The 5 Elements (I prefer to call them Phases or Cycles) of Chinese Medicine are often discussed but not accurately understood. Many people are excited about Chinese Medicine and want to share it, but the lack of depth in understanding Chinese medical theory has left a gaping hole in most of the teachings on Chinese medicine.
When we talk about the 5 Elements/Phases we are not only discussing the dynamic changes that occur within the body, mind and spirit during each season (and during the transition time between seasons), but also the myriad of colors, emotions, spiritual entities and other correspondences that accompany the “elements.”
Our current interpretation of the 5 Elements is from the Warring States period, when 5 factions were fighting for control. This directly affected how we applied the elements to daily life.
I prefer the classical interpretation, when Earth is represented as the 18 day period between each season, a time of transition and preparation for the season ahead. This makes more sense to me than Earth as “late summer” where it seems to be placed just to serve ideology instead of seasonal shifts. In a later blog, I will go deeper into the 5 Elements and the emotions, colors, sounds and other associations.
For more information on the theories of Chinese Medicine, check out The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (NeiJing SuWen) translated by Maoshing Ni. It is the foundational text of Chinese medicine and is a fascinating read.
when energy flows, wellness grows