The Five Elements
The Five Elements are Earth, Metal, Water, Fire and Wood.
EARTH is associated with Late Summer, (Harvest time), and with the reaping of the harvest of our plans in our lives, in our work and in our families. Earth gives us the ability to take care of ourselves and others, and to feel sympathy for the suffering of others. When we are well-nourished by healthy food, stimulating information and the loving care of others, we feel secure, grounded and content.
METAL is represented by Autumn, when the trees let go of their leaves. Like the trees, we need to be able to let go of old beliefs, old possessions, old relationships, the past. Metal also gives us the ability to take in, to be inspired, to see the Divine within us and around us. Metal goes with the grief we feel when we don’t recognize our own value, can’t let go of the past, and aren’t inspired. Metal gives value to our lives.
WATER is associated with Winter, when rain and snow replenish the reserves that spring will draw upon. We also have reserves within us that give us the will and determination to move forward in life. Excessive demands on or squandering of our reserves of energy, money or abilities can make us fear for our survival. We must relax and rest and replenish our reserves.
WOOD is associated with Spring and growth, with having a vision for our lives, with planning and decision-making and the anger and frustration we feel when thwarted. It gives us the ability to set goals and be decisive, but also to be flexible and adapt easily. We need to be able to move forward in life like the way Spring creates the whole future of the year.
FIRE goes with Summer, with the maturing of our lives, our plans and our visions. It is associated with joy and our ability to communicate have relationships, make friends, love and be loved, and have fun. It gives us the joy of a keen and lively intelligence. We feel connected to life all around us.It is the season of the birds and the bees - the season of love!
Just as the Five Elements all exist in nature they are also inside of us, as we are a microcosm of nature. If you consider the care required to tend a garden, certain plants need more water, richer soil, and more sun than other plants. Some do better in the shade, need less water and require fewer nutrients. We humans are the same way. Classical Five Element Acupuncture (CF-EA) brings all of this into focus. If one of the Elements becomes imbalanced we need to restore the right balance of all the elements in order to be in health. One of the joys of Classical Acupuncture is that irrespective of the symptom we are able to find the cause of the energy imbalance and correct it – this causes the symptoms to improve and in many cases to disappear.
Relying on natural laws, CF-EA recognizes that the health of your entire body, mind and spirit must be taken into account in order to fully diagnose the cause of your illness. Only then can the most effective help be offered to you so that you can regain your balance and health on all levels.
The Cause of the Imbalance
How we find the Cause of the Imbalance – each Element we described earlier expresses itself through us; when an imbalance occurs the classical acupuncturist will look to the elements to find the cause:
- a specific odour is emitted from the body of the person
- the predominant sound of the voice tells us which element is out of balance
- the colour on the face expresses the imbalance
- the person will expresss him/herself using one predominant emotion rather than being comfortable in all emotions
This all points to one of the elements being out of balance and the ancient Chinese saw the symptom/disease as a distress signal from the Elements saying ‘please help me’.
This type of diagnosis is very special and allows us to get to the core of the problem quickly restoring the person to good health again. Because the treatment goes to the root of the problem and addresses the person on all levels – the person may also start to notice that they are in better humour/enjoying more energy and have a better outlook on life.