Updated: Sep 12, 2022
The 5 Element Theory is fundamental to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese philosophy, fengshui, and martial arts. The elements are used to recognize patterns of symptoms as diagnostic tools. The elements are also used as metaphors to demonstrate the interconnectedness of nature and how that is reflected in the human body. This helps practitioners understand where shifts need to occur in order to restore balance. The 5 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Disclaimer: the elements are used to understand your constitution and personality type, this article is not intended to diagnose or treat.
Wood represents the liver and gallbladder. It is also associated with the east, springtime, wind, and the color green.
A person with a Wood personality type may be assertive and confident, competitive and ambitious, comfortable performing under pressure, comfortable leading and directing, and enjoys sharing their achievements with others. They may be firm and strong, but also rigid or uptight.
Wood type body constitutions may experience headaches, vertigo or nausea, dry eyes, sharp chest pains, sensitivity to bright light or loud noises, oily skin, and tension in the neck and shoulders. They may be strong and slim with a square physique.
Those with a wood type benefit from a diet with many green vegetables, fewer fats, green apples, lean meat, and pickled veggies. They may also benefit from an exercise routine consisting of yoga, stretching, tai-chi, and nature walks.
Fire represents the heart and small intestines. It is also associated with the south, the summer, heat, bitterness, enthusiasm and passion.
Fire types may be joyful and boisterous, but quick to anger. They are animated and enthusiastic, love stimulation, have a sense of humor, and enjoy giving and receiving affection. They may be soft and willowy with graceful hands and feet.
A Fire type constitution may experience excessive sweating, overheating, blushing, cravings for cold liquids, excitability, talkativeness, insomnia when anxious, vivid dreams, and waking up with anxiety.
They benefit from a diet consisting of beets, grass-fed beef, cherries, red veggies, and dark chocolate. Fire types benefit from muscle-building exercise, HIIT, core exercise, and racing. Endurance training is not beneficial for fire types.
Earth represents the stomach and spleen. It is also associated with the center or middle, the changing of the seasons, dampness, and the color yellow.
An Earth personality type may be nurturing or supportive, and agreeable and accommodating. They may put others' needs before their own and enjoy being in the company of others.
A person with an Earth type constitution may experience rapid weight gain and difficulty losing weight, desire or avoidance of food, frequent bloating, fleshy and tender muscles, weak neck, wrists, and ankles, cravings for sweet or starchy foods, swollen muscles and joints, edema, and a lack of stamina.
Earth types benefit from a diet consisting of pumpkin, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, turmeric, oranges, persimmon, papaya, honey, and potatoes. Earth types should consider biking, running, or hiking.
Metal represents the lungs and large intestines. It is also associated with the west, autumn, dryness, the color white, and roundness.
Metal personality types are neat and orderly, are secure and confident, work well with goals and guidelines, are systematic and methodical, and refrain from expressing their feelings.