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The 5 Elements Theory

Posted on 01/07/2014 by Healthwise

The five elements or phases is a system used in Chinese medicine to classify disorders of the body but can in fact be applied to any phenomena – it is commonly used in Feng Shui and martial arts. The five elements are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. To be in a state of balance each element should be represented evenly within the body, although it is normal for individuals to have a slight predominance of one or two elements.

The elements are interrelated as they feed each other but also control each other. It is best to understand the five elements by examining the diagram.

Fire creates ashes that become the earth, earth contains minerals to become metal, metal carries water (pipes or bucket), water nourishes wood (plants), wood then feeds a fire, and so the cycle continues. The elements should move through the cycle in a particular direction but when this is disrupted, an imbalance occurs. For example, if the cycle reversed, fire would burn and destroy wood.

Within the circle is a star formation which indicates a controlling cycle. This cycle ensures that no element becomes too dominant and if this occurs, the correct element is chosen to reduce the dominant element. The controlling cycle is: wood breaks up earth (through the root system), earth absorbs water, water quenches fire, fire melts metal and metal chops wood. When the body is out of balance, for instance, too many fire signs are present (the patient is hot, excessively talkative or has burning urination) the water element may be nourished to put out the excess fire (eg. increase cold foods and herbs and drink more water). 


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