Stone Medicine to Settle Your Heart During the Autumn Transition

by Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac. & Setareh Moafi, Ph.D, L.Ac.

Just as the sun seems to flare and brighten as it sets during the transition into evening, the Fire energy within the body can also flare as we transition from the hot energy of Summer into the cooler season of Fall.

Since Fire energy is the energy of the Heart, which is the seat of the mind and our emotions, it’s important to pay attention to your heart, your mental health and your emotional well being during this particular seasonal transition.

As we move away from Summer, the Heart and its related systems can become overactive and create a number of physical, mental and emotional symptoms, which may include chest pain, palpitations, tachycardia or arrhythmia, and even heart attacks.

Since the Fire energy is the mother of Earth energy, if Fire energy is flaring and disrupting your body, then digestive symptoms can become more acute as well. Problems such as gastritis, GERD, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are all inflammatory related conditions that can be resulting from excessive Fire energy disrupting your ability to digest and eliminate properly. Excessive Fire may therefore drive a stress response that disrupts your autonomic nervous system and thus your gastrointestinal function.

Flaring up of Fire energy during this period of seasonal transition can also disrupt your mental state, causing acute nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and emotional disturbances including phobias.

Fire Archetypes are in general more prone to these types of physical, mental and emotional imbalances at this time. Fire types are generally excitable individuals who love attention and thrive on connecting with people. They have an open heart, and are both expressive and entertaining. Fire types are intimate, compassionate and spontaneous, with a strong curiosity for all that life has to offer.

Fire energy is all about the present moment, so Fire types can only be understood in the here and now through feeling.

Fire type people live in the moment and use both personal magnetism and their gift of expression to draw people close to them. When in balance, Fire types are jovial, affectionate and optimistic. Their charm makes it easy for people to feel close to them, and get involved in their exhilarating and often dramatic world.  However, when a Fire type becomes imbalanced they can easily burn those who are close to them, often leaving a trail of exhausted, wounded people in their wake.

The Fire element is also about control. The ability to have a good sense of control in one’s life is healthy. However, when Fire energy is overbearing in one’s life one tends to be over-controlling with others or simply has no control in his or her own life and this can lead to addictive behavior. This type of Fire energy needs to be regulated in order for the person to live a life that is calm and peaceful.

Generally, the excessive Fire personality tends to be addicted to the excitement, passion and drama that this fire generates in his or her life and it’s not until they get burned by this fire that they will look for help and be open to changing their firey ways.

Amethyst  is a cooling, calming quartz crystal that helps reduce Heart Fire. Its high lithium content helps relax the mind and nerves.

Amethyst is a cooling, calming quartz crystal that helps reduce Heart Fire. Its high lithium content helps relax the mind and nerves.

Stones To Temper Your Fire Energy

The therapeutic use of specific stones can be very useful to help calm the heart of an overly Fire type person. 

One way to select stones is according to the associated Five Element colors — pink, red and purple.

Purple is associated with the Fire-Water relationship (red with black) or Heart-Kidney connection. When there is too much heat in the Heart it is very important to support the Water of the Kidneys to cool and ground the excessive Fire in the heart system. Purple stones with their resonance to both the Heart and Kidneys can generally be important to use in this case.

Some purple/lavender, red and pink stones to balance the Fire element are:  

  • Amethyst is a cooling, calming quartz crystal that helps reduce Heart Fire. Its high lithium content helps relax the mind and nerves. I've seen Amethyst (placed on the head) used in combination with Labradorite (held in the hand) quickly reduce a migraine headache.

  • Charoite is a purple stone that helps open the communication between the Heart and Kidneys and is an important stone for someone who is trying to find his or her purpose in life. Charoite is a very anchoring stone that treats dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus and high blood pressure. Charoite can also be used to calm a hyper nervous system to help with ADHD and support deeper sleep.

  • Lavender Jade is an important stone to wear as jewelry to help you discover spiritually your current lesson in life. It’s also a stone to support deeper and more unconditional self-love.

