Introducing the Five Element Theory
The Five Element theory holds that everything in the universe, including our health, is governed by five natural elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. This theory underscores the Chinese belief that human beings, both physically and mentally, are intertwined with nature.
In the Five Element theory, each of the five elements has a season and particular organs and senses associated with it, such as taste, color, sound, odor, and emotion. The Wood element, for example, is associated with spring, the color Green, the Liver and the Gall bladder. The Fire element is associated with early summer, the color Red, the Heart and the Small Intestine. The Earth element corresponds to late summer, the color Yellow, the Stomach and the Spleen. Metal is associated with Autumn, the color White, the Lungs and Large Intestine, and Water is associated with winter, the color Blue, the Kidneys and Bladder.
Chinese Medicine views each organ as having particular body and mind functions, as illustrated in the belief that the Liver (Wood Element) has the functions of a Military Leader who excels in his strategic planning, while the Gall bladder is the organ that excels through its decisions and judgment. These organs store Anger and Frustration. The Heart (Fire Element) is the Emperor of the “kingdom” who excels through insight and understanding, while the Small Intestine is the Separator of Pure from Impure. These organs store Happiness and Sadness. The Spleen (Earth Element) is the organ that is in charge of distributing and transporting the pure essence of food to all the organs, while the Stomach’s function is to receive nourishment, integrate it, and bring it to fruition. These organs store Compassion and Sympathy. The Lungs (Metal Element) are the organs that receive the pure Qi (Life Force energy) from Heaven, while the Large Intestine is the storage and the eliminator of waste. These organs store Grief (a deep and prolonged sorrow). The Kidneys (Water Element) are the storehouse of the vital essence that excel through their ability and cleverness, while the Bladder is in charge of eliminating fluid waste while helping to store the vital essence. These organs store Fear (including Phobias)