The theory of chinese medicine (tcm)
- The Five Elements Theory
The five elements theory
is also an ancient Chinese philosophy.
They believed that the world consists
of five basic substances : wood, fire, earth, metal and water
and deduction of this thought led to the five elements theory.
says that everything in the universe consists of five kinds of substances,
are not only closely related but also in constant movement and mutation.
or every phenomenon in the universe including organs, tissues, physiology and
pathology of the human body, fall into five categories, according to their qualities,
forms and functions. Here, the qualities of the five basic substances are shown
in Fig 1
five elements are related through generation (engendering), restriction (restraining),
subjugation (overwhelming) and reverse restriction (rebellion).
Generation means production, promotion and nurturance.
the relationship in a cyclic form can make you easily understand.
an arrow shows the direction of generation. Therefore, wood generates fire,
fire generates earth and so on.
# And we call the generating element the
mother, the generated element the son. For instance, in the relationship of wood
and fire, wood is called mother, fire is called son. On the other hand, as wood
is generated by water we can say that wood is both the mother of fire and the
son of water.
# As you see, each element has the working of both generating
and being generated.
We usually call five visceras in the following way, because each viscera and its category is inseparable.
liver-wood heart-fire spleen-earth lung-metal kidney-water
means restraining or constraining.
See the cycle below.-------Here, wood restricts
earth, earth restricts water, water restricts fire, and so on. Like the relationship
of generation, each element is restricting the other, and being restricted by
the other at the same time.
The five elements keep balance with
each other under the effect of both the generating power and the restricting power.
Once it has been disrupted, a pathological state will emerge. The following relationships
are the ones which are seen under such situations.
the relationship of restriction, if the restricted element is weak, it is subdued
and overwhelmed by the restricting element. Subsequently it will become even weaker.
For instance, if earth is weak, it is overwhelmed by wood, and therefore become
This is the abnormal relationship with wood
and earth, so you must distinguish subjugation from restriction.
But in fact,
the two terms are somewhat confused.
Reverse restriction (Rebellion)
restriction means that if the restricted element becomes too strong ,it will
rebel against the element which should normally restrain it.
metal normally restricts wood, but if wood is too strong then it will restrict
metal in the reverse direction.