Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) relies on the Five Elements Theory to restore health. Each of the elements translates into a bodily function or system.
The Five Elements Theory asserts that the structures and systems of our body such as organs, tissues, emotions and senses, are interconnected. Each of nature’s five elements – Water, Fire, Metal, Earth and Wood – is a map of the body’s internal state of being. Each reflects a corresponding relationship to the body, mind and spirit.
TCM practitioners use the Five Elements Theory as a guideline for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of conditions. The theory sets a diagnostic framework for how TCM views the five major organs to restore health and harmony where there is imbalance and stress.
Here is an overview of the Five Elements and how they apply to TCM:
- Water correlates to the meridian of the kidneys and bladder and is centered in the lower belly. If the qi, or life flow, of the kidney meridian is weak, problems with urination or fertility can occur. Emotions such as anxiety and fear can be out of balance.
- Fire corresponds to the meridians of the heart, pericardium and small intestines. When Fire qi is weak, people can experience restlessness, anxiety and insomnia and be overly excitable or given to excess.
- Metal is associated with the lungs and large intestines. Weak Metal qi can lead to lung illnesses, such as asthma and frequent colds, and bowel disease such as chronic diarrhea or constipation. People with an imbalance in their Metal qi can be overly critical, sad, and have trouble letting go.
- Earth corresponds to the stomach and spleen and is characteristic of grounded, compassionate temperaments. If Earth qi is out of balance, worry, fatigue, food allergies, bloating, heartburn and menstrual abnormalities can be present.
- Wood is associated with the meridians of the liver and gallbladder. Strong Wood qi is characterized by clear-thinking, organized and goal-oriented temperaments. When Wood Qi is blocked or stressed, people can experience migraines, eye and sinus problems and hernias.
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