The color in which you have the highest number is your most dominant element. Take the quiz twice. On the first round answer what is your favorite. Then, on the second round answer what is your least favorite answer. After reading your result, what do you think? Does that element describe you?
The Purple answers represent the Metal Element.
If your answers were mostly Blue, this represents the Water Element.
Green answers go with the element, Wood.
Red answers go with the element of Fire.
If your answers were mostly grey, that represents the Earth Element.
Did you enjoy this quiz? Please Share This with your friends! Interested to see which meridian pathways are holding the most tension on your feet? Book a Reflexology Massage! Comment below if you’d like to share your result and what it means to you. To learn about what Reflexology is, click here!
With the season changing from summer to autumn we are naturally going to eat more warm foods. Autumn is a time of harvest and fruition of all the growth of spring and summer. Metal in the Chinese Five Element Theory is associated with autumn, and represents the mineral ores and salts of the Earth. Some spices that feel warm include garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, ginger and pepper. Bone broths are one way to stay healthy and warm through the seasonal change as well. This season is well known for foraging root vegetables and storing fresh foods for the winter. For example, canning and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables to make it through the winter. It is also symbolic of change (leaves changing color), and people focusing more on their household and unfinished projects.
I would like to share with you my favorite autumn harvest soup recipe to kickstart this chilly season. This autumn harvest soup contains all the elements symbolic of the season, such as, root vegetables, salt, warm spices, bone broth, and lots of color. Cozy up with this warm soup, a cup of hot tea and a blanket. Make a list of those unfinished projects you want to tackle while staying indoors more in the coming months ahead. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Autumn Harvest Soup
1/4 cup of water (or bone broth)
1/2 of a red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 small head of broccoli, florets
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 cayenne pepper (optional)
fine grain sea salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups water (or 4 cups bone broth + 2 cups water)
2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
juice from 1/2 of a small lemon (or whole lemon, depending how much lemon flavor you prefer)
Step 1: In a large pot, add the water and turn on the heat to medium-high. After it’s hot, add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and fresh ginger. Stire and cook for 3 minutes, adding in extra water or broth as needed. Stir in the tumeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 2: Add in the water or bone broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add in the kale, cabbage and lemon juice near the last 2-3 minutes of simmering.
Step 3: Pour into mason jars or a large pitcher and enjoy all week!
If you enjoyed the addition of eastern medicine theory in this post, you may enjoy trying a 30min foot reflexology massage. Reflexology is based on integrating four theories in the feet. The four theories being structural alignment, zone, meridians and psychoneuroimmunology theory. To learn more about Reflexology click HERE!
I had the opportunity last Friday to take a continuing education course for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation/IASTM with focus on Rockblades. Rockblades, have four distinct edges so you can maneuver the tool around different boney surfaces depending on which area of the body you are treating. The tools have several techniques that can be used which is gliding over a muscle to assess the tissue (feeling for grainy texture or bumps), feathering (for painful areas), scraping, oscillation (vibration) and chopping. The techniques used focus on releasing fascia around adhesions/scar tissue, with a goal of pain relief and returning the body to functional movement. The course focused on proprioceptive neurological training of the muscles. Using sensory stimulation of internal force (Golgi receptors), Rapid Pressure (Pacinian receptors, much like fast movements that wake the muscle up and get ready for a sports activity), Ruffini receptors (long holds like releasing trigger points) and interceptors (light touch). Using a variation of receptors depending on the goal of the client, rockblades, help bring the body into functional movement faster than other therapeutic methods and in a non painful approach. Changing the angle of the tool and depth it allows for more intense or less intense treatment.
I am very excited to add this to my massage treatments. If you would like to try it out please mention it to me otherwise look forward to me suggesting it! We were also taught different assessments, utilizing a squat test, one legged balance and lunge test. The tests help discover what areas of the body to target and treat. The idea is to bring the body back into balance before fitness training to prevent injury. Treat the muscles and imbalances, then begin a fitness or exercise plan to strengthen the muscles.
I was able to take this class for free as a veteran benefit the PESI institute now provides for veterans working in the health and wellness field. I am so appreciative to have been able to take this training. Thank you PESI institute!
There are many reasons people have not tried massage yet. I hear all sorts of things from people and I am going to answer all those questions right here. Do you feel massage is too expensive? Are you insecure about weight or a skin issue? Maybe you are unsure what massage can do for your body physically? Do you view massage as a luxury versus something you do to take care of your body?
