Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Five Elements; what personality type are you?

Written by Eeka King B.H.Sc (Acup)

According to ancient Chinese philosophy, the Five Elements - or the five pillars of Creation - are the building blocks of the universe. In order, the elements are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The five elements are considered to be phases of a cycle of change. Each person's physical and mental constitution can be described as a balance of the elements in which one or more may naturally dominate.

The proportion of the elements in a person determines his or her temperament. Oriental medicine considers the ideal condition as one in which all the five elements are in balance or in harmony. Wood is said to be the mother of fire and the son of water. (Water allows wood to grow, wood provides fuel for the fire). Using these relationships one can describe all possible yin-yang imbalances within the body.
The thrust of five element acupuncture and diagnosis is to isolate and treat the patient’s imbalanced constitutional element. An imbalanced element is like a weak link in your energetic chain that can undermine the strength of your mind, body and spirit. Strengthening the weakened element will bring you back to centre or back ‘into your element’ and any resulting signs and symptoms of disease or disharmony will ultimately disappear.

Emotion:     Joy
Emotion: Sympathy
Emotion: Anger
Emotion:   Grief
Emotion:     Fear           
Reddish Face, pointed head/chin, curly hair or not much hair
Darkish face, large head, wide jaws
Darkish face
White face, triangular shape
White face and skin, round face
Soft willowy physique, long neck, arms and legs
               Strong point; blood and blood vessels
*walks fast
Round, firm physique,  strong thighs, soft, peachy skin
Strong point; muscles
*walks without lifting feet high
Tall, muscular, square physique strong and straight back,
Strong point: bones and sinews    *walks with determination
Broad and square shoulders, strongly built body
Strong point; lungs & voice
*walks slowly &deliberately
Round body, loves movement Spine is longer than normal
Strong point; digestive system
Seeking magic and excitement

Constantly arranging and harmonizing the world
Determined to make things happen
Strong sense of vision, hope and purpose

Meticulous, rational, independent and strong-willed
Relentlessly in pursuit of truth


Wood people either excel or have trouble in planning, decisions, and action. 
The future and their ability to see it can be their strength.  When out of balance they may procrastinate, become indecisive or have a sense of no hope.
·         Seeks challenge and pushes to the limit
·         Enjoys and does well under pressure
·         Admires speed, novelty and skill
·         Loves action, movement and adventure
·         Likes to be first, best and only
Typical problems
·         Intolerance and impatience
·         Volatile emotions
·         Extremism; impulsive or over-disciplined, self indulgent or self punishing
·         Vascular headaches, muscle spasms, high blood pressure, nerve inflammations, migratory/moving pain
The power of wood comes from the capacity to rapidly expand and build up pressure. Wood types need to modulate their intensity and stay flexible, to be able to retreat and yield as well as serge forward and be undaunted

Wood types tend to be ambitious have strong Type A personalities, and high vitality. They love life, and are so eager to succeed they can be highly competitive. Wood types are apt to be leaders in their fields, CEOs of big companies, or elite athletes. They are extroverted, and have a strong sense of hope, vision, and purpose. However, Wood types are so driven they tend to manifest conditions due to stress—such as high blood pressure, premenstrual syndrome, breast and ovarian cysts, headaches, and tight muscles. On an emotional level, too much work may thwart their usual sense of purpose in life, and they can become angry or depressed.

If you are a Wood Type, keep your element balanced by taking time to replenish your energy with relaxing activities that quiet your mind like yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Create playtime in which the journey is more important than the goal, eat healthy food, avoid alcohol, and indulge in sour-tasting foods (which are beneficial to Wood types). As I often tell my patients who are Wood types, the most important thing to remember is that attaining and maintaining great health will allow you more success in reaching your life goals.

Fire people love to reach out and be in relationship with all people. They enjoy having a laugh and sometimes they carry a sadness or lack of joy deeper in themselves.

·         Relishes excitement and change
·         Delights in intimacy
·         Intuitive and passionately empathetic
·         Believes in the power of charisma and desire
·         Loves sensation, drama and sentiment
·         Likes to be hot, bright and vibrant
Typical problems
·         Anxiety, agitation and frenzy
·         Bizarre perceptions and sensations
·         Nervous exhaustion and insomnia
·         Palpitation, sweating, hypoglycaemia, rashes, pasly
·         Abuse of mind-altering substances- addictive personalities
The power of fire comes from the capacity to liberate heat and light and realise joy and fulfilment. Fire types need to temper their chemisty and contain their resources, withdrawing and separating as well as embracing and merging.
Fire types are fun, charismatic people who have a great deal of enthusiasm for whatever they are involved in. They are full of love and passion, seek out drama, and thrive on travel. They also enjoy expressing themselves verbally, and often speak rapidly. Fire types tend to laugh a lot, even when they are talking about something that isn’t funny. When it comes to relationships, Fire types have an enormous amount of social energy; a seemingly boundless capacity for interacting with others.

When Fire types have too much excitement in their lives, they can experience anxiety, heart palpitations, insomnia, and depression. When women who are Fire types are in peri-menopause or menopause, they are likely to have hot flashes or night sweats more often than other women. If you are a Fire Type, I recommend you balance your element by creating a schedule that includes time to nurture yourself. Spend time alone each day to write in your journal or meditate. It’s also important to stay clear about what is important in your life and what isn’t. Remember to eat regular meals, don’t allow yourself to get too hungry, and limit your intake of spicy foods.