  • Pink or Lavender Kunzite is a powerful stone to relax the nervous system and is a key stone to hold and place over the center of the chest when too much heat in the Heart is causing anxiety. Amethyst with Kunzite is a powerful combination for nervousness and anxiety.

  • Lepidolite is a lovely lavender stone that’s one of my personal favorites. When I first held Lepidolite it quickly released a stiff neck I’d woken up with that day. This experience was profound and affirmed for me the power of stone medicine. Lepidolite releases tension in layers, so if your condition is chronic give it time to slowly melt your body armor away. This is also a good stone to do Gua Sha scraping massage to break up tight muscular knots. Lepidolite is known to clear heat that’s irritating the nerves so it’s quite calming to the nervous system.

  • Rhodochrosite is a pink and white stone which holds a special place in my heart as it introduced me to the power of stone medicine. I once had a family member hold rhodochrosite while having anxiety and insomnia following heart surgery. Within an hour of resting with this stone in his hand his anxiety was greatly reduced. He used this stone for a few more days to help reduce his insomnia as well.

  • Rhodonite is a pink to red stone with black inclusions. This color combination indicates that it supports the Heart (pink/red) and Kidney (black) communication. The black inclusions are traces of manganese which helps cleanse the heart. Rhodonite is energetically warming and a good stone to strengthen a weak heart, with general fatigue and symptoms such as panting after climbing stairs. It’s an important stone for an over or under active immune systems so it’s good to help clear acute allergic reactions such as frequent colds, asthma, hives and autoimmune diseases. Rhodonite is also good for digestive weakness with food sensitivities and conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and it’s an important stone for general anxiety disorders and conditions related to emotional trauma and phobias.

  • Sugilite is a dark purple stone so it has a powerful Heart-Kidney resonance. Sugilite helps purify the body and can be used to drain excessive energy from the Heart. It can bring Yang Qi up to the head to help clear the brain and bring excessive energy trapped in the head back down into the Kidneys to help with rejuvenation of this system. Through this anchoring effect, Sugilite can clear Wind-Phlegm out of the brain and help with a number of neurological problems including learning disorders. Sugilite resonates with the Curious Organs: the Brain, the Blood Vessels, the Spine, the Marrow and the Uterus (Genitalia). It therefore cleanses and fortifies the body at the deepest levels. Sugilite has traces of lithium, manganese and aluminum to clear internal heat to help relax the nervous system and calm an overactive mind.

  • Rubellite (Red or Pink Tourmaline) is one of the most important stones in stone medicine to connect the Heart and Kidneys. Because Rubellite can draw out old emotional wounds it is especially used in stone medicine to help clear childhood trauma. Through this Heart-Kidney connection Rubellite has both a calming and strengthening action on the body. The way this works is that Rubellite has the ability to drain emotionally trapped energy in the chest or Heart center back into the lower burner which is the domain of the Kidneys. Through this action it both cools the Heart from excess heat generated by emotional stress and trauma and as it recycles this energy back into the Kidneys it can warm up and energize the Life Gate Fire (also called Ming Men) energy of the Lower Burner. As the Lower Burner energy center gets revitalized, it serves to strengthen a person’s Willpower to overcome their emotional wounds.

How to Use Stones Therapeutically

Cleanse Stones Before Use

The easiest way is to soak them in carbonated water overnight. In addition, it’s important to drip water over your stones for at least 30 minutes to discharge negative energy at the end of each day you use them. You can place them in a water fountain as well to allow water to flow over them.

Placing stones in the sun or on a bed of hematite is another way to cleanse and recharge stones. Be cautious with opals and moonstone however as the sun can damage these stones. Placing stones on a bed of sea salt for a couple of hours can also draw out negativity but again avoid using salt with opals and moonstone since these stones have a high water content and the salt will dry them up.

