The Five Element theory is a Taoism-inspired theory demonstrating that nothing can be disconnected from another and everything in the universe is part of a continuous cycle.
All things flow through stages and have all elements present within them to varying degrees, including people. Each element has distinctive characteristics. We can use knowledge of these to identify and treat imbalances.
First originated in texts from the Shang dynasty that described the four directions (N, E, S, W) and their corresponding ‘elements’ in approx 1766-1050BC.
Over time, the five element theory was expanded on and used to describe many aspects of the physical world and the human body.
Characteristics of the Five Elements
The Five Elements interact with each other and flow in a certain way. Each element plays a role in generating the next element in the cycle. Fire generates Earth, Earth generates Metal, Metal generates Water, Water generates Wood, and Wood generates Fire. More information about how the Five Elements interact with each other will be covered in another article.