Earth people have the ability to nourish like a mother can nourish a child.  Thus food and understanding are important. Sometimes an Earth person can feel a sense of emptiness or neediness in their own life.

·         Wants to be involved and needed
·         Likes to be in charge but not in the limelight
·         Agreeable and accommodating; wants to be all things to all people
·         Seeks harmony and togetherness
·         Insists upon loyalty, security and predictability
Typical problems
·         Worry, obsession and self-doubt
·         Meddling and overprotective
·         Overextended and inert
·         Lethargy, indigestion, unruly appetites, water retention, muscle tenderness
·         Unrealistic expectations and disappointment
The power of earth comes from the capacity to link, nurture, and sustain. Earth types need to balance their devotion to relationship with solitude and self-expression, developing self-reliance as well as building community.

Earth types are compassionate, loving people who are apt to be nurturers and caretakers. They have a tendency to feel deeply compassionate toward other people, even strangers, and welcome all types of people into their lives. Because of their understanding nature, they are natural arbitrators who can resolve disputes between others quickly and effectively. Earth types have a strong connection with the earth, and they feel a great sense of comfort and peace when they are in nature. As a result, they are inclined to be environmentalists and conservationists. They also find solace in eating, and have a sweet tooth.

When Earth types give too much and neglect themselves, they are prone to digestive problems, food allergies, heartburn, fatigue, PMS, and easy weight gain. If you are an Earth type, imbalances in your life can also cause you to become excessively needy for love, affection, and attention. At the same time, you can become so sympathetic to other people’s needs that you try to take care of them in ways that may ultimately prevent them from figuring out how to take care of themselves. To keep yourself in balance, I suggest you surround yourself with loving friends, maintain healthy emotional boundaries between yourself and others, say “no” when you need to, and avoid eating too many sweets.

Metal people search for what is pure and spiritual.  They set the highest standards for themselves and others, respect is important.   Sometimes they live in a sense of what could have been.
·         likes definition, structure and discipline
·         organised and methodical
·         seeks to live according to reason and principle
·         holds self and others to the highest standards
·         reveres ceremony, beauty and refinement
Typical Problems
·         Indifference and inhibition
·         Autocratic, strict and difficult to please
·         Formal, distant and unnatural
·         Stiff joints and muscles, dry skin and hair, shallow breathing, poor circulation
·         Self-righteousness and disillusionment
The power of metal comes from the capacity to shape and refine. Metal types need to compensate for their rationality, self-control, and meticulousness with passion, spontaneity and social involvement.

Metal types are quiet, meditative, intellectually sharp, spiritually inclined, and unusually creative. They seek perfection in everything that they do, and they are likely to be serious artists and craftspeople. They are self-disciplined, detail-oriented, and will naturally spend endless hours in a deep, almost trancelike state of concentration while they are involved in the creation of their art. In their personal relationships, they dislike small talk and they are usually very committed to a small number of people. Physically, Metal types have a fast metabolism and they often crave spicy foods.

If you are a Metal type, when your life is not in harmony you are apt to have upper respiratory infections and skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. I highly recommend that you keep yourself in balance by doing regular aerobic exercise to enhance the health of your lungs, exploring your creativity, eating regular meals, and making sure that you maintain creative outlets for stress.

Water people have a persistence and determination and will often excel in situations that others find too scary.  Sometimes they may hide a deep sense of being frozen or washed away by their own fear.
·         Articulate, clever and introspective
·         Self-contained and self-sufficient
·         Penetrating, critical and scrutinizing
·         Seeks knowledge and understanding
·         Likes to remain hidden, enigmatic and anonymous
Typical problems
·         Emotionally inaccessible and undemonstrative]
·         Isolation and loneliness
·         Tactless, unforgiving and suspicious
·         Hardening of the arteries, deterioration of the teeth and gums, backache, chilliness and loss of libido
The power of water comes from the capacity to conceive, concentrate and conserve. Water types need to offset their toughness, bluntness and detachment with tenderness, sensitivity and openness, risking softness and contact, exposure and attachment.

Water types are. In their youth, they typically possess a quality of being “wise beyond their years.” As adults, Water types are known for being unusually deep thinkers, always searching for truth and meaning. If you are a Water type, you are a philosopher, comfortable in the world of your mind, and you often prefer your own thoughts to a superficial dialogue with other people. You are strong-willed, and seek out quiet, tranquil environments. Physically you are healthy, vigorous, and have enormous willpower and a tremendous capacity for endurance.

If you are a Water type and you spend too much time alone, or in “survival mode,” you tend to manifest conditions associated with the kidneys and bladder. On an emotional level, when imbalanced your normally deep reservoir of inner strength can spill over into fear. I frequently advise my patients who are Water types to keep themselves in balance by drinking plenty of fluids and socializing regularly so they don’t become too emotionally isolated.
Knowing which of the five elements dominates our personality can guide us in taking better care of ourselves. Discovering the personality type of intimate partners or friends is also fun and important as this knowledge can lead to better relationships and a greater understanding of each other’s flaws and weaknesses and why we sometimes act the way we do. By keeping our five element personality type in mind, we will be able to make choices about our health that will help us create a lifetime of wellness.

©Eeka King 2011 for Bayide Acupuncture Clinic

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