Within Chinese theory, there is a understanding that there are five seasons – Sumner, autumn, winter, spring, (the four main) and late summer. Associated to each of these seasons there is an elemental energy. These are known as the Wu Xing (five elements or five phases)- Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood elements . By witnessing nature, we can see these five energies are around us and see how these same energies are reflected within our own bodies and personalities.
Patterns of the Phases / Elements of Chinese Medicine
When the Wood element is balanced it will allows one to have a clear vision, decisive goals. The person will have a tendency to be focused and dynamic. Whilst an excessive or stagnant wood individual can rigid, dogmatic, arrogant, and even air on the side of angry (shouting or easy to lose temper). Wood persons may suffer from digestive problems like bloating, irregular periods and possible temple headaches.
Inadequacy Wood can cause people to be without direction, indecisive, and unable to express their emotions, especially anger. Migraine headaches, eye problems, sinusitis, and male or female hormonal problems are often due to imbalances of Wood, as are allergies in the spring and many muscle problems or pain that doesn’t clear up with other therapies.
This element gives people charisma and the ability to take charge. It provides joy, passion, and compassion. Laughter is the sound associated with Fire. When Fire is excessive or stagnant, people may have hypertension, palpitations, and inflammation of the joints and muscles, tend to chronic infections, and not tolerate hot weather.
People with weak Fire tend toward feeling “blue,” or depressed, and anxious. Weak Fire results in feeling cold, constant fatigue, and a lack of sexual desire or feeling. They will tend to feel uncomfortable and may stutter or talk too much or inappropriately. Insomnia is often related to deficient Fire.
Earth is associated with the qualities of nurturing, acceptance, compassion, and magnanimity. Too much Earth can result in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It can cause people to be smothering in their relationships and have foggy-headed
Weak Earth can lead to constant worry, obsessive thinking, eating disorders, low blood sugar, sugar craving, underweight or other sign of poor absorption, and emotional coldness. Feeling like there is never enough can be due to deficient Earth. Weak Earth also can result in fatigue, diarrhoea, gas and bloating, food allergies, and heartburn.
Organization, self-discipline, persistence, and conscientiousness are qualities related to balance Metal. Acceptance and acknowledgement are also qualities of Metal.
Excessive or stagnant Metal can result in excessive and prolonged grief and/or sadness along with the inability to let go. An overly critical nature can be from excessive Metal. Deficient Metal energy is weak, there can be illnesses of the lungs – asthma, allergies, and frequent colds.
Imbalances of Metal can lead to skin problems (rashes, psoriasis, and eczema) and digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, or inflammatory bowel diseases. Metal moves chi energy through the meridians, so when Metal is out of balance fatigue can result.
Deficient Water results in coldness, fatigue, lack of energy and libido, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and weakness of joints. Dark circles or “bags” under the eyes denote deficient water. Groaning, or sighing, is the sound of deficient Water associated with exhaustion.
Winter is the season for Water and represents the need to have enough rest and relaxation in our lives to replenish our reserves of Water and regenerate our body and spirit.