Wu Xing – Five Elements of Chinese Medicine

The five elements of Chinese medicine represent elements that are fundamental to the cycles of nature and as such, they correspond to elements in the human body. The Chinese meaning of Xing is the process on one thing having an affect on another, in relation to the five elements and the process cycle an example of this is:

* Wood feeds the fire.

* The fire then creates ashes which form the earth.

* In the earth metal when heated liquefies and produces water vapour.

* The water then nourishes the trees or wood.

What are the five elements?

Fire – fire in Chinese medicine relates to the heart which is the yin and the small intestine which is the yang. The fire element is also said to affect problems associated with the pericardium which is yin and which is said to represent the upper, lower and middle parts of the body and helps in circulating fluids in these areas which is yang. Over indulgence is said to be the emotion which can create an imbalance within this element.

Earth – the earth is reproductive, fertile and represents growth, the stomach is related to the earth element and represents yang. The spleen is also related and this is the yin, the stomach is related as this is the organ which begins the process of the digestive breakdown. The spleens job is to transform and transport the energy which we get from food and drink throughout our body. The emotion which is thought to have an affect and create an imbalance is pensiveness.

Metal – metal is a conductor and the lungs are associated with this element which is yin, it is associated with the lungs because they are used to transport vital energy throughout the body. The large intestine which is yang is responsible for getting rid of waste from the body and is the yang element; the emotion associated with this element is grieving or sadness.

Water – water flows and as such, the urinary bladder represents this element and is the yang element, the yin element is associated with the kidney. The bladder is used to receive, store and excrete urine with our water metabolism dissipating fluids throughout our body before accumulating in the kidneys. As the kidneys also store the essence, they are the root of both yin and yang for the entire body. Emotions such as fear and paranoia are associated with imbalances to this element.

Wood – wood is strong and well rooted and the element which represents this is the liver which is yin and the gall bladder which is yang. The livers job is to control the blood and help to regulate the control of Qi throughout the body. The emotion that can cause imbalances within the body and liver are anger and the inability to make a decision is associated with the gall bladder.