Chinese Elements

The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine strategies can be extremely powerful for both physical and emotional conditions. Helping people see themselves through this lens is one of my great joys in life.
If you haven’t taken the quiz to find out your element yet, click here.
If you’re intrigued by the bodymind connection, check out my learn-from-home courses.

Chinese element fireFire

Like fire itself, you are warm, charismatic, and lively; and everyone wants to gather around and bask in your glow — which is great, because you love being in the spotlight. Your enthusiasm is infectious and you tend to uplift the people around you. You also like lots of stimulation and tend to get bored easily.

The Fire Element corresponds with the organ of the heart in Chinese Medicine. The heart governs the circulation of blood just like the heart you know and love, but its bigger job, according to Chinese Medicine, is to house the consciousness. When you’re on overdrive, you can be easily distracted, have difficulty focusing and sleeping, and feel anxious.

Though you thrive in social situations, you need to take care not to burn yourself out. Even extroverts like you need some down time; some time alone every day will help you to stay grounded in your deepest priorities, rather than whatever seems most interesting in the moment. Grounding your feet on the floor and breathing deep into your lower abdomen can help keep you balanced.


Chinese element woodWood

Like a plant in the springtime, you have all kinds of energy to start projects and turn dreams into reality. An over-acheiver, you like being in control (because you know you’ll do it right), and people can count on you get s**t done.

In Chinese Medicine, the Wood Element is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder, which is in charge of the free flow of qi around the body, and the free flow of emotions, and everything happening in a relaxed way, on time. As a Wood type, you might be prone to things like migraine headaches, tight neck and shoulder muscles, mind racing at night, waking up at 2 AM, IBS, and major PMS.

Because you’re so driven, you may find it difficult to relax or to do things that aren’t “productive.” Remembering to take time to just be (not just “do”) is especially important for you. One great way to do without doing is to take a few minutes each day for conscious breathing, meditation, or qigong. Here’s one suggestion to help balance you out: lie with your legs up the wall and breathe deep into your lower abdomen for 5-10 minutes a day.


Chinese element earthEarth

You are caring, loyal, and supportive. You are a dependable rock and the glue that holds your family together much like the Earth itself. Your people-oriented nature helps you maintain harmony at work and at home.

Because of your generous and caring nature, it’s easy for you to put others’ needs before your own. This often leads to you feeling tired, heavy, and looking for quick fix in the form of carbs and sugar or caffeine. Your challenge area is your digestive tract: gas, bloating, loose stool or constipation are frequent issues for you. It can also be hard for you to let go of worrying about other people, but this is a habit you can break.

Practice being as sweet to yourself as you are to others and repeat after me: “self-care is not selfish.”


Chinese element metalMetal

Organized and efficient, you have exquisite taste and an eye for beauty. Your friends envy your sense of style, but question your love of office supplies. You have a strong sense of right and wrong and you are an admirably ethical person.

Because the Metal element corresponds with the Lungs and Large Intestine, you might be prone to asthma, allergies, frequent sore throats and nasal congestion, and constipation.

Sometimes that logical brain of yours thinks it’s the only game in town; giving yourself permission and time to feel your feelings will free you from holding onto them. Your tendency to see things as either black or white sometimes makes your judgment a bit harsh, especially towards yourself.

Practice letting go and softening with a 4-7-8 breathing pattern: inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, exhale for 8.


Chinese element waterWater

You are a deep and perceptive thinker, concerned with discovering your purpose and living a meaningful life. You are drawn to meditation and spirituality, solving mysteries, and wrestling with important questions. You are sensitive to other people’s energy, and enjoy having lots of quiet time to yourself. Your friends can count on you tell them the honest truth, even if it’s tough to hear.

The Water Element relates to the Kidney system in Chinese Medicine, which governs the reproductive and urinary systems, as well as the lower body in general. So you might have issues with frequent urination, lower back or knee pain, low libido, infertility, and adrenal exhaustion.

Getting time for yourself is key: daily practice of qigong, meditation, yoga, is very important for you. But with too much time alone, you can run the risk of feeling withdrawn and detached from others, so make sure you’re also cultivating connections with those who really matter.

Five Elements table

Use your body to relax your mind.

Download two free breathing meditations:

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