The Five Element Theory is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The five elements in this doctrine are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each of these elements have specific characteristics that correlate to various bodily systems.

Fire is circulation and blood systems. Earth is linked to the digestive system. Metal is associated with respiratory and elimination. Water is linked to kidneys and bladder. Wood is linked to removal and processing of toxins and hormones.

Within in the Five Element Theory are the control or destructive cycle and the creation cycle. In the creation cycle each element feeds and is fed upon by the elements on each side of it. Therefore: Fire feeds Earth and is nourished by Wood, Earth feeds Metal and is fed upon by Fire, Metal supports Water and is nourished by Earth, Water is supported by Metal and feeds Wood and Wood gets its support from Water and feeds Fire.

In the Destructive or Control Cycle the concept takes on a star shape. So in this cycle Fire strengthens Metal and pulls from Water, Earth strengthens Water and pulls from Wood and so on.

The relationship between these elements are used by practitioners of TCM to help diagnose and treat physical and mental ailments.

Do you believe in people "types?"
Eastern medicine is a metephorical science and teaches about the interaction of mind, body and spirit and, in doing so as has sorted people into 5 basic body types named after the elements. The following list shows very basic attributes and a couple of samples.
  • fire:usually tall and thin, these people seem to be erratic in their movements(like a flicking flame) Brad Pitt, Linda Hamilton.

  • earth:usually shaped more roundly, these people walk with a roll(a ball bouncing down a stony path). Danny DeVito, Rosie O'Donnel.

  • metal:usually appear compact, these people move like they have a purpose(even if they don't)and remind me of a suit of armor. Charles Bronson, Gillian Anderson.

  • water:usually tall and bottom heavy(water sinks), these people move with grace(fluid). Edward Norton, Sandra Bullock.

  • wood(air):usually large upper body and slimmer lower, these people move like they own the world(a tree spreading over everything around it). any WWF wrestler.

Of course there are people who fit into more than one type (I am basically water with fire and wood tendencies) and this gives us the multitude of physiques and personalities you see around you.

The interaction of these types can be displayed in a chart as follows.

                  /   |   \
               /     | |     \
            /       |   |       \
           |\     |       |    / |
           |   \ |         | /   |
           |    | \       / |    |
           |   |     \ /     |   |
           |  |     /   \     |  |
           | |   /         \   | |
           || /               \ ||

The chart shows the support (outer pentagon) and control (inner pentagram) of these types, it works clockwise. e.g. a water person would support a wood person but would control a fire person so if your fire, water is not your type. (unless you like to be controlled)

There are a whole list of attributes to go with each type, e.g. emotions, foods, home styles, and even the organs of the body. It has also been established that people of a particular "type" tend to have similar medical problems, e.g. water types tend to have ankle / lower back problems, earth types with weight gain.

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