The Five Elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, are the facets of energy (Chi). True health is a harmonious balance of all these elements, waxing and waning in daily and seasonal cycles. Each one of us is a unique and distinctive combination of the influences of all five elements.
Each element is present in the universe, our bodies, and in the food we eat.
Meridians: Liver & Gallbladder
Those with strong energy of the Wood element have a clear vision and goals, and know how to bring them into being, excelling at planning and decision making. With piercing, penetrating eyes,
they can be forceful in disagreements and can strongly argue their opinions.
When Wood energy is weak, indecision and a lack of direction with regard to life may arise, coupled with an inability to express anger. When the Liver energy is congested or stagnant, arrogance, angry, and over controlling behaviour may result. Unbalanced Wood element personalities may have a tendency to be workaholics, be prone to addictions, and may have digestive problems such as bloating, flatulence, and alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Exercise and reading help restore balance.
Sour flavours benefit the Liver and Gallbladder meridians, represented by the Wood element. Autumn is the season represented by the Wood element, and vulnerable time, if out of balance. Wind is associated with Wood, and an intense love or hate of this climate indicates an imbalance within the element. The energy of the Wood element flourishes in the spring, representing new growth and beginnings.
The colour represented by this element is green.
Wood element imbalances
- Dry, brittle, thickened nails
- Pain just below the ribs
- Eye problems
- Sinus problems
- Genitals rashes & discharges
- Menstrual problems including PMS, painful periods, & heavy bleeding
- Uterine fibroids
Meridians: Heart, Small Intestines, Pericardium & Triple Burner
Charismatic Fire energy personalities excel at commanding others to action, loving to chat and socialize.
Weak Fire energy will dilute the above traits, resulting in lacklustre or bland behaviour, anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. They may stutter, talk too much and too rapidly, or laugh nervously, they may be over excitable, easily stimulated to excesses, or alternately, emotionally cold and unfeeling. People strongly influenced by the Fire element may be sensitive to very hot weather, and may find walking calming and centring. The fire element is associated with the favour bitter, and healthy choices are green leafy vegetables, herbs and teas.
Fire element imbalances
- Heart problems
- Sores on the mouth and tongue
- Stuttering and speech impediments
Meridians: Stomach & Spleen/ Pancreas
Earth element personalities are well-grounded, nurturing, and compassionate people, represented by the Earth Mother. Earth elements are excellent mediators and reliable friends. They love preparing food and the pleasure of eating, and you may be attracted to their generous mouth and full, sensuous lips.
Earth Imbalance Weakness in the Earth element may result in worrying and meddling. These personalities may overwork, and physically, are vulnerable to digestive problems and diarrhoea. They may gain weight easily and lose it with difficulty. Their bodies have a tendency to make excessive mucus, and they may suffer from cloudy, unclear thinking.
Those with weak Earth energy often feel better when they limit cold, raw foods and dairy products, rather choosing warming foods and grains. Typically, Earth elements crave sweets, which can healthily be satisfied by eating sweet grains, vegetables, and fruits rather than processed and refined sugars.
The energy of the Earth element flourishes in Indian Summer, the last 10 days of each season, characterised by warm, sunny weather. Yellow is the colour associated with the Earth element. Sitting meditation is said to strengthen the Earth element.
Earth element imbalances
- Gas & bloating
- Food allergies & sensitivities
- Eating disorders
- Canker sores
- Menstrual problems
Meridians: Lung & Large Intestine
Well balanced Metal personalities are organized, self disciplined, and very conscientious. Loving structure in their life, they are comfortable in situations where they know the rules and can succeed by following them. Metal energy gives a deep inner strength, like ore within mountains.
Emotional Metal energy imbalances may result in excessive grief, sadness, and anxiousness, echoing the emotions of worry and anxiety, represented by the this element. They may be excessively critical and have trouble letting go. The Metal energy peaks in the cool, crisp, clean air of autumn, a time when Metal personalities feel they can accomplish anything. The colour of Metal is white, representing purity, cleanliness and minimalism. Those strongly influenced by the Metal energy may have pale complexions. The Lung meridian also rules the skin, known in Chinese medicine as the third lung, it too breathes.
Metal element imbalances
- Frequent colds
- Sweating-related problems
- Chronic constipation/ diarrhoea
- Bowel diseases
Foods for Metal
Tofu, rice, raw onions, garlic, radish, turnip, kohlrabi, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, scallions, cloves, fennel, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, mustard, basil, nutmeg are considered metal foods, and have a dispersing effect, promoting circulation.
Meridians: Kidney & Bladder
Water energy is a powerful generative force, represented by the Kidney & Bladder meridians. Strong Water personalities are fearless, determined, and able endure many hardships in pursuit of their goals. A strong will power and longevity are associated with healthy Water energy, signified by large, elongated ear lobes, like those of Buddha.
The colour of the Water element is black, and when Kidney energy starts to weaken, dark circles will appear under the eyes,. Indicating an imbalance within this element. The Water element rules in the winter, a time to focus on keeping warm, and slowing down.
Water element Imbalances
- Problems with water metabolism
- Sexuality issues
- Fears & phobias
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Dry skin
- Dry mucous membranes
- Cold extremities
- Declining sexual vigour
- Urinary frequency
What you eat and drink has an enormous impact on your health and on the condition of your energy.
As your natural health-care practitioner, I will advise you about foods,
supplements and lifestyle recommendations to complement your treatment
and inspire your body to look and feel its best.
MERIDIAN THERAPY AND REFLEXOLOGY
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy is circulated throughout the body through a delicate system, known as meridians. In Western medicine, the concept could be likened to blood flowing through the circulatory system, or drainage through the lymphatic system. There are 12 main meridians in the body, six yin and six yang, each relating to an organ.
To more clearly visualize the concept of energy and the meridians, think of the meridians as a river-bed, through which water flows and irrigates the land – feeding, nourishing and sustaining the substances flowing through it. Now imagine a dam placed at any point along this river, the nourishing effect that the water has on the whole river will stop at this point.
The same is true in relation to energy and the meridians. When energy becomes blocked, the rest of the body that was being nourished by the continuous flow, will suffer. Illness and disease can result if this flow is not restored.
Modern reflexology’s school of thought acknowledges a strong link between these acupuncture meridians and reflexology, maintain that disease is caused by blockages in the meridians and can be treated by clearing these.
The six main meridians that run through the feet have, consequently, been included in the theory and practice of reflexology. Through an understanding of the working of these energy pathways, therapeutic reflexology is an effective tool to restore the flow of energy, clearing blockages and preventing disease.