In Chinese Medicine we have 5 different body types, that correspond with the 5 Elements - Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. We all have aspects of each Element, but usually one Element is more dominant than the others. For us practitioners its very helpful to understand the patient and their personality.
The Water Element
People, who have a dominant water element have wide hips, strong physical and emotional strength, large ears and chin and thick flowing hair.
The water personality likes to follow the easiest path and to just "go with the flow" and have a strong will. Water types are more adaptable than the wood type. They achieve their goals by determining the best path through a situation instead of doing it by force like the wood type.
They are very intuitive, introspective, exotic and sensual. They love lying down and watch TV, read or even eat in bed.
Cultivating stillness increases the strength of the water element. "Be still. Stillness reveals the secret of eternity." - Lao Zi
The Water element personalities tends to be more fearful. Fear make the body's energy sink or even freeze. This can stop the person's momentum in life. They also can be stubborn and resisting the flow of life. When the water element tap into their wisdom and trust in it they can start to see the situation clearly, what will help the body to unfreeze.
The spirit animal is a combination of the black turtle and the black snake.
Common symptoms: low back and knee pain, development issues, urinary problems, tinnitus, infertility and edema.
Emotions and Reactions: fear, willfulness, freezing, stubbornness, resisting the flow
Cravings due to imbalance: salty food, Marijuana
- drink plenty of fluids, the best is warm water
- when very fearful you know you are out of balance, take steps to overcome the fear
- water types should avoid cold and raw foods in winter time
- keep warm
- add sea food, sea weed and healthy salts (Himalayan sea salt ) to your diet, foods that are
naturally black support the water element - black beans, black sesame seeds
The Wood Element
The wood element is embodied with a pioneering spirit to drive forward and accomplish goals, despite the hard work. Wood personalities are organized and love "to do". They sometimes come across as pushy. They are passionate, focused, assertive, compassionate, intense, realistic and dominant.
The wood elements need to move, directing the blood and keeping channel pathway open. If they don't move the pathways get blocked and anger can manifest. Anger can be found in the form of depression when Qi is stagnated for too long. The blockage can develop when the person is not acting (the wood element craves action), or overdoing it and exhausting their qi so it can no longer flow.
An imbalance in the wood type can show up as exaggerated sense of responsibility.
When the wood element is harmonized it will weight all options, make the correct decision and finally take the action to reach the goal. They have strong determination and courage to carry out their decision.
The spirit animal is the Green Dragon.
Common symptoms: Hypochondriac pain (pain below the ribs), eye issues, indigestion, insomnia, headaches/dizziness, jaundice, tinnitus, tendon issues, weak immune system
Emotions and reactions: anger, irritation, timidity, feeling of powerlessness
Cravings due to imbalance: sour food, alcohol, drug use, arguments, self-harm
- stay active, move everyday even if its just a 10 minute walk
- stretch regularly
- avoid or at least minimize alcohol
- take time to rest and include stress-reducing activities
- be mindful and don't get too preoccupied with your to-do-list
- eat green vegetables and sour foods (lemon, sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough bread) daily
The Fire Element
Fire element people are spontaneous, bubbly and joyful. They are imaginative, lively, expressive, curious and inventive. The activity of the brain is controlled by the fire element, the firing of the neurons and the ideas created through it.
Fire people tend to have a very active mind, can be somewhat disorganized, and often are unable to complete a task, jumping excitedly from one thing to another. They think a lot and come up with new ideas and try to solve problems, what can lead to overthinking and insomnia.
Fire personalities are dreamers, and are often shamed for it. They often find themselves with an inner conflict about accepting their fiery nature.
They can be great leaders because they know how to "fire up" people and they have a great enthusiasm. Fire people are constantly seeking new experiences and/or contacts.
They are well-proportioned with delicate hands and feet, fire people may have ruddy complexions and prominent cheekbones. Bright eyes, big smiles, freckles, redness in the skin - especially in the chest and neck are also features of the fire element.