The most common thing I hear a lot is “I can’t afford massage” However, when you think about how much pain killers, physical therapy, doctor co pays and deductibles cost… is massage really that expensive in comparison? No. If you could get pain relief from massage would you choose it over medications, shots and invasive therapies? I see people pay a lot for a personal trainer every month, expensive coffees, going out to dinner with your family, buying clothes, purses, shoes, etc. Is the excuse really about money or is it more about something else? I know when I take my family of four kids and myself out to a nice dinner I easily pay $50 plus a tip for our wonderful waitress. I love buying new clothes and tickets to do fun things. Cutting down on even one of these, deciding to put myself as a priority, can make me a more relaxed, pain free happy mommy and more functional for my kids. Instead of paying for expensive admission into events and museums we go to the playground more or the beach. There are so many free things you can do for entertainment where you save money and have that extra for your massages. Stay home one night and make a nice healthy dinner with your kids, get them involved in helping plan it, teach them how to create it… those moments will be more memorable in the long run, and valuable to your child than sitting in a restaurant. Do that a few times and you will have no problem affording massage. When you take care of yourself, you are less stressed, you become a better mom, dad, employee, friend, partner, etc. Evaluate what is most important to you. Why not try a different approach? What is the harm in giving something new a try? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to book a second massage. In some cases a medical doctor is necessary and in other cases, pain can be relieved through massage. Try the less invasive approach before committing to a lifetime of medications, surgeries, injections and the money pit of big pharma. If massage does not bring you relief you can at least say you gave everything a try before going that route.
Do you have body insecurities? Maybe you feel too vulnerable getting a massage and that keeps you away from trying it. As a therapist I will tell you that I get all shapes and sizes of people. I have never once looked at someone’s size (big or small) and thought a single negative thought. All I am looking at is their posture, their gait (form when they walk), I am listening to what they are saying hurts, listening to what type of work they do, or common daily activities. While I am giving massage I most often close my eyes, I am focused on feeling the muscles and that is all I care about. I am feeling the joints move, where do I feel pulling in which direction? I am thinking how can I help this person live a happier more pain free life? I am focused on giving my best. I want everyone to walk out of my office feeling better than when they came in. I am here to help, not judge anyone. I am not perfect and have my body insecurities myself. Also please know you are covered so, we can’t see that extra weight on your tummy after having kids (although I have had four kids, and had a tummy tuck surgery, so, I completely 100% understand that some things just destroy our bodies and that’s okay!!) I only uncover the area I am working on. You can choose to opt out of having certain areas massaged. Maybe for your first time you choose to just have your back, neck and shoulders massaged. Start in baby steps and as you become more comfortable with your therapist, then add legs and feet and all that other yummy stuff! Do you have a skin issue or cut you are insecure about? A lump? Just tell your therapist or even write that down on your intake form and we can just avoid that area, work around things. Be open and let your therapist know any of your worries or concerns and we are here for you and to help you and to give you a great experience!
Another common misconception is that massage is a luxury, a girls spa day or just relaxing. Although it can be those great things, there is also massage as therapy. What can massage do for your body when you dedicate to a regular therapy routine? I always say to book at least once a month for maintenance, but I see the best results for people who are not afraid to listen to what their body needs, maybe you are someone who needs weekly (maybe you have daily migraines and weekly massage is something that keeps those away for you), if you were in a recent car accident you may want more frequent massage until you get ahead of your pain then move to coming monthly. Depending on your daily activity could be a difference in how often you should come in order to benefit. There is a big difference from being a construction worker and being a fitness instructor to hair stylist to dental hygienist to being a desk worker. Everyone’s body is different. The activities we do most commonly throughout our day causes an overuse of certain muscles in a repetitive manner. Our job as a massage therapist is to target those overused muscles and use different techniques to get the muscles to relax, balance the body back to it equilibrium which can bring great relief for the client. Sitting in a desk all day with your right arm slightly forward, hand cupping a computer mouse… massage can target creating mobility in that right shoulder, opening up the muscles of your hand, giving you flexibility back in those joints. How do we do that? We have several techniques. Some of my most favorite are trigger point release, myofascial release, joint mobilization with active release techniques. Trigger point release happens when a muscle becomes very taut like a rubber band. There is a point within that taut muscle where everything stems from and when holding pressure on that point, it brings blood to that muscle, unwinds those bands as it slowly melts and relaxes. It is an amazing relieving feeling. Myofascial is a slow dragging movement that helps release layers of muscle away from each other and superficial tissue and skin away from the muscle creating flexibility. Pinning a muscle with my hand and moving a joint in its action stretches muscle, warms it up and slowly allows it to release creating less pulling in one direction or the other on that joint. I listen to the joint and tune into where its pulling, what muscle is causing a chain reaction to create pain in this area? We can also use heat like hot stones or bamboo which help bring blood to the muscle and melt away tension. Massage can be a very therapeutic way to rejuvenate your body after it is overused and beaten down in your daily activities, bring your body back into balance.
Find a few creative ways to save some extra money every month, give massage a try. If it is not for you, you can say you at least gave it a try. Don’t be nervous about body issues, no one is judging you, and you will be covered and comfortable during your massage. Do book your luxury massage days with your girlfriends now and then, if you like that, but also know massage is a tool to take care of your body, just like you would eat healthy and exercise, it is important to take of the overused muscles we use day in and out at our jobs, carrying our kids, or whatever we are doing on a regular basis. Take time for yourself, stop making excuses and give it a go. If you have questions to add and like me to answer, drop a comment below and I will get an answer for you as soon as I can. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and enjoy the rest of your day!!