Synergistic Medicine Melding


Have you ever heard of the MBTI? It is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to determine which of 16 psychological types you are. If you’ve never taken it check it out here.

If you know about it, check out how it can be integrated with Chinese medicine’s definition of the five elements here.

The 5 Elements

And another way of viewing the 5 elements…

5 Elements

Mathias Dippl

A Fun Way To Assess Your Energy

Remember in past entries the explanation of the 5 elements of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine)? Today’s picture and link both explore more deeply this idea.

The National Qi Gong Association has a fun “test” to determine how your 5 elements are reading as they are right now.

Have fun with it and tell us about the results at your next office visit or feel free to post it on the Facebook page!

Summer Sky, Fire Bright

Summer Sky by ►CubaGallery
Summer Sky, a photo by ►CubaGallery on Flickr.

So far in the 5 element series we’ve talked about autumn, winter and spring. And so, before we say good-bye to summer, (and even though I may be slightly late in doing this) let’s talk about how Chinese medicine makes 5 element sense of this bright, yang of yang season.

Summer belongs to the fire element. The energy is expansive, the climate is hot. The following is the list of the other characteristics of fire:

Color- red
Phase- full yang
Direction- south
Life cycle- phase youth
Development- blooming
Smell- scorched
Flavor- bitter
Mental quality- creativity
Negative emotion- hate
Positive emotion- joy
Body- pulse
Aperature- tongue, throat
Body fluid- sweat
Yin organ- heart
Yang organ- small intestine
Tissue- vessels
Change- to grow
Sound of voice- laughter or lack of laughter

How do these associations strike you? Do you see a personal pattern within them? Check out the other seasons using the links above to see how they fit into the story of you.

The 5 Element You

senses by joaoloureiro
senses, a photo by joaoloureiro on Flickr.

Did you know that not all acupuncturists practice the same kind of traditional Chinese medicine? On the surface of things all acupuncturists may appear to be doing similar things, like needling and prescribing herbs, but once you know about the different styles of practice you can then recognize the differences between them.

5 element acupuncture is one of the styles of TCM practice. A 5 element practitioner will listen to your chief concern(s) but they are also going to: listen to the quality of your voice, look for a coloration around your temples and/or eyes, search for a significantly present or suspiciously absent emotion and smell your neck and/or lower back area (yes, that’s right, SMELL you). Each of these “areas” of observation will give the acupuncturist clues as to the state of your well-being and help him or her determine the best course of treatment for you.

Curious about what a 5 element treatment is like? Ask your acupuncturist what kind of treatment they practice. If they don’t practice the 5 element style they can probably help find the right 5e person for you!

The 5 Element View Of Winter


Avenue of the snowy Apple Trees

Originally uploaded by Habub3

Happy 2011! Let’s start off the year celebrating winter too. In the past, we’ve written about how the 5 element philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine makes sense of fall and spring. Now let’s take a look at winter. If you aren’t familiar with 5 element thinking, check out the two earlier posts here and here for a better idea.

Winter is the water element.

The water element concerns the kidneys and urinary bladder.

Color-black or deep blue
Sense organ-ears
Water element is responsible for-bones, teeth, marrow and nerves
Part of the eye-pupil
Tongue location- the root
body fluid- urine
Emotion- fear
Water element’s odor-putrid/rotten
Strained by- standing
Sound emitted with emotion-groan
Sound emitted with illness-yawning
Climate-cold and wet
Stage of development-death

How do all of these make sense to you? Do any seem to play a significant roll in your life for better or for worse? Have fun thinking about it!

Get ready to…..SPRING!


Happy easter!

Originally uploaded by manganite

WAKEY, WAKEY, EGGS AND BAKEY……as in bacon….. as in official waker uppers have been known to call this phrase out when it’s time to wake someone up. EVERY living thing (in the northern hemisphere that is) is waking/gearing up after the winter slumber. Maybe here in California we’re springing earlier than where you are, but never fear- SPRING IS NEAR!

Remember the earlier blog post with the list of nature/human associations the Chinese observed about fall? It’s time to list the spring relationships:

Yin Organ                         Liver

Yang Organ                      Gall Bladder

Sense Organ                      Eyes

Tissue                                Tendons

Taste                                   Sour

Color                                   Green

Sound                                 Shouting

Odor                                     Rancid

Emotion                             Anger/Frustration/Depression

Season                                Spring

Environment                   Wind

Developmental Stage     Birth

Direction                            East

Body Type                          Tall and slender with strong bones and joints

These are the wood characteristics often used when thinking in a 5 element fashion.  Do any carry more than usual significance for you? Think about it!

Walking into Autumn


Lime Tree Avenue

Originally uploaded by D-Kav

Hey Everyone!
Fall is just around the corner and it made me want to review how the philosophy of the 5 elements makes sense of this time of year.

5 element acupuncture is an  understanding of the interconnected relationships of things in the world and their relation to humans. Recognizing these relationships came about because of  hundreds of years of observation of the natural world. The philosophy grew out of a time when more humans were more intimately connected to nature.  In other words, enough people  sat around observing their surroundings long enough to realize there are unique connections between certain things, people and the seasons. Acupuncturists use the knowledge of these relationships to help diagnose and treat their patients but the information can be used by everyone to better understand themselves and also to lead a more harmonious life.

For each of the five elements (earth, metal, water, wood, fire) there is a  group of  related things. The element of fall is metal. Metal represents functions in a declining state much like the season fall is the time of the decline of the energy of the year’s growing season. Or, as we humans sometimes say as we get older, that we are in the autumn of our years. The ancient Chinese observed that the character of metal is to descend and be clear. Within the human body the metal element is concerned with the balanced health of the lungs and large intestine. Imbalance of respiratory health or large intestine health would be diagnosed as an imbalance of the metal element. The following is a fairly complete list of the other observed items of connection to this element taken from the Student Manual on the Differentiation and Treatment of the Zang Fu Syndromes by Tyme L.Ac. How best to use this information? Start with seeing if there are there any aspects of metal that stand out for you. Do any play significant roles in the story of you or you in connection to the world around you? Think about it!
Flourishes-body hair
Tissue-skin and mucous membranes
Physiognomy-cheeks and nostrils
Eye- the sclera (the white part!)
Tongue-posterior of tip
Pulse- floating
Emotion-sorrow, grief
Odor-rotten, as in fishy
Flavor-pungent and spicy
Metal is strained by- lying
Metal’s sound in relation to an emotion-weeping or wailing
Sound emitted in relation to an illness-coughing
Metal’s sense is smell
Climate-dryness and cold
Numbers- 9 and 4
Tendency- down
Ministries- justice
Classes- mammals
Instruments- t-square
Covering- hairy
Wild animal- bird
Grain- rice, oats
Veggie- tall green ones
Fruit- peach
Cooking- to bake

Happy fall!