By Dr Carla Brion | Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Practitioner
In classical Chinese Medicine, everything relates back to the Five Elements; Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. These make up all things in nature from the seasons, tastes and smells to sounds, colours and emotions. Everything is cyclical and the elements are interdependent. We, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners use the foundations of these elements to understand a person’s emotions, personality types and common illnesses.
Similar to traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda, it helps us to set apart different body types so we can carry out an individualised treatment for our patients. Though we have all elements within us, there is always one that is weakest – this is our ‘constitutional element’ – which we must care for and nurture more than the others. This is your element that makes up a lot of who you are as a person. Once you become exposed to the wonderful world of The Five Elements, your eyes become open to the intricacies of nature and just how in tune with the environment we really are.
Want to know little more about your personality and find out which element you are?
Take this quick quiz to gain insight into your constitutional element and learn more about the real YOU. It may even help you understand your health and how your body works…
Q 1. What are your favourite colours?
- Shades of white and silver
- Greens and browns
- Yellows and oranges
- Blues and purples
- Reds and pinks
Q 2. Where would you consider your place of comfort?
- A yoga class or health retreat
- Out in nature, in a forest or outback
- Being with friends and family or at home
- Near a lake, river or ocean
- Your special, quiet place on your own, away from the world
Q 3. As a child, what were your most dominant emotions and feelings?
- Grief, sorrow, loneliness
- Frustration, irritability, anger
- Misunderstood, emptiness, neediness
- Overthinking, scared, unsure
- Over-excited, sadness, unloved
Q 4. When upset and under pressure or stress, what is your usual response or coping mechanism?
- Meditate and seek spiritual guidance or console yourself through retail therapy and material possessions
- Lash out, become aggressive and verbal or fall into a pit of hopelessness
- Comfort eat to fill the void or keep to yourself
- Become fearful and cautious or become reckless and dangerous
- Seek physical comfort through relationships and sex or hide from the world
Q 5. Where do you feel most comfortable and in your element?
- Alone outside, in the open air
- In a board room, managing and directing others
- In the kitchen or caring for others
- Out on an adventure, exploring
- At a dinner party or social gathering
Q 6. What bodily organs would you consider your ‘Achilles Heel’ in terms of weaknesses and problems?
- Lungs (inspiration) and large intestine (excretion)
- Liver (filtering) and gallbladder (storage)
- Stomach (digestion) and spleen (energy)
- Kidneys (processing) and bladder (elimination)
- Heart (circulation) small intestine (sorting)
Q 7. What sicknesses do you tend to get, recurringly as an adult?
- Skin problems, common colds (especially chest/respiratory), joint problems
- Pre menstrual tensions, gall-stones, vertigo, migraines
- IBS, stomach ulcers, weight issues, energy problems
- Low back pain, urinary issues, kidney stones
- Anxiety, heart palpitations, blood pressure issues, varicose veins
Q 8. As a child and teenager, what were your most common ailments?
- Asthma, eczema, hay fever
- Headaches, dizziness, sinusitis
- Reflux, digestive issues, overeating
- UTI/cystitis, bed wetting, night terrors
- Insomnia, depression, over excited (e.g. A.D.D.)
Q 9. If you could choose only one vice, addiction or outlet what would it be?
- Jewellery and beautiful things
- Coffee and alcohol
- Food – all of it!
- Extreme sports and adventure
- Sex, drugs and rock and roll
Q 10. Which character flaws best describe you?
- Judgmental and indecisive
- Irritable and easily angered
- Needy, misunderstood, ‘the victim’
- Always right, always needing reassurance
- Over-indulgent, addictive personality
Q 11. How would your close friends describe the real you?
- Flighty, spiritual, ‘head in the clouds’
- Opinionated, strong minded and willed
- Nurturing, caring, motherly
- Witty, resourceful, intelligent
- Light up the room kind of gal, the class clown, energising
Q 12. What are your best attributes?
- Faithful, chivalrous, sensitive
- Organised, structured, great at planning
- Loving, attentive, understanding
- Flexible, live on the edge, yet know how to be still and relax
- Charismatic, charming and enthusiastic
Q 13. What else in your personality do you see as your strengths?
- Love helping others and perfectionism
- Very charitable and generous
- Patient and thoughtful
- Driven and determined
- Light hearted and easy going
Ok. Lets see how you went…
If you answered mostly 1’s you are likely to be a Metal Element
If you answered mostly 2’s you are likely to be a Wood Element
If you answered mostly 3’s you are likely to be an Earth Element
If you answered mostly 4’s you are likely to be a Water Element
If you answered mostly 5’s you are likely to be a Fire Element
Now you know which element you are, read more about it.
