Five Element Framework
Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM’s) Five Element framework is ancient and Universal in what it embodies. The Five Elements are deeply woven into the fabric of Chinese culture. In fact, Five Element theory is the foundation of Chinese disciplines such as feng shui, the martial arts, and the I Ching (The Book of Changes, a text also Universal in its understanding and representation of the dynamic balance of opposites and the processes of unfolding events and change).
The Five Elements are a comprehensive template that organizes all natural phenomena into five master groups or patterns in nature. Each of the five groups, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water include categories such as a season, a direction, climate, stage of growth and development, internal organ, body tissue, emotion, aspect of the soul, taste, color, sound. The Five Elements reflect a deep understanding of natural law, the Universal order underlying all things in our world.
This theory speaks about how all things are connected. Everything within each element is related. Let’s take the Water element as an example. Look at the Five Element diagram: Water is related to winter, a cold climate, the north, the color black, the Kidneys, the emotion fear. These are things that share a deep, sometimes invisible, connection to each other. When it is winter there is a cold essence, it relates to and impacts in some way the Kidneys, the emotion fear is linked, though not always in an obvious, visible way.
The Five Elements are five fundamental energies in nature in motion. There is a dynamism between them; they are not static. Within the structure of the Five Elements there are two fundamental relationships: generation and support. Without the balancing nature of these two relationships, things would fall out of order in a flash.
When the Five Elements speak about generation, it means a relationship that nurtures and promotes growth. Think of a mother and child. The mother gives birth to her child and provides her energy to ensure the growth of her child. An example of generation is the relationship between the Kidney and the Liver. (Kidney generates Liver).
Support, in terms of the Five Elements, represents a relationship that acts as a restraining energy or force, making sure that things do not grow too quickly or slowly, neither too strong nor too weak. Without support, things would fall out of proportion; balance would be lost.
Five Major Organs
Modern quantum science as well as the ancient teachings of Chinese medicine say that everything is energy. Everything that makes up a human being, mind-body-spirit, correlates at an energetic level to something “external” in nature. We can use the vibrational frequency of nature and these principles of natural law to heal and balance our bodies and emotions.
This principle of interconnectedness also applies between different physical aspects of our bodies. For example, the Kidney organ correlates with the tissue of bone/teeth, the sensory taste of salt, the sensory organ of the ear, and the areas of the lower back, knees, and the heels/feet.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the Liver is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions. Feel it, express it, but don’t hold it! Are you often irritable? Do things stress you out easily? Your Liver is telling you that its function is becoming out of balance.
True cardiovascular health is not just about physical fitness, it’s about deep contentment with one’s life and destiny. Happiness and love are often associated with the Heart representing a state of peacefulness. Stress or lack of self-expression can directly impact this organ’s function.
Chronic stress, worry, and anxiety can damage Stomach function very quickly. Without the proper functioning of the Stomach and its partner organ the Spleen, you can easily begin to suffer from poor digestive health and low metabolism function.
Too much sadness and grieving can harm the Lung and its partner, the Large Intestine. “Letting things go” is a healthy way to stimulate your Lung’s function and get rid of physical and emotional baggage.
The Kidney is the “reserve generator” of energy in the body, supplying extra Qi to all the organs when necessary. Its corresponding emotion of fear can be a red flag that these powerhouses of the body are themselves low on Qi and working too hard.