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October 1996

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by Morag Campbell

Over the next few months I thought we could take a brief look at the Elements of air, fire, water and earth in relation to the physical body. As you read through maybe you could apply the criteria mentioned to yourself and learn something about your individual elemental make-up. The following paragraphs are taken from "Quinta Essentia" see our Store for purchase details.

The fire body is of medium height and build and these individuals who are heavily influenced by this element are usually very strong and wiry. Balanced fire gives a healthy glow to our skin and a sparkle to our eyes and a general sense of vitality and robust good health. If we have an excess of fire energy this can lead to a large belly and a more rotund appearance. As I said, one of the main qualities of fire is its heat producing capability therefore the region of the solar plexus and especially the liver which is the largest heat producing organ in the body come under the fire element. Our bodies work efficiently within a very small temperature range and it is important that this temperature is adhered to. A few degrees too high and we produce fever where the body literally burns up. Here is an example of the cleansing effect of fire in action. The high temperature produces an adverse environment for invading organisms and the excessive fire drives off the water in our body as sweat which cleanses the body of toxins. So critical is our body temperature that the successful management of a fever can mean the difference between life and death especially in the days before modern drugs. It is equally critical to maintain the core temperature of the body which can also be life threatening if it slips to dangerously low levels leading to hypothermia and eventual death. The protective function of fire can be seen at play here also. A good maintenance of the fire element in the body ensures a high level of vitality and when the vitality is high then the immune system functions efficiently maintaining good health. If our vitality drops for some reason, energy levels are lowered and that is when we succumb to disease. We need a good supply of fire to give us the power to fight infection and win !

The digestive region of the body is also associated with the fire element as it is concerned with the breakdown of food. The stomach produces fiery hydrochloric acid in just the right amount. Too little leads to incomplete breakdown of food which lies in the stomach too long and can lead to incomplete absorption of nutrients further on in the system. Too much can lead to stomach or duodenal ulcers as the gastric juices literally burn into the linings. The gall bladder also is thought of as a fiery organ. It secretes bile, an acid neutraliser which is never the less a highly caustic fiery substance. Many of us have a problem dealing with fire in our lives and are somewhat afraid of it and rightly so as fire has a habit of flaring up at a moments notice quickly getting out of control. Because of this, we hold excessive tension in the region of the solar plexus causing considerable contraction here that in some cases bows the body forward, pulling down the chest which effectively starves the fire of air by restricting breathing. It is obvious the kind of physical problems that are created by this kind of body structuring. Stuck in this chronic flexor contraction we take on the appearance of a whipped dog. There is no way that the fire element is going to be able to express itself naturally within the body in this state. Each element seeks expression and one way or another it will be seen and heard. Result - stomach ulcers, liver problems and problems with the rest of the digestive tract as the organs are restricted and not able to be gently massaged by the movement of the diaphragm as in good breathing. The organs of the abdomen need sufficient space in which to function well, each has its own rhythm and natural vibratory level for optimum functioning and if all the organs are squashed in on each other then their functioning is impaired. The restriction in the chest can lead to problems like asthma - and all because the fire energy is not allowed to express itself naturally.

Another problem that can arise if the fire is not given natural expression is the production of rashes, spots and acne. If we are unable to express anger and frustrations and suppress them then they will be expressed internally through the body instead of externally through angry outbursts or heated argument. We even use the expression 'an angry rash' to describe the condition and they frequently appear in areas of the body that are particularly associated with the fire element such as the head or the region of the solar plexus. The condition know as Shingles for instance often starts at the waist and can spread all around the body at this level whilst the other common site for it to occur is on the face.

The head is a prime site for the expression of fire energy. We talk of someone as being a "hot head" or "blowing their tops". Certainly a lot of heat is lost from the body via the head and is a good reason for wearing a hat in very cold weather. We can see the fire energy clearly when someone is hot or angry as their face gets redder and redder or when they blush with embarrassment. Too much alcohol or 'fire water' as the native Americans called it produces the same flushed appearance which can become permanent with those with a drink problem. Incidentally ,many people who are unable to express the fire element naturally turn to alcohol as a way of stimulating this particular energy. They literally add fire to their systems and the most common results of drinking are to enable the person to freely express their joyfulness and become more outgoing or conversely to express their anger and aggression. These are all qualities of fire. Smoking is another way in which people can emulate this energy taking on the appearance of fiery, smoke breathing dragons.

The part of the head where the fire element can be most clearly seen is the eyes. They are the sense organs through which we perceive light. There is also an internal light that can be perceived in the eyes, " Her eyes lit up when she saw the present", " Her eyes shone with delight" " His eyes burned into me" "There was a twinkle in his eye as he spoke" are all common modes of speech to illustrate or should I say, illuminate the point. Our general health and vitality can be read in our eyes. Well balanced fire leads to a good complexion with bright, alert eyes. Too much fire can mean a ruddy complexion and staring , bulbous eyes. Too little gives a pale skin and dull, listless eyes that are lacking in energy and interest. A disturbance of fire energy in the head can lead to headaches. Often the fire imbalance affects the digestive system too. Migraine headaches are a classic fire problem affecting the head, the digestive system and the eyes with disturbed vision as a classic symptom . Conjunctivitis, where the eyes become red and irritated is another fire problem.

The thighs are another area where fire energy is very perceivable. The fiery personality sets a goal and goes for it. They have a strong sense of direction but need good legs to take them there or they become stuck. That fire energy makes the legs strong and the step purposeful. If we are lacking in fire the legs become weak, ill defined, shaky and no longer support us. In addition to the belly, the thighs are another part of the body where there is a tendency to store this particular energy. This seems to be more the case for women where so called "jodhpur thighs" are common. It is often culturally frowned upon for women to express their fire energy openly. They should not be loud, vivacious, aggressive or angry. " Sugar and spice and all things nice - that's what little girls are made of "!!

Fire is also the element of sexual passion. Again, there are many sayings that illustrate the connection between this element and desire. We can "have the hots" for someone, or 'burn with desire' . Former partners are commonly known as 'old flames'. Poorly functioning fire can lead to problems with impotency and low sex drive. Too much fire channeled into a sexual outlet and watch out as we can be carried away in the heat of the moment !

The fire element can also be linked to the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. As we have heard fire people are great 'doers' , rarely sitting still for a minute. This constant need for activity means that the sympathetic nervous system is switched on for long periods of time. Indeed, it may never actually get switched off so the person stays sympathetic dominant and is classified as a Type A personality i.e. someone who is prone to high levels of stress. One of the problems of being sympathetic dominant is that the endocrine system and especially the adrenal glands are switched on all the time pumping out adrenaline into the system which keeps the heart rate high and the body in a constant state of alertness. Whilst the human body is designed for this on occasions, such as in times of danger, it does not cope well with this activity over a prolonged period - result "burn out !".

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