The Four Elements
The four elements are keys to good health in body, mind, emotion, and spirit. They are important building blocks for cell rejuvenation and cellular cleansing. Most people are lacking or out of balance in one or more of these areas.
Here, we will discuss different ways to incorporate the use of air, water, sun, and earth more productively into our lives. Awareness of these four elements can aid in bringing balance and health into almost any situation.
Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. We can consciously use breathing to influence the involuntary (sympathetic nervous system) that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions. Up to 70% of the waste generated by the body can be eliminated through deep breathing. It accelerates the intake of oxygen and recharges the hemoglobin level in the blood. Rhythmic deep breathing is nature’s tranquilizer and can be used to reduce stress and release pain. With proper breathing the physical body feels lighter and healthier. We are able to think more clearly and stay focused in the present. We can use breathing techniques to change subtle energies within the body for health and well being. Breathing exercises can act as a bridge into those functions of the body of which we generally do not have conscious control. Using and learning proper breathing techniques is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for both short and long term physical and emotional health.
To assure you are breathing correctly place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the base of the lungs.
- After exhaling through the mouth, take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room. (This should take 4-7 counts)
- Hold this breath 4-7 counts
- Slowly exhale through your mouth. As all the air is released with relaxation, gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely evacuate the remaining air from the lungs. It is important to remember that we deepen respirations not by inhaling more air but through completely exhaling it. (This should take 4-8 counts)
- Hold this 4-7 counts
Repeat this cycle for 5-10 minutes. Breathing exercises such as this one should be done twice a day or when you are experiencing pain or find your mind dwelling on unpleasant thoughts.
Every metabolic process in the body is dependent on water. Lack of water can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. To figure how much water you need to drink each day divide your body weight in half. The answer is the approximate number of ounces you should drink daily. So someone who weighs 100 pounds should drink 50 ounces of water per day. If you are someone who is physically active or sweating a lot you may need to drink more. “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by R. Batmanghelidj, MD is a fascinating book on this subject. In his studies he found water to be the most important source available to bring health back to those suffering from complications listed below:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic Pain
- Diabetes Type 1
- Diabetes Type 2
- Excess Body Weight
- False Appendicitis Pain
- Heart Disease
- Hiatus Hernia
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Low Back Pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Skin Problems
Earth is the source where our food is grown and raised. Even the best dairy and meats need to be fed appropriately and raised organically in the right circumstances. It is easy for most people to realize they feel better and have the best health when they carefully choose to eat the right things. In our world of highly processed and fast foods it is no wonder there are so many health issues. Eating whole foods can aid our body’s ability to feel good. If we choose to eat even 80% of our diet from healthy sources, we will have increased health and vitality. Avoiding packaged and pre-prepared foods may take a little more time, but it can save you money and help you to avoid illness. The healthiest foods come from the earth and are whole foods complete with all their rich and natural nutrients. They have not been highly processed nor do they contain preservatives, synthetic, artificial or irradiated ingredients. And whenever possible, they are “Organically Grown” foods.
Many studies have found that a diet high in healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of diseases. So what’s so good about healthy whole foods? For one, they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain phytochemicals, the general name for natural compounds in plants. While thousands of individual phytochemicals have been identified, countless more remain unknown. They help in different ways. Some are antioxidants, which protect cells against damage.
Usually, the term whole foods is confined to vegetables, fruits, and grains. But any dietitian will agree that eating a skinless chicken breast is preferable to eating processed chicken nuggets.
One problem with processed food is that, during manufacture, many healthy nutrients are removed. For instance, when whole grains are refined, the bran and the coat of the grain are often removed and many nutrients are lost. One of the biggest advantages of eating whole foods is that you’re getting the natural synergy of all of these nutrients together.
Earthing or Grounding
Negative ions are as necessary as water and air to humans. Our body systems will not adequately function without negative ions. Negative ions promote healing and good health to the total body and are utilized by all body systems. Simply touching the earth with bare feet starts the process of these negative ions entering your body. Sitting, standing, or lying on grass, sand, gravel, or unpainted concrete preferably with bare skin touching the surface will connect you to the negative ions transmitted by the earth.
