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Five Elements - Your Strengths and Weaknesses

May 1, 2013

Did you know that your personality’s strength and weaknesses give you an insight into your health? Also, noticing your health issues can clue you in to your emotional tendencies, and vice versa.

The Chinese Medical system is based on the observation of nature. The ancient Chinese deduced that, as part of it, our body resembles nature. Our body systems are a microcosm of the macrocosm, which is nature. According to Chinese philosophy, there are five elements in nature: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. These five elements have a system of corresponding organs, emotions, sounds, smells, flavors etc. Applying the five elements theory to medicine can help us to understand emotional and physical tendencies. It can also help predict possible imbalances and diseases, and provide insight into our own being. Knowing the Five Elements and their system of correspondence can lead to breakthrough and change in your life.

The Five Elements

Five Elements theory is unique to Chinese medicine. Other systems, like the Indian Vedas, or the Jewish Kabbalah name different elements such as Wind, Ether, Air, Void etc. All these systems are similar in their attempt to find the fundamental building blocks of nature.

The Five Elements theory arose from the observation of generation and destruction relationships that occur in nature. When water falls down from heaven, it generates wood. Wood can give birth to fire.  Fire creates earth (ashes). Earth creates precious metals underground. Water collects underground and it all begins again. This is called the “generation cycle”. The destruction cycle, or control cycle, is another dynamic between the elements and is as follows: Water controls Fire. Fire melts Metal. Metal can chop down wood. And wood can break through earth, and if you ever saw a root lifting concrete you’ll understand this idea. Earth controls water, as in the banks of a river.

Each of these elements has a very specific energy, which needs no description. We use it in our speech daily. We use metaphors like – “he has a fiery personality”,  “Mother Earth” and we understand completely what the idea behind the statement is.

As mentioned, the Five Elements have a system of correspondences in the body. This system relates organs, emotions, sounds, flavors and much more to each element. Every person has one or two dominating elements. This Element doesn’t only show up in your personality, it also has a lot to do with your physical strength or weaknesses. You can understand your emotional reactions and your physical ailment when you understand your dominant element. The dominant element can be detected when one is pulled out of their comfort zone. A “Fire” type would smile, or crack a joke when confronting an uncomfortable situation, even when it’s not appropriate. A “Metal” type will resort to crying or grieving, even when the situation doesn’t call for that reaction.

It's important to note that the elements are in constant interplay in our body. Each individual possesses all five element’s energy all the time, but only one or two elements are the most dominant. The dominant element may change throughout the course of an individual’s lifetime.

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