5-elementsIn Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there is a widely taught and used concept called “Five Elements.” Attributed to Tsou Yen (350 – 270 BCE), the Five Elements puts into perspective the relationships and interactions of the microcosm (human) and macrocosm (Nature). It is an archaic system of observing Life. Below is a brief and basic description on the elements and their relevant modern day relationship to human organs, emotions and even foods. In terms of foods, yin foods are cooling in nature while yang foods add heat to the body (they warm the body).

Here is the cycle of the elements, how they give birth to one another: Wood generates Fire generates Earth generates Metal generates Water (generates Wood and so forth).

Wood Element:

The element Wood houses the organs Liver (yin) and Gallbladder (yang). Wood is symbolic of the “spring” season and the color is “green.” The quality of energy is “growing” and “developing” much like a seed sprouts in the spring and the leaves bud. Foods that would be symbolic of this type of young, growing and green energy are none other than greens (lettuces such as kale and spinach and vegetables). Eat foods that are literally sprouting during this season.

The taste “sour” is assigned to the liver and gallbladder, meaning if you excessively gravitate toward sour foods you could be compensating for an energetic deficiency in those organs.

The key positive emotion is “kindness” while the negative emotion is “anger”. The body sound is “shouting” (makes sense given the anger energy). The healing sound used to calm the liver is: “Shhhhhhhhh.” You can put your hand on your liver and mentally visualize sending it green energy while inhaling a breath and when you exhale you can verbalize the sound “Shhhhhhhhh” to break up any stagnation (repeat several times). It’s important to feel your negative emotions and more so to transform your negative emotions so that energy does not remain stuck which can lead to stagnated blood flow which leads to inflammation and pain.

Taking “control” and “making decisions” are functions of the liver and gallbladder, in other words when it comes to indecisiveness that’s the gallbladder out of harmony.

Look to see signs of health problems in the “eyes” and “nails,” two body areas associated with the liver and gallbladder of the wood element.

Meridian clock hours related to the liver: 1am to 3am, so get your rest during this time in order for the liver to rejuvenate. The gallbladder hours: 11pm to 1am.

Fire Element:

The element Fire houses the organs Heart (yin) and Small Intestine (yang). Fire is symbolic of the summer season and the color is red. The quality of energy is “expanding” and “radiating.” Foods have a “blooming” quality here such as fruits (certain fruits only bloom in the summer). Many fruits have a cooling effect on the body and in the hot summer months it’s beneficial to eat cooling foods (while in the winter it’s better to eat warming foods because the body is colder).

The taste “bitter” is linked to this element, meaning if you gravitate toward bitter foods you could be compensating for an energetic deficiency in heart and small intestine organs.

Positive emotions here include: joy, love and respect. Negative emotions include: hate and impatience. When you feel hatred and/or impatience the associated organs are taking the brunt of those emotions. The sound associated here is “laughing” and so when a person laughs abnormally, he/she is suffering and masking hatred and impatience. The healing sound is: “Hawwww.” You can put your hand on your heart and mentally visualize sending it red colored energy while inhaling a breath and upon exhaling you can verbalize the sound “Hawwww” to purge stagnated energy (repeat several times).

The heart opens to the “tongue”, manifests on the “facial color” and can be seen through the “eyes”. If the eyes are glazed over, the person’s heart energy is deficient. If a person’s eyes are glowing and full of life the heart is happy. “Intuition” is a function of this element . . . trust your heart.

Meridian clock hours related to the heart: 11am to 1pm. Small intestine hours: 1pm to 3pm. Nurture these organs with the healing sounds during this time for peak performance.

Earth Element:

The element Earth houses the organs Spleen (yin) and Stomach (yang). Earth is symbolic of the “Indian Summer” season and the color is “yellow.” The quality of energy is “ripening” and “harvesting.” Yams are foods found during this season. Look to other yellowish colored foods for this season.

The taste “sweet” is assigned to the spleen and stomach, meaning if you gravitate toward sweet foods you could be compensating for an energetic deficiency in those organs.