Metal :: The Alchemist
The emotion of metal is grief.
Metal people are righteous (sometimes self-righteous), faithful and quite chivalrous. They love one-on one connections and intimate relationships. They’re very spiritual and quite connected to other people’s energies and a higher power. Metal people are brave, disciplined, authoritative, determinative and quite competitive. They are all about honour. They are highly sensitive, often feeling grief-stricken as if they have lost. Metals can overthink and be annoyingly indecisive. They often do not express what is on their minds, but then will complain about something afterwards. Out of balance, a metal person can be unkind, destructive and unrealistic. They tend to be an open book and don’t like to keep secrets. As well as being judgemental, metal personalities demand respect from others and themselves, being the perfectionist they are. Metal governs the lungs and large intestine, so common illnesses include irritable bowel syndrome, skin conditions and allergies, lung problems, chest infections and a poor immunity.
Wood :: The Pioneer
The emotion of wood is anger.
Wood-type people are very kind, steady, sympathetic and gentle. They like to be generous and often donate to charities. They are the planners, the CEO’s, as they are highly organised, logical and practical. Wood elements are innovative, unique and very assertive, independent and great at making decisions. They love a challenge and are always the first to spring to action. They can be ruthless and brutal, impatient and intolerant and irritated and when out of balance. At times of weakness, they have a tendency to feel hopeless and lose their optimism, so become upset, nervous and unstable. They lose their ability to make decisions and become un-opinionated and undetermined as well as inflexible and even jealous. If you are a wood person, you tend to suffer from migraines and headaches, vertigo and dizziness. As wood governs the liver and gall bladder, you may suffer cirrhosis or fatty liver, and gallstones and jaundice as well as PMT/PMS and anger issues.
Earth :: The Nurturer
(Lady of the Peace)
The emotion of earth is worry.
Earth elements are trustworthy, steady, loyal and very responsible. They are honest, religious, reliable and always there when you need them. Like Mother Nature, they are inviting, nurturing and caring. They love to look after others. What makes them most happy is to make others happy – helping other people is what fills that void within them. They are also typically the comfort eaters. Earth elements are slow and steady, and don’t like change too much, so are very decisive. Earth elements are homebodies who love coking for others and make a fuss over their loved ones. Out of balance, they can become selfish, insincere, and very self-indulgent. They might exploit others weaknesses but are quick to play the victim. They often feel misunderstood, like no one cares and can be quite shrewd, cheap and aloof. As earth controls the stomach and spleen, health issues may include stomach ulcers, reflux and indigestion, as well as low energy, diabetes, weight issues and digestive issues like bloating and gastritis.
Water :: The Philosopher
(Miss Change maker)
The emotion of water is fear.
Water people are intelligent and are wise, old souls, often blunt and to the point, as well as inventive and resourceful. They tend to think before they leap yet have a great sense of adventure. They know how to have fun and live life on the edge yet have a great ability to be still and sit in silence. Like flowing water, they cannot be stopped; they are ever moving forward and have the potential to create change, though can be very quiet achievers. They can be big dreamers and are very open minded, adapting well to change. Water out of balance can become stuck in fear and overthinking. They can become cowardly, narrow-minded, and lack direction and intellect. When weak, they can be reckless and dangerous, or conspiring and paranoid. As water governs the kidneys and bladder, health issues may include cystitis and urinary problems as well as kidney stones. Water people may also suffer from low back pain and weakness, sexual dysfunction and fertility problems.
Fire :: The socialite
(Life of the party)
The emotion of fire is joy.
Fire people have a contagious energy. They are polite and expressive, very charming, cavalier and charismatic. They are usually happy-go-lucky people, who are excitable and active, artistic, passionate and romantic. They love drama and sentiment and have a tendency to have addictive personalities. Fire people will seek joy, gratification and the attention of others to feel happy. They love parties and social gatherings and don’t enjoy being alone so they often bring the party wherever they go. If out of balance, fire people can become recluse and almost agoraphobic, hiding from the world and fearing human connections. They can become deeply sad, grey and depressed, losing their inner joy. They can also become the addicted type, wether it be love, sex, drugs or alcohol. Fire types are inclined to have low self-confidence and lack self love, yet can also become aggressive, restless and impulsive. As fire governs the heart, the small intestine and the pericardium, health issues may include circulatory and blood pressure irregularities, as well as cardiovascular problems. Fire people may also be prone to anxiety, depression and insomnia.
To read more about your element and how to nurture it, click HERE.
Please Note: this is not a definite diagnosis of your element but more so a guide as to what you could be. To get a more accurate diagnosis, see your Chinese Medicine practitioner who specialises in Five Element Acupuncture)