Theory of the Five Elements

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The Taoist Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements has been in use for over 2,000 years as a vehicle of diagnosis and treatment in the Chinese culture.  As the building blocks of all energy create, these are not only applied to addressing disease, but also applied in feng shui, or geomancy, and in cuisine.  In terms of acupuncture, the concept is that every human being is born with an imbalance in the Five Element system, and in turn, these imbalances cause illness in the body, mind and spirit.

The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Fire.  Within each element, there is a relationship to a color, an emotion, a direction, etc.  (See chart and table for further listings.)

Some of the Elements are yin, or female and others are yang, or male.  These are interconnected yet opposite, or complementary, forces.  We strive for a balance of the two in an ideal situation. 

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Cycle of Generation

Wood feeds Fire.

Fire creates Earth.

Earth produces Metal.

Metal enriches Water.

Water nourishes Wood.


Cycle of Overcoming

Wood penetrates Earth. 

Earth absorbs Water.

Water smothers Fire.

Fire melts Metal.

Metal chops Wood.



Wood is yang, or masculine, in nature.  Predominant attributes are strength and flexibility, generosity and idealism. 


Fire is yang, or masculine, in character and is associated with expansive energy, strength and persistence, but can also produce restlessness.


Earth is a balance of yin and yang and is centering.  Being present in the space you are in now.  Its energy is stabilizing.


Metal is yin, or feminine, in nature and has inward motion with contracting energy.  The metal element is the breath of life.


Water is a yin, or feminine, element and is representative of intelligence and wisdom.  There is a balance between water qualities being fluid and weak and the great power when water may flood the surrounding land.


 Table of Element Relationships

There is a thought association between each element and nature.

The combinations of the Five Elements you strive for and display will be your manifestation.

Think of the attributes you typically display and which attributes work toward your success? 

What are things you can do, if you are a specific type of person , to bring your outlook to one of abundance and positivity? 

Fill yourself with the qualities and attributes you desire. 

Surround yourself with the type of person you would like to be.

Listen to people you would like to emulate.

Read about the philosophies of those you admire.

Feed your mind.


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