The 5 Element Theory is fundamental to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese philosophy, fengshui, fortune telling, and martial arts. The elements are 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 who 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 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, has a sense of humor, and enjoys 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, coffee, cayene pepper, 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 instestines. 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.
A person with a Metal type body may have dry or itchy skin, lack mucus secretions, be prone to sneezing or coughing, have moles, or have varicose veins. They may be slim and symmetrical with clear and smooth skin and have delicate features.
They benefit from a diet consisting of ginger, bone broth, cauliflower, yogurt, onion, garlic, probiotics, and pears. They benefit from upper body training, swimming, and rock climbing. They also benefit from avoiding running or biking.
Water is associated with the kidneys and the bladder. Water also represents the north, the winter, and the color black.
A Water type may be cautious, introspective, private. They prefer a small circle, keeping their opinions to themselves, and being in the comfort of their home.
A person with a Water type constitution may have diminished vision or hearing, pain in the feet, loss of hair, stiffness or aching of joints, fatigue, circles under the eyes, and trouble recalling events.
They benefit from a diet consisting of berries, figs, pomegranate, grape, spinach, beans, walnuts, eggs, basil, chestnuts, and cinnamon. It is difficult for a water type to build muscle, so they benefit from endurance training such as hiking or biking.
What Type Are You?
Take our quiz to find out!
Which of these best describes your personality?
A) I am assertive, ambitious and confident, I am a leader, and I perform well under pressure.
B) I am joyful, charismatic, and boisterous, but sometimes have difficulty with boundaries and isolation.
C) I am nurturing and supportive, but often put others' needs before mine. I often overthink.
D) I am neat and orderly, and work well with goals and guidelines. I don't tend to be spontaneous, and am prone to feeling mild sadness.
E) I am honest, objective, sensible, yet cautious and introspective. I prefer a small group of friends, and am a homebody.
Which of these sets of symptoms do you experience when unbalanced?
A) Headaches, nausea, dry eyes, sensitivity to light and noise, oily skin, and tension in the neck and shoulders.
B) Excessive sweating, overheating, blushing, cravings for cold liquids, excitability, insomnia when anxious, poor circulation.
C) Rapid weight gain, difficulty losing weight, desire or avoidance of food, frequent bloating, swollen muscles or joints, lack of stamina.
D) Dry or itchy skin, sinus congestion, prone to sneezing and coughing, moles, vericose veins, constipation.
E) Diminished vision or hearing, pain in the feet, loss of hair, stiff or achey joints, fluid retention, fatigue, circles under the eyes, and memory troubles.
Which best describes your body?
A) I am tall, strong, and slim with broad shoulders. My skin has olive undertones and my face is long.
B) I have broad shoulders, but I am soft and willowy with graceful hands and feet. My hair is curly or thinning and my skin has red undertones.
C) I have a solid frame with well-built muscles, with an especially strong back and legs. I am pear shaped, my face is round, and my skin has yellow undertones.
D) I am slim and symmetrical with delicate features and clear skin. My face is square and my skin is pale, but I have a strong voice.
E) I have narrow shoulders and a long spine, but my stomach tends to be large. My face is round with big cheeks and my complexion has dark tones.
Which archetype do you identify with or feel drawn to?
A) The Pioneer
B) The Wizard
C) The Peacemaker
D) The Alchemist
E) The Philosopher
Pick a color:
Which is true for you?
A) I am not at my best when it's windy (Spring)
B) I am not at my best when it's hot (Summer)
C) I am not at my best when it's humid or damp
D) I'm not at my best when it's dry (Autumn)
E) I'm not at my best when it's cold (Winter)
Mostly A - Wood
Mostly B - Fire
Mostly C - Earth
Mostly D - Metal
Mostly E - Water
For more information on how understanding your type can improve your health, schedule an appointment here.