UNDERSTANDING the Chinese Five Elements

Jul 12, 2013
Posted by Larry Burk | 6 comments

My understanding of the Chinese five elements comes from local acupuncturists Ian Florian, Andy Prescott and Lori Fendell and from Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfield and Korngold, Acupuncture Energetics by Joe Helms and Nourishing Destiny by Lonny Jarrett.  Clinical application of these principles is illustrated in my July 2013 Let Magic Happen newsletter Physician Acupuncture at Duke. A general approach that you can use for your own health issues is summarized in the 9 minute video below.

Excerpted from the Appendix of Let Magic Happen.
3. The Chinese Five Elements - clinical chart

The steps are as follows:
1) Consider the cyclic progression in nature, with water growing into wood, burned by fire and falls to earth as ash, out of which comes metal that dissolves back into water.
2) Pick your favorite season of the year, from winter to spring to summer to fall, which is split into the two distinct seasons of harvest and autumn.
3) Pick your favorite color for clothes or decorating, from black/dark blue to green to red to yellow to white.
4) Categorize any organ illnesses according to water (kidney/bladder), wood (liver/gall bladder), fire (heart/small intestine), earth (spleen/stomach), and metal (lung/large intestine).
5) Pick your favorite time of day, the hours when you are most productive, from night to morning to noon to afternoon to evening.
6) Pick your favorite flavor, from salty to sour (citrus) to bitter (dark chocolate) to sweet (milk chocolate) to spicy (ginger).
7) Categorize your baseline psychological state/pathological exaggeration, from willful/fearful to anxious/angry to joyful/manic to introspective/worried to melancholy/depressive.
8) Categorize your role/skill on a team, from philosopher/imagination to pioneer/initiative to wizard/communication to peacemaker/negotiation to alchemist/decisive.