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Chinese Five Elements

The Chinese 5 element theory was developed many thousands of years ago. Those sensitive and wise enough to observe the laws of nature and how they impacted on human nature were able to develop this system of understanding, which was also connected to their understanding of Yin / Yang and the 8 principles, to help people stay healthy and maximise their opportunities for success.

The five elements are wood, fire, earth, water and metal. What have these to do with human beings? According to the Chinese system, these elements represent each person’s energy, health and emotions.

Below is a chart showing how the five elements can be used to diagnose a problem in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

  • ELEMENT TRANSITION: Birth, Growth / Creation, Maturity, Harvest and Storage 
  • SEASON: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter 
  • CLIMATE: Windy, Hot, Wet / Humid, Dry and Cold 
  • DIRECTION: East, South, Centre, West and North 
  • COLOUR: Green, Red, Yellow, White and Blue 
  • EMOTION: Anger, Joy, Sympathy / Worry, Grief and Fear 
  • SENSORY/ ORIFICE: Eyes, Tongue, Mouth, Nose and Genitals / Ears 
  • SMELL: Rank, Burning, Fragrant / Sweet, Putrid and Rotten 
  • PARTS OF BODY: Tendons / Vascular, Muscles, Skin and Bones
  • GOVERNED: Ligaments, Lymph, Body, Hair and Marrow 
  • MERIDIANS: Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, Kidney, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Stomach, Large Intestine, Bladder, Pericardium and Triple Heater.

The five elements are connected and interconnected and when they go out of balance your health, body and mental state can be adversely affected. The good news is that you can rebalance your elements to help your physical and mental constitution.

One or more of the elements may dominate; the dominant one will determine your temperament. But in order to achieve the ideal condition according to oriental medicine, all five elements must be in harmony. The five element diagnosis will isolate the element which is out of balance and treat it. If it helps you could think of this element as the weak link in a chain. This can pose a threat to your strength of body, spirit and your mind.

Some acupuncture therapists are training in the ancient art of five element acupuncture. They use a combination of acupuncture and your unique element code to treat you. They would hope to help the person achieve harmony with their emotions and themselves. In order to do this, the practitioner would need to get to know the real you. They will make an effort to completely understand what makes you tick. They will review the recent experiences you may have had that could have triggered a problem.

For example were you ill, lose your job or did you lose a loved one i.e. is there a physical reason why your elements may be out of balance. They will also look at your unique element code and your current element reading and your environment. They understand the natural laws of the elements and energy forces and can use these to help diagnose and treat the cause of the problem. This will ease your spirit and your body, unblocking your meridian channels and allowing your energy to flow properly. As we know it is impossible to have full health if there is any mental, physical or emotional problems blocking your energy lines. Your five elements will be rebalanced using the appropriate meridian or meridians, leading you back into full health.

Next week blog post will be about element of wood.

Edi Carr

Senior presenter and senior consultant to VIP clients at E Rejuvenation center Zagreb, Croatia.

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