Children For Five Elements



The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Besides being nature substances the elements also own qualities - the wood ascends, the water moistens, the fire flares, the metal cuts, the earth contains growth. Within these qualities the elements form different types of relationships with one another. For example the fire needs wood to burn, the ash from the fire creates earth, the earth contains metal, etc. In this type of relationship every element generates, and is generated by another element. Thus this relationship is called a “generating relationship”.  In another type of relationship, each element is controlled by and controls another element – metal cuts  wood, water extinguishes fire, fire melts metal, etc. Thus this type of relationship is called a “controlling relationship”.


In traditional Chinese medicine the Liver and its partner organ the Gall Bladder correspond to the element Wood; the Heart and its partner organ the Small Intestine correspond to the element Fire; the Spleen and its partner organ the Stomach correspond to the element Earth; the Lung and its partner organ the Large Intestine correspond to Metal; the Kidney and its partner organ the Urinary Bladder correspond to Water.


Since all elements are in a relationship with one another the organs that correspond to these elements, are also in a relationship with one another. For example  Wood generates Fire, thus the Liver (Wood element) and the Heart (Fire element) are in "generating relationship", where the vitality of the Liver maintains and supports the Heart, and its functions. On the other hand Water extinguishes Fire, thus the Kidneys (Water element) and the Heart (Fire element) are in "controlling relationship", where the Kidneys "control" and restrict the Heart, etc.


Based on these relationships (as well as other theories such as the theory of Yin and Yang, the Four Levels, the Six stages, the Seven Emotions, the Eight Principles, etc)  the internal, i.e. chronic illnesses, in traditional Chinese medicine, are diagnosed and addressed.


Acute illnesses, though, are not based on internal disharmony but rather are provoked by external factors. As most children are too young to be affected by stress, toxins, excessive or chronic emotions, etc. they do not tend to manifest internal/chronic illnesses. At young age most illnesses are rather acute and it is the climate and the climatic factors such as wind, heat, damp-heat, dryness, and cold, that cause health disbalances than internal body disharmony.


Just like “internal structures” such as organs, tissues, tastes, emotions, etc. correspond to the Five Elements, so do “external structures” such as seasons, directions, planets, and climatic factors.


Wind And Bamboo For Five Elements



The climatic factor wind and the season spring relate to element Wood, with the wind being predominant during spring. The climatic factor heat and the season summer relate to the element Fire, with heat being predominant during the season summer. The climatic factor summer-heat (or damp-heat) and the season “late summer” relate to element Earth, with damp-heat being predominant during “late summer”. The climatic factor dryness and the season fall relate to element Metal, thus dryness manifests predominantly during the fall season. Last but not least - cold and the season winter relate to element Water; thus cold manifests the strongest during the winter season.


Under normal conditions the climatic factors do not cause disease and are known as nature’s “six types of Qi”. They are natural manifestations of the different seasons and nature’s constantly varying climate. Only when these climatic changes become sudden, extreme or when the body’s immune system is low, they become pathological for the human health, and are then referred to as "the six evils”(1) It is “the six evils” that are predominantly responsible for the health disbalances of our children.


As mentioned above each evil relates to a certain season although with climate abnormalities it may appear in any given season. In countries with only one or two seasons some of the “six evils” may be predominant or there may be only a few of “the six evils” present at all times.


Each evil can transform into another evil after it has invaded the body. Each evil can invade the body alone or in combination with another evil (1)


In the following articles (see the links provided below or go to the Holistic Pediatrics chapter) we will discuss how every season, and evil that is predominant during that season, affect the health of the children, what kind of symptoms and acute diseases do they cause, and how to counteract them with foods and acupressure.




(1)Liangyue, D., Yijun, G., Shuhui, H., Xiaoping, J., Yang, L., Rufen, W., Wenjing, W., Xuetai, W., Hengze, X., Xiuling, X., Jiuling, Y. (1987). Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press


Note:  This is a theory based on the author's perspective of traditional Chinese medicine and her personal experience as a parent. Nevertheless it is essential that you stay in touch with and consult your  pediatrician at all times!


Related Articles:

Spring (Element Wood) - "wind evil" - common colds, flu

Summer (Element Fire) - "heat evil" - inflamed red swollen tonsils, constipation, bleeding

Summer (Element Fire) - "summer-heat evil" - sweating, dehydration, fever, thirst - all during summer season

Late Summer (Element Earth) - "damp evil" - diarrhea, colic, vomiting

Fall (Element Metal) - "dry evil" - dry cough, dry throat, dry mouth, hoarse voice/unresolved dry cough leading to productive cough

Winter (Element Water) - "cold evil" - muscle cramps, pain, ear infections

Preventive Pediatrics - The Role of Yin and Yang

Healthy Eating Habbits for Children Based on the Theory of Yin and Yang



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