Daoyin Tao and the Chinese five element theory
As the leaves are falling and we are into the Autumn I think it is time to send out some information about the Metal element of the Chinese Five Element System. You might also have noticed all around you coughing and spluttering – the Metal element links to the lungs( and large intestine)so coughs are prevalent at this time of year.
The Five Elements(that is wood, fire, earth, metal and water) are an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and defining your five element ‘type’ can be a crucial part of maintain good health and eliminating ‘dis-ease’ or imbalance .Of course not everyone fits perfectly into any particular type, just as we don’t all fit our astrological profile exactly.
Here is some general information about the Metal element – see if you recognise any of the characteristics in yourself, or someone you know!!
Associated season – Autumn
Colour – White
Taste – pungent taste – Metal types like pungent foods such as brown rice,asparagus, watercress, radishes, leeks, onions, garlic,venison, rabbit and peppers.
Associated organs and emotional analogies: Lungs (grief) and large intestine (letting go). Personal space and expansion are analogies which link to the Metal element - if the balance in this type is lost they can become ‘inert’ and unable to grieve ,they feel incomplete and inadequate – they develop a misplaced longing for something ,can become materially obsessed emotionally withdrawn. A person with balanced Metal energy is organised, vital,concientious, and likes structure in their life. Think of someone you know with deep inner balance and they are likely to be a Metal element person.They feel comfortable with a good set of rules in place!
Interestingly there was a surge of lung disease after the 2nd World War – caused in part by inability to grieve for lost loves and not being able to move on.
The large intestine is the yang organ linked to the Metal element and people in this category can suffer with constipation (literally not letting go of things) and diarrhoea.If elimination is not good, both via the skin and the bowel then they become toxic in body and in mind.
Physical manifestations The skin is governed by the Metal element and Metal types are often pale with dry skin. Obvious problems are excema, psoriasis, acne, shoulder pain, wrist disorders (carpal tunnel syndrome) arthritis in the hands,white spots on the nail of the index finger and nose bleeds. Going back to the lungs: emotional burdens and lack of ‘space’ can make the body hang and ‘fold in’ on itself, the breathing becomes shallow and asthma can develop as a result of persistent sadness. Metal types who are grieving, or unable to let emotional issues go will often turn to alcohol (pungent tasting.....) which depletes the qui energy in the body .Alcohol also causes dryness in the body, so exacerbating the problem. Think dry stools, leading to constipation -can you see the cycle forming ?
If you think you are a ‘Metal’ person then make sure you don’t hold on to emotions , don’t drink too much alcohol and eat lots of white foods – leeks , asparagus and watercress when in season, tempered with brown rice, will give you the moist pungent taste you crave and more importantly a pure, vital and glowing complexion!
I hope you have enjoyed dipping your metaphorical toes into the Chinese Five element theory with me- look out for a bit of background on the Water element in a couple of months’ time!