How The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine Can Change Your Life

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I've been pouring my soul out to you. I think it's about time I also shared a little bit of this here medicine that I do. Because it's really freaking interesting, and totally different from what most people are used to. 

See, the medicine is amazing, because it's founded on principles observed in nature over thousands of years for countless generations. 

On my end, I've used the Five Element theory in everything from diagnosing a complex clinical presentation, designing my daily schedule, and making social decisions.

The good news: there's like 6 more parts to this series, because I'm trying to distill 6,000 years of information on the internet. The bad news: I'm trying to distill like 6,000 years of of tradition and medicine and cosmic reality on the internet.

Oh, God. 


Introduction to the Five Elements


The ancient Chinese philosophers and physicians were masters of finding connection and correlation between the smallest part and the whole. Through study and observation, they could see that nature can be classified into five basic elements. They also noticed that these elements interact with each other in specific patterns.  Observation FTW!

The elements manifest themselves in meridians, tastes, sounds, colors, foods, emotions, seasons, times of day, phases of the moon, parts of the body, and more.  This is an inexhaustible system that provides everyone with the knowledge with the structure and flexibility to connect internal workings with the external world. 

No bigs, right?

The five elements are: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. If this is your first exposure to this concept you may be feeling a little confused or even lost. Don’t worry! You can come back as often as you like to review the elements until they make more sense.

This is a strange and unique way (and quite poetic, too) to view the world, especially for a Westerner who didn't grow up with this in their culture. The best way to learn the medicine as a layperson is to experience it, which is one of the reasons why I'd love for you to try acupuncture if you haven’t already.

Chinese Medicine divides the body into systems, but not the same ones you learned in biology (circulatory, endocrine, etc). Acupuncturists are well-trained in seeing the elements relate to each other and helping patients work towards balancing these powerful systems that affect us in every level of our being. 

The following posts will introduce you these individual elements. I'll give you details on the associations of each element, including the organ, fluid, and emotional associations, as well as the feeling of the element. Each element has a certain character, a certain je ne sais quoi.

I'll provide these details for you so that you can start reflecting on your own symptoms and see which element they fall under. I'll go over the reasons why each element is important and relevant to you so you can start using this system in your life - and hopefully it'll transform everything for you the same way it did me and hundreds of my patients.

If you are curious to know which elements are out of balance in your body here's an online tool that is very helpful in identifying elemental imbalances. I use it in my practice frequently. And let's be real - you and I both know that this is a very basic online quiz, and in no way, shape or form can replace the 2,000+ hours of graduate medical training I or my peers have engaged in. It's just a starting place for you.

Also, here's a link to a good starter article on the Five Element for further reading, because I know you're probably a total geekster, like me. If you're not yet, I have total faith that you'll fall down the rabbit hole shortly. This stuff is just too cool to miss out on. 

So, let me know what you think in the comments below - does the thought that everything in the universe can be placed within the context of five element theory excite you or freak you out? Do you know what your primary elemental imbalance is?