The 5 Elements of Chinese Medicine – Fire


This is the 4th article on the 5 Elements of Chinese medicine – Fire. Since it is almost Winter, hopefully you are nice and warm sitting in front of a fireplace right now. Actually, the Fire energy is at its strongest during the summertime. If your Fire element is in balance, you are full of life, energetic, outgoing. The young energy of the Spring has sprouted, and is now flourishing to its fullest extent. It is a time to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of the season, after the dormant period of Winter, and the sprouting of the seed in Spring.

The organs associated with Fire are the Heart and Small Intestine. The Heart is in charge of circulating your Qi and Blood. Your Shen, or spirit, is contained in your heart. This is not spirit in the religious sense, but the vibrancy of the person. And, in Chinese medicine, this not only includes the spirit, but also the mind, since in holistic medicine, the mind and spirit are not separated. When in balance, Shen manifests as joy, love, laughter, and enthusiasm. This can be seen in a person’s eyes, when there is an unmistakable shine and spark. Just as with a warm campfire, the person is warm, radiant, and welcoming. When it is deficient, the person will be lackluster, and there will be a dullness in the eyes. They may also tend to be isolated, lonely, and depressed. If the Fire element is excessive, the person may laugh too much or inappropriately, crave mind-altering substances, be prone to heart disease, heart palpitations, or irregular heart beat, and may have mouth or tongue sores. They may have a tendency toward anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

Each organ in Chinese medicine is associated with a particular sense organ. The tongue is the ‘flower’ of the Heart. By expressing ourselves openly and honestly, we are nourishing our Heart energy. The color of the Heart is red, and you can also help to keep your Heart healthy by eating red-colored foods, such as tomatoes, beef, cherries, red beans, beets, radishes, etc. Bitter flavors can be either beneficial or damaging to the Heart Qi. Coffee in excess is not good for the Heart, but healthy leafy greens can drain the excess heat out of the Heart, bringing it back into balance. 

To nourish your Heart, it is important to have fun on a regular basis. Spend time with family and friends, and share the glow of your company with them. Give of yourself to others – volunteering is a great way to do this. You can find many volunteer opportunities by searching online. Take the time to live your passion. Find what interests you and follow it with your heart. Get your body moving. The Heart loves movement, as this helps to increase circulation. 

The Heart protector, the Pericardium, is the thin membrane sack that encloses and protects the Heart. The point Pericardium 6 can be massaged gently to help alleviate anxiety and even nausea. This point can be found 3 finger-widths below the wrist crease, on the inner wrist. Massage this point whenever you feel anxious, and it can also help to alleviate insomnia.

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