Basic Stone Therapy Technique

The simplest approach to incorporate into your healing regimens involves holding stones for 15-20 minutes three or four times each day to induce vibrational healing.

For men, hold the primary stone in the left hand and in the right hand use an enhancer stone which would be some type of quartz crystal. For matters of the heart such as anxiety and nervousness, consider purple Amethyst quartz. For the digestive system or patterns of excessive worry or OCD, consider yellow Citrine quartz, and for the Liver to reduce patterns of excessive anger or irritability, use blue or green quartz. For the Kidney system (including anything related to the genitourinary and reproductive systems) or emotions of fear and phobias, use Smoky quartz.

Women would hold the primary stone in their right hand and the enhancing quartz crystal in their left hand. And remember, hold the stones for 15-20 minutes, three to four times each day.

Keep in mind more acute conditions will respond more quickly than chronic conditions which may take days, weeks or months of regular use to notice the benefits.


Salvador Cefalu, L.Ac. is the Founder & Co-Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic run by he and his wife, Setareh Moafi, L.Ac. that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine. Salvador is a leading U.S. practitioner of Japanese Meridian Therapy, a rare form of non-insertion Acupuncture using Gold & Silver needles. More information at www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.

Setareh Moafi, L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Setareh offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga. More information at www.setarehmoafi.com and www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com

How World Events Can Impact Your Health: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.

A few nights before the full moon, I woke up at 1:30 am and after tossing and turning for a while, I simply couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally got up and went to our guest room to do a meditation. At first this settled me quite a bit but within several minutes I felt stricken with a tightness in my chest, difficulty breathing and tension throughout my body.

The anxiety I felt was something I’d never experienced before, and it literally took every tool in my toolbox to get my heart to settle so I could finally go back to sleep.

I woke up exhausted early Monday morning and walked into the kitchen as Salvador read an article aloud about the massacre in Las Vegas. Like most people, I was initially just shocked. But as the reality set in and I read—and bawled over—story after story about the victims, the heroes and their families, a deep sense of grief took over.

Salvador pointed out later that day that there may be a connection between the way I’d been feeling the prior night and the incident. I felt the truth in this right away. 

Even though I didn't personally know anyone involved in the Las Vegas shootings, I felt a deep sense of compassion and empathy for all involved.

The human interconnection is something we all participate in and yet we seem to have lost sight of it lately trying to fit into a race, a gender, a religion, a political party, a certain way of thinking. 

These classifications create a broken nation, a divided world in which brothers and sisters turn against each other and we forget how deeply connected we all are.

But in moments like this, when fear strikes and lives are lost, we realize when other humans suffer, each of us suffer on some level.

Now more than ever, our greatest task is to preserve our health so that we can ultimately begin the healing that the world so desperately needs.

 

How Trauma Impacts Our Health from a Chinese Medical Point of View

All of us feel the same emotions. These emotions are one of our many common threads as human beings, though we may each process what we feel differently.

Li Dong-yuan, founder of the Earth School in Chinese Medicine, focused on what he referred to as the “five thieves,” or the emotions of joy, anger, sorrow, pensiveness, and fright, any of which in excess become pathological. 

All of the emotions that Li Dong-yuan mentioned are excessive emotions that can cause pathology to develop in the body. For example, the Earth attribute of yi, or the mind, which is associated with the Spleen and Stomach, has a tendency to worry or become pensive. Nei Jing Su Wen, an important classical Chinese medical text, stated: “Pensiveness harms the spleen” (Unschuld, 2011, 207). If pensiveness is not properly transformed, it leads to obsession. The attribute of the Heart is known as the spirit, or shen. Over-joy, which includes excessive desires and passions, can overwhelm the Heart and disrupt the shen, since the Heart is the organ that manages joy. Over-joy can transform into anxiety and eventually mania.

According to Chinese Medicine, emotions are merely the movement of qi, or energy, directed by a certain organ, but excessive or repressed emotions have pathological consequences. 

Trauma shocks the entire system, and eventually sets into the internal organ system.

