Having worked with the five elements, or the Five Transformations, for over 10 years, it never ceases to amaze me just how much wisdom and insight are contained within this simple and logical way of understanding change and transformation. Developed by the Chinese, over two thousand years ago, this theory that explains the various stages of change, is used extensively in healing, personal psychology, agriculture, economics, and politics, still to this day.

In terms of health the Five Transformations reveal how energy moves around the body, nourishing each organ system and every cell in the body. Sometimes referred to as the ‘acupuncture system’ each group of organs is associated with one of five elements; fire, earth, metal, water and wood.

  • Fire – Heart, circulatory system, and small intestine
  • Earth – Stomach, spleen and pancreas
  • Metal – Lungs and large intestine
  • Water – Kidneys and bladder
  • Wood – Liver and gall bladder

If each element is working at its optimum level good health exists. If one or more stage is compromised it will impact its corresponding group of organs too. For example, if someone were eating too much salt, which has a direct impact on the kidneys, they will also experience issues with the heart and small intestine.

Good health is not just being aware of the immediate physical problems, but all the underlying relationships between the organs which will influence the condition. The Five Elements form the foundation of Oriental medicine and is a basis for understanding human health and natural change.

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[Reference: Ohashi’s Book of Oriental Diagnosis (Ohashi)]