"The Five Elements Describe Basic Qualities Of Natural Phenomena"

The Five Elements describe categories of a cycle of changes that goes on in yourself and in nature. These phases, like Yin and Yang, occur in your life, usually without you noticing. But you are about to become aware.

Some of you may already know something about the Five Elements. If you've studied Feng Sui, which is also based on energy flows, you've seen some of this.

Like Yin and Yang, this theory is several thousands of years old. It is used in Chinese medicine. It observes nature and its affect on your overall health.

"Start With The Basics."

The Five Elements are basic qualities of natural phenomenon.

• It includes Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
• These symbolize five different inherent qualities of natural phenomenon.
• They describe the annual cycle of biological growth, development, disintegration, and rebirth.
• They describe the way each phase morphs into the next phase.
• It corresponds somewhat to Yin and Yang theory.
• It classifies colours, sounds, odors, tastes, emotions, organs, and anatomical regions, which is how people began to use the Phases in medicine.
• By observing nature, it turned Chinese medicine into a science.

Here's a table containing the many correlations.

Five Elements Table of Correlations

"There Are Relationships Between The Elements."

They represent either balanced normal states or unbalanced abnormal states.

The first relationship is called the generating sequence. This sequence illustrates how one Element generates or promotes or creates an Element and how it, in turn, is generated or promoted or created by another. But only in the sequence shown. It's not a random act.

Therefore, Wood burns to make Fire. Fire creates ashes which turn into Earth. Earth generates Metal where it is mined. Metal enriches Water which nourishes Wood. This is what it looks like. Generating Cycle

Each Element controls another Element and is controlled by another. The control keeps a balance between the Elements. Self regulation is the order of the day, as seen in nature and in the body every day.

Therefore, Wood is cut by Metal. Fire is put out by Water. Earth is penetrated by trees (Wood). Metal is melted by Fire. And Water is moved by Earth. This is what it looks like. Controlling Cycle

These first two relationships show the normal balance between the Five Elements. Now let's look at abnormal relationships between the Five Elements.

If an Element is too controlling over the next Element, then there is an imbalance. What happens here is that there's too much of one Element, which overwhelms the other and decreases it. The balanced relationship between the Elements breaks down.

"The Five Elements In Medicine"

By using the Five Elements you can see how the organs relate to each other in a healthy way and also in a diseased way. In terms of the Yin organs, you can say that Liver is the Mother of the Heart and that the Heart is the child of the Kidneys. In other words, the Mother creates or feeds the Son via a strengthening flow of energy.

Generating Cycle of Organs

So the Heart nourishes its Son, the Spleen. The Spleen nourishes its son, the Lungs.

Here's an example of the controlling sequence of the organs. Balanced Kidneys protect the Heart because the Yin fluids of the Kidneys are well distributed throughout the body and protects the Heart from inflammation. But if the Kidneys become excessive, they generate too much fluid. They weaken the heart (Water puts out Fire).

Modern medicine verifies this. When people have heart problems, they often have excess fluid retention and swelling. Controlling Cycle of Organs

It's important to emphasize that everything is indeed connected. You cannot look at the body as unconnected or disconnected pieces. Everything affects everything else.

That's the beauty and strength of Chinese medicine. It gets to the heart of the matter because it doesn't work in isolation, but understands that the whole is greater than its parts.

Back to Top

Return from Five Elements to Chinese Medicine