Following on from my previous article about constitutional medicine, you have already learnt that the balance of elements within your body plays a role in maintaining equilibrium of body and mind.
Over the next few articles you can learn about how the elements express themselves in your body and some techniques on how to bring them out of balance.
If you haven’t had a listen already, please tune in to the podcast episode Elemental and Intuitive Eating with Clara Bailey to get a deeper understanding of these concepts.
The five elements fire, air, water, earth and ether represent the subtle energies of existence. The elements are the foundations upon which many traditional medicines around the world have been based from as it takes into account the observation of nature from a holistic perspective. The better we understand the elements and how they influence the state of our health, the more empowered we are to instate equilibrium in our lives.
Read more about the elements and constitutional medicine here.
Each of the elements are associated with different aspects of health and nature.
- The fire element relates to the season of Summer and is associated with the colour red.
- This element is associated with the heart, small intestine, gallbladder and adrenals.
- Fire is warming and when in balance this sparks joy, laughter and love. It reduces stagnation and cold tendencies.
- When out of balance a person may be explosive in emotions or may laugh uncontrollably, and may experience an increase in feelings of heat and inflammation.
Fire Constitution Characteristics
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine a fire type is associated with the Pitta dosha. If you have more fire element dominating your constitution you will tend to have an average build, and you may gain muscle easilly. You may have bright coloured eyes and your skin is usually red, warm and oily.
In most traditional cultures it is consider that the element of fire is responsible for digestive strength, such as is with the concept of ‘Agni’ – digestive fire. Those with a dominance of fire have a strong appetite and fast metabolism due to the digestive fire fuelling the small intestine.
Fire is yang in dual nature and individuals governed by the fire element are highly driven, motivated, energetic with intensity and tend to “burn the candle at both ends”.
The over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) can have an impact on the adrenals and in turn lower immunity therefore it is important that a fire individual takes the time to slow down and rest. When there is an excess of heat element this can lead to excitation of body tissues causing increased circulation, aggravation, inflammation and physical/psychological irritation.
How does fire show up in your body?
The body expresses excess fire in the following signs and symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate and pulse
- Increased body temperature or fever
- Burning sensations in the body
- Inflamed skin conditions
- Redness of skin and mucosa (such as the inside of the mouth)
- Nervous excitability
- Red tip on the tongue
3 tips to balance excess fire:
- Avoid foods that are hot, spicy, pungent and salty such as chillies, raw garlic, raw onion, cayenne, mustard and salty nuts/crisps. These foods stimulate circulation, digestion and sweating. Instead consume cooling and sweet foods such as berries, melons, pears, grapes, pineapple, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus and broccoli that are high in flavonoids. This will help to sedate hyper metabolism and reduce excess heat in the organs and tissues.
- Drink herbal teas with a herbal action that is cooling such as tonics, astringents, bitters, alteratives that are sweet to taste in order to reduce excess fire. These herbs include; Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), Rosehips and Rose petals (Rosa spp.), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Elderberry (Sambucus spp.).
- Practice yin styles of exercise to balance out excess yang such as Yin yoga, Tai chi and gentle mindfulness walks outside in nature.