They have a sharpness in their features and tend to have a lot of lines, which shows how much they express their enthusiasm for life.
The spirit animal is the Red Bird.
Common Symptoms: Insomnia, Nightmares, Palpitations, Skin issues, Blood pressure irregularities
Emotions and reactions: Over-excitement, scattered energy, anxiety, nervousness, over seriousness
Cravings due to Imbalance: bitter foods, amphetamine-like narcotics, thrill-seeking activities
- make lists and plan ahead to avoid being to scattered
- practice mindfulness
- add mindful exercises like Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation to your schedule
- avoid spicy foods, add some bitter foods to your diet like dandelion, parsley, sesame seeds,
kale, celery and arugula
- foods that are good support the fire element are all foods that are naturally red like berries
People who have a dominant earth element are warm, comforting and nurturing. They want you to feel comfortable around them and in their home. Earth is the most stable, calm and solid element.
Family, friendships and community is very important for the earth type personality. They are sentimental and often stay attached to people, things and places. The earth element is responsible for all warehouses (fleshy parts) of the face and the ability to hold on to people, things, ideas and objects. If out of balance the earth type might hold on to these things and ideas even so they are not good for them or they might smother other people.
The earth personality is drawn to harmony and like to feel connected to other people. They are very caring and empathetic, that's why they are often found in caring professions.
Enjoying life and all its comforts and pleasures and savoring the sweetness of life that's what the earth type loves.
Earth types love to be in nature and to connect with it. Favorite activities are gardening, hiking, collecting herbs, but also crafts like cooking, baking and quilting. They may also express their love to nature by being an environmentalists or by working with animals.
Physically earth types have a square and full face, full lips, round cheeks and a curvy body. They have a softness to their body, often smell sweet and their skin has a lovely color.
Spirit animal is the Yellow Phoenix.
Common Symptoms: digestive distress, nausea, low appetite, bowel changes, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, fluid retention, over- or under-nurturing
Emotions and Reactions: Worry, confusion, feeling uncentered, poor concentration, indecision, smother people with attention
Cravings due to imbalance: nurturing, sweets, starchy foods
- take time for yourself
- set boundaries
- stay present and life in the moment, don't fill your days with worries
- food that are good for the earth element are root vegetables, all foods that are naturally
- avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar, go with honey or maple syrup instead
The Metal Element
The metal personality has an equal amount of Yin and Yang, whereas other elements are often more Yang OR more Yin. Its a confusing element, because it has a dual nature.
People with a strong metal element are very clean and tidy. They are very aware of small details, problems and changes in mood, temperature, light and sound. They are precise, well-mannered, analytical, formal and can be perfectionists. Being highly sensitive and feeling emotions very easily the metal type can be profoundly influenced when experiencing emotional trauma, especially grief. (the emotion related to the metal element - see 5 elements in TCM blog post)
Metal people have sensitive senses and need a lot of space and minimal sensory input in order to rest effectively. They can be prone to allergies when young and respiratory viruses, they still can have quite strong lungs.
A small group of close friends is preferred by the metal element type, as opposed to being part of a large crowd.
Their body has refined features and bone structures, a long aquiline and strong nose and a very symmetrical face. The spirit animal is the White Tiger.
Common Symptoms: Coughing, Asthma, Respiratory infections, non-healing skin sores, chemical sensitivities, weakened immune system, constipation
Emotions and Reactions: Grief, low self-esteem, sadness, feeling lack
Cravings due to imbalance: perfection, a hyper-clean environment, Tabaco products, pungent food
- practice letting go of things
- when experiencing time of grief, get good support
- practice deep breathing, even so its important for all types of people, deep and focused
breathing is especially important for the metal type personality
- foods that support the metal element are white foods like mushrooms, cauliflower and pears
"Treating emotional trauma with Chinese medicine: - CT Holman
"Face reading in Chinese medicine" - Lillian Bridges