Elements, seasons, colors, emotions, times of day, cardinal directions, tastes, orifices, sense organs, sounds, smells, and dreams are all congruencies of the Five Elements relating to personal health according to Chinese Medicine. Based on observations of the natural world, ancient Chinese people recognized continuous patterns of transformation and change in the universe. The five elements theory evolved from the study of various processes, functions, and phenomena of nature.
The five element principle developed upon the concept that the Ch'i energy goes through cyclic transformations and health could be based on the harmonious balanced cyclic interaction of these Elements within the body and around us. The Chinese believe that everything in life is concordant with these five Elements.
Each of the five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, contain their own specific characteristics and properties. Each element also has a corresponding season and color, and when an organ meridian is in an extreme state, being either hyperactive (excessive) or hypoactive (deficient), it may lead a practitioner to examine a bigger picture to determine causes of imbalance in the meridian system. As each element has a corresponding color, an acupressurist or acupuncturist may look for the subtle hues of these colors related to specific organ meridians in your face upon examination. However, the colors you are drawn to or despise in everyday life may also be an indication of meridian imbalance.
Do you have a favorite color? Does it change over time? Take green for example. Personally, it is my current favorite color and I see it all around me in my clothes, backpacks, plants, herbs and accents. My logic may go something like this...my favorite color green points to the Wood Element and relates to the Liver And Gall Bladder. The Liver has, according to Chinese philosophy, the function of a military leader who excels in strategic planning, and the Gall Bladder occupies the position of an upright official who excels through decisions and judgment.
I may ask myself if I've been trying to control circumstances in my life or I am over-planning the details. I notice that in the last couple of weeks I've had an uncharacteristic stiff neck, which is characteristic of the Wood Element (Liver and Gall Bladder). What was I doing these last two weeks? Well, I was looking for a new car, preparing to sell the old car, while simultaneously preparing my house for open houses, writing blogs, and working a full schedule of clients. The extreme emotions of the Liver are anger and shouting, and I have to admit I felt like that a few times during this whole process. Wow, that's a lot! It makes sense to me that I'm so incredibly drawn to green right now. Such a cool insight into my well-being, indicating excessive liver imbalance according to five element acupuncture, or acupressure. Look around you and you may discover some cool insights about yourself!
As an acupressurist in this scenario, I would work acupoints along the liver and gall bladder meridians, along with any other meridians that are out of balance. These details about a client may be a good indication of a general direction that would be appropriate once the body is assessed as a whole and the pulses have been taken. I would also pay attention for a very subtle hue of green coming from the client's face to further confirm liver imbalance.
Extreme emotions are also an incredible tool for evaluating meridian imbalances in clients. Often times and in a general sense, it will be "I'm so tired and my low back is killing me" (Kidneys/Water). "I've gained weight, I feel so ungrounded, and I can't stop worrying about my future" (Spleen-Pancreas/Earth)...and so on as an indication to explore the possibility of associated organ meridian and element imbalances.
Read on to find out your unique Five Element Body Type!
The Chinese believe that all things in nature occur in seasons and cycles and in a particular order. We, as humans, evolve in the same way, with growth through cycles and seasons, and it happens on a fundamental cellular level as well as a physiological one.
What's your Unique Five Element Body Type?
"Are you quick to anger or someone who keeps things bottled up? Are you naturally lean and muscular or is your body more curvy and rounded? Do you come alive in the summer sun or are you someone who loves to cocoon all winter?"
We all have aspects of all five elements yet we all have a dominant element and this is said to be our Five Element Body Type. "Our type is something we’re born with and has gifts as well as challenges associated with it. A Wood Type, for instance, can have a bit of a temper but is also very direct and productive." I thought this article was just fantastic. Reading it definitely confirmed my dominant Five Element Type and it was enjoyable and educational, including well-being advice for each type. Read on here.
And for a brief overview:
Wood Body Type: slender body, straight back.
Wood Qualities: goal setter, achiever, planner, visionary, go getter, task oriented, list maker.
Wood Downfalls: over achiever, control freak, “it’s my way or the highway” attitude. Impatient, irritable, frustrated easily.
Fire Body Type: heart shaped face, smaller hands & feet.
Fire Qualities: fun, passionate, excited, loves to laugh, the clown and life of the party, team player.
Fire Downfalls: needs constant stimulation, easily distracted and bored, can’t focus, doesn’t follow through, doesn’t like to be alone.
Earth Body Type: pear shaped, rounded buttocks
Earth Qualities: nurturer, compassionate, great listener, home body, caring.
Earth Downfalls: takes care of everyone and puts herself last, very sensitive to criticism, often a door mat, worry, over thinks.
Metal Body Type: broad squared shoulders, defined face features.
Metal Qualities: trustworthy, dependable, very hard worker, will always finish a project, follows through, strong silent type.
Metal Downfalls: difficulties in having close relationships, constant self preserving, not allowing himself to share his thoughts or feelings, feels lonely and misunderstood, tendency to feeling blue and sad.
Water Body Type: rounded baby face, soft skin.
Water Qualities: creative, self-reflective, dreamer, artistic, easy going, works better alone.
Water Downfalls: gets drained if around too many people for a long period of time, always late, no motivation, fear of failure, self doubts.
Teeguarden, Iona Marsaa. The Joy of Feeling. Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, INC., 1987. Print.
Teeguarden, Iona Marsaa. A Complete Guide to Acupressure. Idyllwild: Jin Shin Do® Foundation for Bodymind Acupressure®, 2003. Print.
Blakeway, Dr. Jill. What Type are you? The 5 Elements [Blog Post]. The YinOva Center. Retrieved from www.yinovacenter.com/blog/what-type-are-you-the-five-elements/
Cohen, Clara. (2014, October 8). The 5 Body Types in TCM [Blog Post]. AcuPro Academy. Retrieved from acuproacademy.com/the-5-body-types-in-tcm/
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Specializing in Trauma-Informed Somatic Touch, Jin Shin Do® Acupressure, & Thai Yoga Bodywork