It is important to note that wood, asphalt, rubber, plastic, glass, synthetic materials and metal will block the energy from being transmitted to the body. Spending time to connect with the earth every day is important for health and vitality. Spending time on the beach or by a waterfall can be especially rejuvenating because these places are charged with negative ions in greater amounts than any other place.
The Earth is a limitless source of free electrons that can be used by the body to help it to be grounded. The infusion of negative ions from the Earth into the body is essential for well-being. Excess positive ions in the body are associated with disease and degeneration. Negative ions are associated with vitality, good health, and healing. The negative ions bind with the positive ions and pull them out of the body. The more time you spend grounded, the less inflammation you are likely to experience, resulting in improved overall health, a sense of calmness, clarity, and vitality.
There are great amounts of research showing that the process of grounding yourself or connecting with the Earth holds collective and diverse benefits for both the physical body as well as mental and emotional harmony.
Sunlight can have incredible influence upon our lives. Those who spend adequate time in the sun often feel better in many ways. Proper exposure to the sun is one of the greatest healing remedies that can be found in nature. The sun provides the energy that all living things need to be able to exist on earth. Sunlight is required for all fruits, vegetables, and grains to grow and be healthy, and is also important to animals and well as humans.
The healing properties of the sun are excellent for people who are suffering from various diseases and ailments. Its life-giving properties give energy and strengthen and vitalize the body and all its organs. It is one of the most effective healing agents that exist.
The exciting thing about sunlight and all its valuable properties is that it is available to everyone and it is absolutely free. It is important to get moderate exposure to sunlight every day and also to be cautious in order to avoid sunburn and skin cancer.
Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, is the only vitamin the body makes itself. It is a fat soluble vitamin which helps the body absorb calcium, and helps to keep insulin, calcium, and phosphorus levels in balance. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we get it from exposure to sunlight. The form of vitamin D that our body uses is vitamin D3. The body is able to produce its own vitamin D3 when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It is estimated that we get, or should get, more than 90 percent of our vitamin D from casual, daily sun exposure. We can get vitamin D from food sources and supplements, but it is apparent the best source of this vitamin comes from the sun. Sun exposure to the skin is the human race’s natural, intended, most effective and most neglected source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs. Because it is a fat soluble vitamin it can be stored in the body for longer periods of time.
Sunscreens, even weak ones, almost completely block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D. All living things need sun, the key is balance. Too much sun exposure can be damaging, while too little creates an inadequate production of vitamin D. The amount needed depends on the season, time of day, where you live, skin pigmentation and other factors. Generally, 20 to 30 minutes a day of sun exposure is a good place to start. As a rule, expose skin gradually to the sun and work up to be able to spend more time in the sun without the use of sunscreen. It is getting burned that is the problem, not the sun itself. We need sunshine!
Sun Charged Water
Another way to absorb the sun’s energy is to drink sun-charged water. Making sun charged water is a simple process. Simply put a glass jar of purified water in the sun for four to eight hours. It will charge faster if there is no lid. Try to avoid using metal or plastic lids to avoid the water reacting with it. A glass lid is best if you are going to use one. The sun will charge the water even on cloudy days, though it may take a little longer. I always have a glass gallon jug of water outside absorbing the sunshine!
This water has a great taste and is lovely to drink. It can be refrigerated. Some people say that it loses its charge after 24 hours so drink it within a day. It is also great to put on any skin problems and can aid the healing process. Many people have found that their pets prefer sun charged water when given the choice. If you want your indoor plants to bloom and grow and be happy give them sunshine water, too.
So, to recap what we have just discussed. Take time to breathe deeply, drink lots of pure clean good water, connect to the earth and choose to eat whole foods, and get sunshine every day. When you do these four things consistently you will be amazed at how much better you feel no matter what your circumstances are.