The key positive emotions are “fairness” and “openness.” The negative emotions are “worry” and “anxiety” which deplete the spleen organ impairing its ability to function properly.

The body sound is “singing” (we can often sign or hum to mask worried thoughts). The healing sound used to calm the spleen is: “Whoooo.” You can put your hand on your spleen and mentally visualize sending it yellow energy upon inhaling a breath and then you can verbalize the sound “Whoooo” on each exhalation so as to purge stagnated energy (repeat several times). It’s important to feel your negative emotions and more so to transform your negative emotions so that energy does not remain stuck which can lead to stagnated blood flow which leads to inflammation.

“Intention” is the function of the earth element and so when we worry too much that energy overrides our ability to intend what we want which is usually the opposite of what we are worrying about. Spleen is responsible for producing blood so when it is deficient we can feel fatigued, emotions can drain us.

Look to see signs of health problems in the “lips” and “mouth,” two body areas associated with the spleen and stomach of the earth element.

Meridian clock hours related to the spleen: 9am to 11am. The stomach hours: 7am to 9am.

Metal Element:

The element Metal houses the organs Lung (yin) and Large Intestine (yang). Metal is symbolic of the “Fall” season and the color is “white.” The quality of energy is “contracting” such as the once abundantly green tree whose leaves falls. Root foods such as onions are typical of this season.

The taste “spicy / pungent” is assigned to the lungs and large intestine, meaning if you excessively gravitate toward such foods you could be making up for an energetic deficiency in those organs.

The key positive emotions are “righteousness” and “courage.” The negative emotions are “sadness” and “depression” which deplete the organs, impairing their ability to function properly.

The body sound is “weeping” (we often store grief and loss in the lungs). The healing sound used to calm the lungs is: “Ssssssss.” You can put your hand on your lungs and mentally visualize sending it white energy upon inhaling a breath and then you can verbalize the sound “Ssssssss” on each exhalation so as to purge stuck energy. It’s important to feel your negative emotions and more so to transform your negative emotions so that energy does not remain stuck which can lead to stagnated blood and qi flow which leads to inflammation and pain.

“Strength” is the function of the metal element which can be impaired in depressed persons.

Look to see signs of health problems in the “nose,” “skin” and “body hair,” body areas associated with the lung and large intestine of the metal element. For example, dry skin is linked to the energetic disharmonies of the lungs.

Meridian clock hours related to the lung: 3am to 5am. The large intestine hours: 5am to 7am.

Water Element:

The element Water houses the organs Kidney (yin) and Urinary Bladder (yang). Water is symbolic of the “Winter” season and the color is “dark blue or black.” The quality of energy is “conserving or gathering” as seen in the seeds that fell from the tree during the cycle of the metal element and are now buried in the ground. Leeks are a food found with this time.

“Salty” is the taste assigned to this element, meaning if you excessively gravitate toward such foods you could be making up for an energetic deficiency in those organs.

The key positive emotion is “gentleness”. The negative emotion is “fear” which depletes the organs, impairing their ability to function properly.

The body sound is “groaning” (we often groan when frustrated and in conflict from fear). The healing sound used to calm the organs is: “Wooooo.” You can put your hand on your kidneys and mentally visualize sending it dark blue energy while inhaling a breath and then you can verbalize the healing sound “Wooooo” on each exhalation so as to purge and stagnated energy. It’s important to feel your negative emotions and more so to transform your negative emotions so that energy does not remain stuck which can lead to stagnated blood and qi flow which leads to inflammation.

“Will power / ambition” is the function of the water element which can be impaired during fearful moments. Release your fears for optimal organ functioning.

Look to see signs of health problems in the “ears,” “bones and teeth” as well as “head hair,” body areas associated with the kidneys and urinary bladder of the water element.

Meridian clock hours related to the kidneys: 5pm to 7pm. The urinary bladder hours: 3pm to 5pm.

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