Learn all about the Chinese Medicine 5 Element System
What is Your Archetypical Element?
Chinese medicine uses the five elements to identify constitutional archetypes based on your individual characteristics and body type. The five elements consist of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Most people have a varying degree of traits from each element but fall predominantly into one category.
Identifying your element can clue you in on beneficial lifestyle adjustments, diet and which health related concerns to look out for based on your personal constitution.
You can also use the knowledge of the 5 element system to identify which part of your life can use more balance. Having a healthy balance of all 5 elements is ideal.
WOOD ELEMENT: Element of Growth & Expansion
The wood element is associated with spring and represents the upward movement and growth of sprouting trees. It has an expansive and rising energy. The wood element embodies assertiveness, planning, and vision for the future. Those who are constitutionally wood archetypes are born leaders, like to take charge and are often referred to as a “type A” personality. When balanced, they can be quite organized and able to look ahead to plan accordingly. Physically, they display a long face with chiseled features, assertive direct voices and a straight forward style of communicating.
A healthy wood element allows us to be driven and full of purpose.
Because wood is a rising energy, those who have strong wood elemental qualities must be on the lookout for symptoms associated with overwork and increased levels of stress such as high blood pressure, migraines, stiff muscles and PMS.
To balance and nurture the wood element, it is best to take time out for meditation, reflection and practice yin(inward) exercises such as yoga, stretching or tai chi. Exercise and moving the body often will help to circulate the Qi and blood flow and prevent stagnation.
FIRE ELEMENT: Muse of Excitement & Creativity
The fire element is an explosive, warm , passionate and playful energy associated with summer. Fire people are typically the life of the party, tend to be talkative and can be quite "lit up” at times. They enjoy the five senses and pleasures of artwork, beauty and nature. Fire people smile and laugh often during speech and may even have a tendency to laugh during stressful or hard situations. On the flip side, when out of balance, if their fire is extinguished, they can withdrawal or want to isolate themselves. Because fire is fast moving and spreads easily, those who possess strong fire constitution traits must focus on staying grounded, and act step by step to avoid becoming scattered or overwhelmed. The physical appearances of a fire element person are a red complexion, small hands, fast walking with a small face and chin.
A healthy expression of the fire element is feeling inspired, creative and enthusiastic about life.
When fire is out of balance, this element can have a predisposition to poor circulation, heart palpitations, anxiety or skin flare ups.
To keep fire energy in balance it is recommended to practice good sleep hygiene; being in bed before 11pm, meditating for inward reflection, avoiding spicy foods, and planning ahead to prevent loss of focus.
EARTH ELEMENT: Grounded, Reliable & Practical
Those under the earth element constitution, related to late summer, are the world’s nurturers. Earth people having a caring and somewhat motherly way about them, often put the needs of others before their own. They are grounded, reliable, practical, and empathetic. The Earth element native thrives in playing the supporting role and enjoys being of assistance. They derive a sense of joy from the comfort of home and activities such as cooking, crafts and spending time in nature. Earth element physical features are a square facial structure, curvy bodies and a soft complexion.
This element is associated with the spleen & stomach and when out of balance are prone to digestive issues, weight gain, bloating and food allergies.
A healthy expression of Earth energy is staying rooted and nurturing toward others while practicing boundaries - being able to say no. To preserve and strengthen Earth, it is important to give to others yet keep your own cup full.
METAL ELEMENT: Sharp, Clean & Discerning
Metal element is associated with sharpness, structure and living a focused, stable life. Those with strong metal element characteristics display a beautiful sense of style and a keen knack for design and organization. The metal element is known for being neat and upholding a strong sense of integrity and self discipline. When metal is in balance, there is an ability to think and act methodically and to be rational and logical in one’s affairs . Metal element people tend to be tall with broad shoulders and chiseled cheekbones.
In Chinese medicine, the metal element relates to the lungs. When the metal element is in good shape, we are able to let go (exhale) the past and release what no longer serves us while inhaling the present moment.
To better cultivate and strengthen the metal element, it is recommended to practice proper breathing in everyday life. It is important to take deep breaths into the lower abdomen while being aware of the situations that cause constricted, shallow breathing. It is also encouraged to engage in cardiovascular exercise regularly to strengthen the lung function and enhance immunity.
WATER ELEMENT: Intellectual Mind, Flexible Nature
The water element offers an air of mystery and depth. A constitutional water native has a "go with the flow" personality and a deep sense of inner knowing and intuition. They are the wise-one who enjoys spending time alone studying and often has a philosophical attitude toward life. Though they are flexible and yielding, they are still very much self sufficient and determined to achieve their purpose. The water element can be quiet and seek the peace of nature as a form of escape. Physically, they have round features and deep eyes.
The Water element is related to the kidneys/adrenal system. When out of balance, this energy can become exhausted displaying signs of aging such as dark circles under the eyes, low back & knee pain and chronic exhaustion. It is important for those who fall under the water constitutional element to seek warm nourishing food, tonifying herbal supplementation and plenty of rest.
In order to strengthen the water element, it is recommended to preserve your kidney function by getting ample sleep, knowing when to take a break and finding ways to healthily manage stress to avoid burnout.
For more information on the 5 elements & how it relates to your health or if you are interested in acupuncture for more balance, please visit our contact page or call (818) 815- 9126 to get in touch with Jenna Vitale L.Ac. for a free phone consultation.