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Do you suffer from chronic constipation?  Or have some times when you’re not so regular?  In addition to eating a balanced diet with fiber (cut down on sweets), getting exercise and drinking plenty of water, try these acu-points.

You can try any one, or go through all of them.  Especially if you have chronic constipation, spending 5 minutes every day holding these points can be helpful. Sit in a comfortable position, and pay attention to your breath — deep and slow — while you hold the points.

Hoku, Large Intestine 4

LI4 demo1  This is considered the number one point for dealing with constipation.  You can experiment with the length of time and the strength of the holding.  Try rubbing in a circular motion, palpating it, even thumping it with a knuckle.  The length of time you need to hold it to feel its effectiveness will vary by person.  Try both hands, and be sure to take breaks so that the hand that’s holding doesn’t get tired.  Get detailed instructions here. NOTE: Do not use this point on pregnant women.

Crooked Pond, Large Intestine 11

LI11 hold

This point doesn’t require much pressure.  Rub this point in a circular motion, and you may feel relief during an uncomfortable bowel movement.  Get detailed instructions here.

Hara

This is a couple fingers width below your bellybutton, where you “belly” is.  This is considered your “center”, the place from which you find balance.  So imagine the unbalance when you’re constipated or otherwise uncomfortable in your digestive system.  Just putting some attention to the hara can bring comfort.  Gently rest the palm of your hand on your belly, and breathe slowly and deeply.  Try gentle clockwise circles around your hara, too, to support movement in your bowels.  Get detailed instructions here.

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In Chinese Medicine, the end-of-summer “season” (as well as all the “end-of” seasons) is associated with the Earth Element. It’s the time when some things come to a close, while other things begin.

At such a time of transition, the Earth Element reminds us to be grounded; think about healthy roots that help weather the uncertainties of transitions. The Earth Element is also about being centered; after all, the earth is the center of the other elements: metal, water, wood and fire.

Here are some ideas to support you in being more grounded and centered at summer’s end, and on any day.

Natural Sweetness

Do you find yourself at times craving sweets more than usual? When I feel stressed or wanting some “comfort”, I’m mightily tempted to indulge in my favorite almond croissant. The flavor associated with the Earth Element is sweetness, so that sugar craving can signal a state of being uncentered. The problem is that sugar can add fuel to the fire, by throwing you off balance even more with spikes in blood sugar and energy. Consider some natural sweetness: add honey, instead of sugar, to sweeten your tea; treat yourself to the natural and healthier sweetness of dried dates.

Acu Point: Hara

This point is a couple of fingers’ width below your bellybutton. This is your “energy center”, the place from where you have greatest balance. If you have lots of thoughts and ideas flying around in your head, you might feel light, ungrounded. If you’re dragging your feet, heavy on the ground and sluggish, your energy needs some uplifting, to be centered. Next time you feel uncentered, take a seat with your feel on the floor, or stand with your weight evenly on both feet, and rest one or both hands gently on your belly, under your navel. Take a few long deep and slow breaths. Learn more about this.

Grounding Through Routine

In Chinese Medicine, routine is associated with the Earth element and the idea of “home”. Do you have a daily routine that feels “homey” to you? A daily morning walk, afternoon yoga practice, or bedtime reading… I talked about this earlier in terms of the benefits of routine for healthy travel, but consider that every day of your life is a journey.

Name: Hara or Sea of Energy (Conception Vessel 6)

Location: Directly between the belly button, two finger width down.

To Hold: You can place your three middle fingers of either hand, on the point area, and press down an inch or two until you reach a firm spot. Or, you can use a more relaxed hold and place the palm of one hand gently on your belly, below your belly button, right over the point.

You can use one hand, or both, with one hand over the other. Remember to relax your hands and arms and shoulders. You can hold this while standing (evenly on both feet), sitting (with both feet flat on the ground, back straight), or lying down.

Hold for one or two minutes, while taking slow deep breaths.

This is a point that is your Center. It’s the center of our energy–as reflected in the name “Sea of Energy”. It is effective for relieving discomforts that affect the lower abdomen area: digestive issues, constipation, gas, chronic diarrhea, menstrual pain . Also helps strengthen the lower back, and addressing energy-related issues like chronic fatigue syndrome.

** You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition. **