shiatsu five elements - metal 800x600Metal holds the function of our relationship to the world. How we create and maintain our boundaries and exchange with the world. If we are constantly pushing the world away there is an imbalance in Metal, similarly if we are constantly in exchange with the world without being able to hold a space for ourselves, Metal is out of balance.

I am beginning to see that Metal is an imbalance of our age as we are constantly pulled to engage with the internet and with “people” through technology (e.g. Facebook) to be constantly in exchange with the world. If we do this without a clear sense of boundary, and definition of who I am in the centre of this then we can become lost in space as it were!

The symptoms that can arise from this are withdrawal from the world, under confidence, feeling bad about one’s self (all sounding very familiar!!) Lacking in energy, feeling depressed easily, having a negative outlook, and having a lack of empathy/sensitivity or receptivity to others.

Another strand of metal symptoms are around letting go and holding on.

Moving into Autumn and letting go

As the leaves begin to fall from the trees at last and we move into autumn, I notice the grace with which the leaves fall. No struggle, no fight, just a delicate dance from tree to earth. Dropping, drifting, turning, and finally landing.

In my experience letting go often feels much more complicated than this and far less graceful!

Often, we don’t want to engage with whatever needs letting go of. Maybe it feels too painful, or perhaps we have just been this way for so long that we don’t notice that anything is stuck. So, we continue to hold in, hold on, hold up so that we can maintain the status quo. This is a form of withdrawing from being in relationship to ourselves and in this process parts of our body/ mind can get left out of our experience. In this situation we will begin to feel disconnected from ourselves, and the parts which we have disconnected from will begin to want to get our attention. And so, we get symptoms such as frozen/ painful shoulders, respiratory problems, throat problems, frequent colds, constipation, boils, and obsession with order.

You can support your metal energy by exploring your own boundaries…. where does your energy begin and end? This can be helped by getting really physical and doing strong aerobic exercise. Activities which have a clear focus like chopping wood or cleaning/ ordering are great for metal energy. And foods which particularly support it are wholegrains especially short grain brown rice; root veg such as carrots, parsnips, mooli; and pungent flavours such as ginger and garlic.