The Five Element Theory

These relationships are illustrated in the Five Element Chart below, which shows how each element is related to specific aspects of your body and mind.   Their interactions can be harmonious or destructive. Below is graphically expressed their pattern of interaction as depicted in the diagram below.

The logic of Five Element Theory becomes clear as you begin to use it as a filter for processing your observations regarding things like: how you feel after eating, the types of emotions you're prone too, and the kinds of food you crave.

Working with the Five Element chart below, is a fun and informative way to understand how to navigate your way toward health and well-being.  The best way to become familiar with Five Element Theory and its health-related relationships is to refer to the Five Element chart regularly to determine which element is associated with any symptom or discomfort you're experiencing. 

For example, if you are crying a lot, or feeling sad, referring to the Five Element chart will tell you that these are "metal" characteristics, which indicate a potential Lung imbalance. Having this information enables you to start taking steps to balance your energy and protect your health which could include the following…

  • Avoid eating spicy foods and include foods and recipes that support your lungs in your nutritional plan/diet. 
  • Practice exercises that strengthen and balance the energy or chi flowing to your lungs. 
  • Schedule an appointment to receive an acupuncture or acupressure treatment, along with a prescribed herbal formula, to balance and strengthen the energy or chi in your lungs and related organs. In Atlanta I recommend Dr. Gurusahay Khalsa.  He can be reached at 770-551-0155/ Dr. Khalsa is the first board certified Chiropractor and Acupuncturist in the state of Georgia. 

The Five Element Chart reveals the different body/mind relationships associated with each organ. To get an idea of the dynamic nature of these interactions, we need to know how these elemental forces generate and regulate energy or chi in nature, and from that by extension, in the human body and mind.

New Page 1




Surface Part



Mental Part









Will Power




Gall Bladder




Mental Activity



Heart & Sexual Glands

Small Intestine

Blood vessels


Arrogance and Impatience

Intuition, Joy, Peace



Spleen & Pancreas









Large Intestine


Nose & Sinuses


Orderliness and Rightness


Based on Five Element Theory, each elemental force generates or creates the next element in a creative sequence. 

For example:

  • Water generates wood. Rain nourishes a tree. 
  • Wood generates fire. Burning wood generates fire. 
  • Fire generates earth. Ash is created from the fire.  
  • Earth generates metal. Metal is mined from the earth. 
  • Metal generates water. Water condenses on metal.  

This creative process is illustrated in the Cycle of Generation diagram shown below:

                                                                                Cycle of Generation

When applying this "supportive relationship" to the human body, we see that each internal organ embodies the energetic qualities of the element it's related to. Each organ is responsible for providing the energy needed by the next organ in the generative cycle. 

For example:

  • Kidney (water element) supports the Liver (wood element). 
  • Liver (wood element) supports the Heart (fire element). 
  • Heart (fire element) supports the Spleen (earth element). 
  • Spleen (earth element) supports the Lung (metal element). 
  • Lung (metal element) supports the Kidney (water element). 

Based on Five Element Theory, each elemental force is also associated with another element which it is responsible for controlling or regulating. 

 For example:

  • Water controls fire. Water puts fire out. 
  • Wood controls earth. Tree roots hold clods of earth. 
  • Fire controls metal. Fire can melt metal. 
  • Earth controls water. A pond holds water. 
  • Metal controls wood. An ax cuts wood. 

This regulating process is illustrated in Cycle of Regulation diagram below:

                                                                             Cycle of Regulation

When applying this "regulating relationship" to the human body, we see that each internal organ embodies the energetic qualities of the element it's related to. Each organ is responsible for providing energy to regulate or control excesses or deficiencies in the energy of the organ it's associated with in this cycle.

For example:

  • Lung (metal element) controls Liver (wood element). 
  • Heart (fire element) controls Lung (metal element). 
  • Kidney (water element) controls Heart (fire element). 
  • Spleen (earth element) controls Kidney (water element). 
  • Liver (wood element) controls Spleen (earth element). 

In summary, your internal organs play a dual role in promoting and maintaining your health: generating and regulating energy for each other. Each organ passes energy to the organ it supports, and, when necessary, controls imbalances in the energy of the organ which it regulates.

As you become more familiar with Five Element patterns and relationships you'll come to know, through personal experience, the value of this intricate road map for health.  

The Five Element Theory helps you understand how natural changes within your body and outside environment affect your health. To predict and understand these dynamic changes, ancient doctors studied nature to determine what universal principles existed that could be applied to health and well-being. The Five Element Theory is what they came up with. 

The five elements or five primordial elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.   Everything in physical form can be categorized as one or a combination of these elements. They were selected based on the observations of ancient oriental philosophers who theorized that the natural world embodied these elemental characteristics. Oriental Medicine uses this time-tested, diagnostic model to analyze how the various parts  of a person's body and mind interact to affect health.