The five elements of TCM

Our entire universe, our world, the nature around us and also our human organism can be assigned to the five elements from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The five elements or phases of transformation are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They are directly dependent on each other: The wood nourishes the fire so that it can burn. From the fire emerges the ashes, which in turn nourish the earth. From the earth emerges the metal, which in turn nourishes the water by enriching it with minerals and trace elements. After all, the water is the basis for the wood – and so the circle closes. However, if one of the elements is not strong enough to nourish the next, an imbalance arises. The goal of TCM is to restore that balance.

The 5 Element Doctrine originated more than 2000 years ago. It describes the complex interactions between humans and the environment and is still used today. We find each of the five elements in everything that surrounds us: in colors, shapes, tastes, smells, foods, times of day and season, and even in our body’s own organs. A balanced energy flow is essential for our physical and mental health. If the five elements are not in harmony with each other, complaints and illnesses can occur.

The warm temperatures and flowering meadows that surround us in summer herald the transition phase of fire in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The fire element is also reflected in the ripe fruits of nature and the emotion “joy”. At the organic level, the element is assigned the heart and the small intestine. In the summer, digestion, but above all the well-being of the heart, the imperial organ and the seat of the spirit, play a decisive role.

For us humans, the summer is not only a problem with its high temperatures – the heart can also suffer from excessive internal heat. This can be caused by a wrong diet and too much stress. Overheating interferes with blood and qi circulation and causes trouble. Anger, anger, hatred and grief can then dominate our emotions. How can you refresh your heart? With regard to the diet, one should first refrain from highly heated cooking methods such as grilling and stewing. Instead, steaming and stewing are suitable, otherwise you should replace greasy and difficult to digest dishes with fresh, light food. As far as the flavors are concerned, the element of fire is bitterly assigned to the taste. In moderate quantities, foods such as chicory, arugula, grapefruit or beetroot can help digestion and the heart. Fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary and basil, with their digestive effect, are the ideal supplement.

In addition to nutrition, it is also important to pay attention to his mental state. Gentle exercise in nature can help the body permanently reduce stress. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, but also Qi Gong or Tai Chi can additionally contribute to reducing stress. After all, summer is all about experiencing things, spending time outdoors and being active in the element of fire, and going out into the world full of energy and zest for action. Then we can also enjoy the positive emotions of the fire element, joy and lightness to the fullest.