In TCM the element of Earth is represented by the Spleen & Stomach organs which also includes the pancreas. The season that best represents Earth is late summer or “Indian Summer”. All of these organs are essential for the digestive process. The digestive organs and their functioning reflect the influences of diet, mental activity, and emotions. The digestive system as a whole is finely tuned by the nervous system, so stress of any kind affects its function.

In the Western medical concepts the spleen stores blood and destroys old blood cells. It is the reserve organ for blood formation in the adult. In the fetus, it is an important organ for blood formation, especially red blood cells. The spleen consists of lymphatic tissue and produces plasma cells, which make antibodies, tying the spleen to the immunologic system and thus, protection against various diseases. In TCM the Spleen is central to overall health and vitality to protect from illness. As you can see there is a close connection between the Western & Eastern concepts of function of the spleen in regard to immunology.The stomach is the receiver of nourishment, taking the energy from food for the spleen to distribute.

The pancreas secretes hormones into the blood, regulating the body’s use of glucose. The main hormone of the pancreas is insulin which lowers the blood sugar level. Insulin’s main function is to stimulate and regulate glucose use by the cells. The other function of the pancreas is the secretion of pancreatic enzymes directly into the small intestine assisting in the digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

People usually have one element that is more identifiable with their constitution and personality. People with a balanced Earth element tend to be nurturing and empathetic to other people’s plights. They have an amiable disposition; are sweet to people, and this makes them very popular. They are a patient listener, even strangers feel comfortable with them. Earth element people easily build social networks and act to bond their family together. They like to keep everyone connected! They are a wonderful behind-the-scenes facilitator. They love to cook for others and nurture their family.

If the Earth Element gets out of balance or blocked from fully expressing itself, the person may have lost the qualities above over time as the imbalance has grown more severe. Nurturing turns to meddling; empathy turns to crowding; sweetness turns to clinging; listening turns to ambivalence; caring turns to worried involvement; connections turn to overbearing attachments; facilitating turns to self-sacrifice.

Thinking is also endowed to the Earth Element; therefore, over studying can result in a compromised Earth Element. Muddled thinking or being stuck on one thought process would be an indication of an Earth imbalance. Systemic issues can include fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of control of muscles & cysts.


Stomach 36-Zu San Li, “Leg 3 Miles” – approximately 3 inches below the outer knee at the tibia. This point has the actions of harmonizing the stomach, increasing immunity, tonify qi & nourish blood, calm spirit and alleviate pain of the lower limb. This is one of the most important points on the body. It can help to keep one healthy by also doing moxibustion over the point several times a week.

Spleen 6-San Yin Jiao, “Three Yin Intersection” – approximately 3 inches above the medial (inner) ankle bone. This point has actions of tonifying (boosting function) of spleen & stomach, resolving dampness, harmonize liver energy, calm spirit, invigorate blood & alleviate pain. This is the meeting point of 3 Yin Channels-Liver, Spleen & Kidney and has a wide range of functions.

Balance your Earth energy by getting your acupuncture tune-up! To Your Health!
Sharon McDermott, L.Ac.

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