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Seasonal Changes - The Earth in Chinese Medicine 


Achille Volpi


Theory of seasonal changes in Chinese medicine


天 人 合 一 Tiān Rén Hé Yī :“Man and Sky are one”

This is one of the oldest sayings in Chinese medicine. Several meanings can be applied to the character "Sky Tiān-天", but in the purpose of this article we will be interested in "Heaven" as an environment, as an ecosystem in which the human being is born. This natural environment has several rhythms, including that of the seasons.

The support of the environment-Sky is the Earth, the Earth has a very strong theoretical role in Chinese medical culture, it is obviously the planet on which we live, but also an energy that fulfills precise physiological functions in the body.

In Chinese medical theory, the main organic systems are classified into Five Elements to which the seasons are attributed, there are however only four seasons for five organic systems, it is the Earth which has a special status, it has no not a corresponding season, but their overlap. The last 18 days of each season are the periods that influence the Earth. Regulating the Spleen-Stomach organ system is even more recommended during seasonal environmental transitions, because as the saying goes: “Man and his environment are one...on Earth”

In Chinese medicine, the Earth is the digestive system, the capacity of assimilation and elimination of the body, it is the organic system of the Spleen and the Stomach.

Especially during a change of season, an acupuncture session to strengthen the Earth can be an effective way to overcome the fatigue and low energy inherent in these periods. The 5 symptoms of a tired Earth are: - Feeling of abdominal fullness or bloating (especially after meals) - Loss of appetite - Diarrhea or loose stools - Abdominal pain or tension - Nausea & vomiting.

Obviously the seasonal transition can generate other symptoms such as dryness of the skin, difficulty concentrating, loss of motivation etc...

But the five symptoms of Earth are a great way to report on your digestive system and allow you to gauge the influence of the environment on your body. Acupuncture can be the boost that helps to return to balance!


Achille Volpi, Ac.