medical consultation

The Five Element Theory


The Five Element Theory

December 17, 2020

If you are a current patient, you’ve likely filled out our “Symptom Index” form. As you were checking off boxes that apply to you—you might have thought “What does this have to do with my visit!?” This form is related to the Five Element Theory, which is derived from Chinese Medicine. The theory outlines the relationship between the different elements in nature and the life force, or “qi,” that flows through them. The Five Element theory describes wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as the basic elements of the material world. In Chinese medicine, elements help us understand the patient and their personality. It also helps us determine the best and most effective treatment plan.

What are the Five Elements?

The 5 Elements are continually evolving and changing within you, and some elements become stronger and more dominant at different stages in life. The five elements help explain physiology and pathology within the body. Each element has unique characteristics and are associated with season, weather, color, personality type, and symptoms/disease states.



If you are a “Wood Personality,” you may be someone who is athletic, energetic, and adventurous. The body type of a wood personality is generally well-muscled. Wood personalities tend to be anxious and angry. Wood personalities may suffer from orthopedic issues, TMJ, migraines, or ADD.

  • Organs: Liver & Gallbladder
  • Season: Spring
  • Weather: Wind
  • Direction: East
  • Emotion: Anger
  • Color: Blue/Green
  • Taste: Sour
  • Sound: Shouting
  • Sense Organ: Eye
  • Sensation: Vision
  • Body Tissue: tendons, sinews



A “fire personality” consists of someone who is passionate, creative, and authoritative. Their body structure may be round in the middle with a pointy top. Fire personalities tend to be impulsive and irritable. Fire personalities may suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure, chest pains, or headaches.

  • Organs: Heart, Small Intestine
  • Season: Summer
  • Weather: Heat
  • Direction: South
  • Emotion: Joy
  • Color: Red
  • Taste: Bitter, Burned
  • Sound: Laughing
  • Sense Organ: Tongue
  • Sensation: Taste
  • Body Tissue: Vessels



An “earth personality” is someone who is nurturing, generous, and care giving. Their body structure may be round and fleshy. Earth personalities tend to be worrisome and pensive. Earth personalities may suffer from abdominal issues or hormonal problems.

  • Organ: Spleen, Stomach
  • Season: Late Summer/Harvest
  • Weather: Damp
  • Direction: Center
  • Emotion: Worry
  • Color: Yellow
  • Taste: Sweet
  • Sound: Singing
  • Sense Organ: Mouth, Lips
  • Sensation: Touch
  • Body Tissue: Muscles, Flesh



A “metal personality” is someone who is meticulous, honest, and responsible. Their body structure may be somewhat angular and tall. Metal personalities tend to be melancholy. Metal personalities may suffer from constipation, lung & skin issues, or allergies.

  • Organ: Lung, Large Intestine
  • Season: Autumn
  • Weather: Dry
  • Direction: West
  • Emotion: Grief
  • Color: White
  • Taste: Spicy
  • Sound: Weeping
  • Sense Organ: Nose
  • Sensation: Smell
  • Body Tissue: Skin



Water personalities are old souls. They are wise, reflective, and private. Their body structure may be puffy and round. Water personalities tend to be indecisive, fearful, and paranoid. Water personalities may suffer from back pain, knee pain, and kidney & bladder infections.

  • Organ: Kidney, Bladder
  • Season: Winter
  • Weather: Cold
  • Direction: North
  • Emotion: Fear
  • Color: Black, Dark Blue
  • Taste: Salty
  • Sound: Groaning
  • Sense Organ: Ear
  • Sensation: Hearing, Balance
  • Body Tissue: Bone, marrow (CNS)


The Elements are all connected. Wood feeds Fire, Fire makes Earth, Earth creates Metal, Metal holds Water, and Water nourishes Wood. Wood roots Earth, Earth dams Water, Water extinguishes Fire, Fire melts Metal, and Metal cuts Wood. Each element both controls and is controlled by another element. The system is connected, moving, and constantly in a process of balance. One element may manifest heavier within us than others. This is where we are strongest, yet most vulnerable.

Five elements

Acupuncture & The Meridians

Meridians are invisible rivers of energy that run through the body in channels. Our life energy (“qi”) flows along these meridians, and when it is blocked or disrupted pain, discomfort, and illness can occur. Acupuncture treatment involves transferring energy from one element to another creating balance again. There are 12 main meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and each meridian is associated with a different body organ. Acupuncture needles target specific points on specific meridians, and this restores proper energy flow.


The Elements and Your Treatment Plan

At Alliance, our main goal is to treat the patient, not the just the symptoms. When elements become unbalanced, symptoms and diseases start to develop. The Five Elements help us understand imbalances within the body and where shifts need to occur to restore balance. Depending on the patient’s personality, we can gauge what symptoms they are most prone to experiencing and help prevent future illness. By determining the elements within the patient and utilizing the ancient practice of acupuncture, we help treat health issues, maintain well-being, and transform lives. Our medical doctors are trained in acupuncture by the renowned Helms Medical Institute through UCLA and Stanford University. Work with one of our medical doctors to learn more about the elements within you.

Related Blog Posts

December 22, 2020
Utilizing Diet to Manage Your PMS
chiropractor helping patient
December 21, 2020
A Wholistic Take on Pain Management
December 17, 2020
An Integrative Medicine Approach to Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Results of Breast Cancer
December 21, 2020
Restoring Good Posture Can Energize Your Life