Five Element Theory – The Season of Fire

Thousands of years ago, Taoists Chinese philosophers, began looking for ways to understand their health. They put together the Five Element Theory that is still used today in Oriental Medicine. Their studies included Taoist philosophies, the elements of Nature, changes of the seasons, and how these related to the changes with the body and personal health. Some of these included the types of emotions a person is prone to, food cravings, how one feels after eating, as well as how we interact with the seasons, both personal and social relationships. The Five Elements are: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. Each of these elements corresponds to a season, an emotion, body organ and surface part, attitude, mental and spirit trait, and taste.

In Chinese Five Element Theory, the element of fire is characterized by summer, warmth, vitality, a spark of life. It is the most active, lively yang time of year, a time to activate the creative projects, ideas, and spirit nature of your being. There are four energy flows Heart, Small Intestine, Triple Warmer, and Pericardium.

Heart is the "compassionate ruler” and generates movement of the spirit. Intuition is truly the inner voice of the heart. How many times have we felt that inner glow of longing only to diminish it with our thoughts of "doing the right thing”, then later, often years later felt that sense of loss? The voice of our spirit is quite often subtle and easy to ignore with the quick pace of daily life. Pericardium protects the heart from assault and regulates blood flow. A feeling of compassion for one’s self and others is the spoken through this meridian along with self-confidence and the ability to listen and follow our inner voice.

Small Intestine meridian receives, digests, and absorbs nourishment; therefore assimilation is the main theme of this energy flow. All our food is processed through our digestive tract to become ready for this vital process. Emotionally our ability to process what works or what doesn’t in our life affects this flow which can be noticed with tension or pain at our shoulders and radiating down our arms.

Triple Warmer regulates temperature and provides warmth, both in the body and spirit. This meridian has been called the "commander of all energies.” If this meridian is hypoactive one quite often notices exhaustion that makes it hard to handle stress, while hyperactivity shows restlessness and "nervous energy”.

Balance of circulation and heat is the primary function of the fire element. The natural function at a spirit level is creativity and expression of heart felt love, joy and happiness. All communication of expression from our first cry, to our first love, and finally our life’s work and walking the truth of what we have come "to believe” are channeled through the fire element.

Imbalance within the fire element can show with hot painful joints, and fevers. A lack of blood circulation shows as cold extremities, varicose veins, heart burn and digestive problems. The emotions related with the fire element are joy and sadness. Feelings of sexual coldness (the fire has gone out), and lacking emotional warmth to those close to us. Bitterness of spirit and cruelty toward yourself and others is also an expression of fire imbalance.  

To maintain balance in summer eat plenty of fruits, juices, multi-colored salads, whole grains, nuts, seeds, sea foods and avoid the heaviness of dairy and meats. Enjoy light hearted play, exercise, and drink lots of water. Finally, create time to let yourself be creative.