The Five Elements


The five elements are another tool that the Chinese medical doctor uses to obtain diagnostic information. The five elements were derived from observation of phenomenon in the natural world. The five elements are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. The relationships of these elements in the natural world were applied to the human body in the TCM framework approximately in 221 B.C. Through hundreds of years of clinical observation of patient symptoms diagnostic patterns, connections, and treatments were developed based on the five element relationships.

Each of the elements corresponds into a physical organ of the body, which in turn applies to a meridian connecting the acupuncture points. Each element also has many other correspondences in the natural world. (See Chart 1A). It is through the relationship of these correspondences that symptoms are connected into patterns and diagnoses are formed.

Chinese medicine is so unique and different from Western medicine because of its complex system of diagnosis. For instance, when a patient comes to me with insomnia, high blood pressure, red, dry, eyes, headaches and frequent heartburn all of these symptoms are part of one pattern based upon the relationship of the five elements and their corresponding organs. The patient has first too much heat in his system, which has aggravated the liver causing the qi to ascend. Heat ascending to the face will create headaches, red, dry, eyes, and high blood pressure. The heat also aggravated the heart, which is easily affected by heat and causes insomnia. Also the heat has affected to stomach causing ascending qi and the result is heartburn. Clearing the heat, soothing the liver, heart and stomach, and descending the qi can easily treat this seemingly complex patient.

During your first consultation you will answer a number of questions which will help me to determine your elemental balance. The root and core of the treatment will be to correct and maintain your elemental balance. Once natural balance is achieved your symptoms will begin to reduce and you be on the road to long term health.