Five Elements

An ancient Chinese theory that forms the basic foundation of Chinese medicine, along with the Yin/Yang theory. Five Elements theory states that there are five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—that have specific constructive and destructive relationships with each other. For example, wood generates fire, while water controls fire. Through the relationships among the Five Elements, all the elements control and harmonize each other. It is important to note that the Five Elements are archetypes and not “elements” as we would think of elements in the context of chemistry (hydrogen, helium, etc.). In the human body, the organs (Zang Fu) and various body parts are ascribed relationships to the Five Elements.