Trauma initially strikes our Kidneys with fear and fright, affecting our adrenal glands, our willpower, and even our faith.

Our Hearts are also affected and since the spirit resides in the Heart from a Chinese Medicine perspective, the spirit suffers as well. We may lose sleep, becoming restless and anxious.

Grief impacts our Lungs and the resulting weakness can cause shortness of breath, coughing, depression and even infections such as pneumonia. Weak Lungs also affect our ability to let go, which is a virtue of the Lungs.

Anger fires up our Liver causing irritability and even affecting the body’s detoxification and digestive processes, which then impacts our ability to assimilate both our food and thoughts.

Trauma can also stir up Wind as a form of resistance to change. (See more about Wind as a challenge to healing in this article)

 

What You Can Do to Help Yourself

Stress impacts the body and mind on so many levels and tragic events activate our stress response - whether we watch the news, read the paper or hear about it from a friend or family member.

This does not mean you should tune out entirely to protect your health, but it's important not to lose yourself in world events. When it feels like too much, do something nourishing. Cook a warm meal, call up a good friend, or go out and spend time in nature. It's crucial that you learn to consistently take care of yourself.

Self-cultivation and self-care are the only things we can control and the most important way to make a difference in what seems like a wounded, frightening world. 

To do this, we have to take more time alone. Take time to sit quietly, to feel the anger, sadness, fear, hopelessness. As the feelings move through you, you can let them go.

Retreating also allows us to nourish the blood to help open the orifices and eventually make changes in our perception.

Solitude provides space and time to fully process our emotions so we can start to see things more clearly with a greater sense of compassion and less fear. Time alone is important to help the energy of the Heart move back down into the Kidneys so that we feel purposeful and clear. This then calms and pacifies the Wind that stirs us up internally with the changes so that we no longer have the nervousness that prevents us from facing the world and the issues. 

Wearing stones such as Amethyst, Moonstone and Amber help calm the Shen, or spirit, to calm the mind and Heart. Herbs such as biota seeds and jujube seeds help to nourish the Heart. Nourishing the heart means being good to yourself, being kind to yourself and also being kind to the world so that you can develop a greater sense of compassion. 

When we’re healthy and compassionate, we act from a place of love, which allows us to be more available to support others who aren’t as strong or who are going through a difficult time.

Once you calm your Shen and nourish your Heart, you begin to open the orifices to change your perception of the world. 

As we change inside our bodies, the Yang of the Kidneys will support us to move through the difficult changes in our lives. Pacifying Wind through calming practices helps settle the Yang to have the courage to make change.

Only when we’re healthy and empowered can we truly make a difference. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The more love we cultivate within ourselves, the more this love ripples into the world.

Our fundamental emotions, arguably the only emotions, are fear and love. The opposite of love is fear, not hate. The only way back to love is through a change in the perception of the world and the eradication of all other emotions that represent fear.

The first step to make this change is to recognize what we actually feel. Only then can we move through these feelings and channel their energy toward making positive changes in the world.

Our teacher, 88th generation Daoist Master Jeffrey Yuen has said many times: "The consciousness that brought on the disease cannot be the same consciousness that brings about healing." This goes for our individual healing and for the healing of the world as a whole.

 

A Meditation to Support You

Many years ago, I developed the BEME Meditation, which stands for Body, Emotions, Mind and Environment. Becoming aware of each of these aspects builds a deeper consciousness that connects us to how we truly feel. 

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help us be more present, and can be profound to help settle the mind during difficult times. A calm mind becomes a clear mind and eventually provides the foundation for guiding the change that brings about healing.

You can practice this 10-minute meditation daily from the comfort of your home.

 

What You Can Do To Help Others

There are so many people who need our help right now. Here are a few ideas on what you can do for the victims and families affected by the recent tragedies:

Las Vegas

Puerto Rico

California


Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Dr. Moafi offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga. More information at www.setarehmoafi.com and www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com