Holistic wellnessby Eloise Lonobile

The five constitutions in TCM

According to Chinese philosophy there are 5 main elements that govern the cycle of life and energy


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Chinese philosophy in general, there are 5 main elements that govern the cycle of life and energy, each of which is associated with a season of the year: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water.

Each person contains within themselves characteristics of each Element but the way in which they manifest themselves, and their proportion, makes each of us absolutely unique. Normally, one or two elements prevail over the others, and this prevalence is what dictates our physical and mental tendencies.

Wood / Fire / Earth / Metal / Water are the five Elements on which Traditional Chinese Medicine is based.
I cinque Elementi in MTC


The Wood constitution  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the element Wood is linked to Spring. It's the time of year when Yang takes over from Yin. Nature recovers after the winter rest and begins a new cycle; it is a moment associated with childhood, a symbol of rebirth.

The Wood constitution belongs to a person who is generally long-limbed and of good physical structure, with well-formed muscles and indisputable pragmatic and rational qualities. He is a loyal and altruistic person, who is not afraid of responsibilities and new projects, who has great determination and an innate combativeness in achieving his goals, even if he can sometimes appear rigid.

An excess of Yang can lead to too much aggression and anger, the organ associated with this element is in fact the Liver, therefore all those activities that relax the tissues and lengthen them are generally recommended, to maintain both physical and mental flexibility. A lack of Yang can lead to an apparent excess of Yin and the person becomes shy and insecure, prone to crying, changeable and with problems related to movement.

The color associated with Wood is Green; its taste is acidic.

Recommended essential oils:

  • Lavender
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet orange

Recommended massages:

  • Thai Massage - because it acts deeply on the tissues and makes them more flexible
  • Swedish Massage - because it works on all tissues with a lot of mixing
  • Maori® Massage - because it works with woods and is a deep relaxant
  • Wood

    The Fire constitution  

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine the element of Fire is linked to Summer. It is the time of the year when Yang is at its maximum splendor, the Sun at its Zenith, the heat everywhere.

    The Fire constitution belongs to a person who is generally of medium height, not particularly tall, and with a massive and muscular build, although there is a sub-type with a more slender appearance. He is a person full of energy and vitality, always on the move and with quick and lively gestures, bright eyes, and a generally colorful complexion. He is a passionate and extroverted person, who ignites quickly, very combative and outgoing, who loves to be the center of attention, charismatic and exuberant, sometimes bold and aggressive.

    The Fire constitution is linked to the Heart, and an excess of Yang can lead to cardiovascular and blood pressure problems. This person needs to stop every now and then and learn to listen to himself to understand that he needs to rest and calm the Yang, both physical and emotional.

    If unbalanced he may feel the weight of things to do, be oppressed by worries, become unusually pessimistic, agitated, lose sleep.

    The color associated with Fire is Red; its taste is bitter.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Lavender
    • Ylang-ylang
    • Palmarosa
    • Rosemary

    Recommended massages:

  • Deep Tissue Massage - because it loosens and drains the muscles
  • Lomi Lomi Hawaian Massage - because it is a muscle relaxant that works on the body like a flow of water, and therefore incorporates the Water element into the Fire Yang force
  • Decontracting Massage - because it helps to relax the muscles
  • Fire

    The Earth constitution  

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Earth element is linked to the end of Summer. It is the time of the year when Yang is in its waning phase and Yin has made room within it. Nature is at the moment of greatest prosperity, the harvest is abundant and the land is rich in fruits that were filled with vital energy during the summer.

    The Earth constitution belongs to a person who is generally of medium height and with a full but not very muscular build, generally lax at the tendon level and a tendency to be overweight. She is a calm and quiet person, generous and conciliatory, welcoming and flexible, wise, who moves with slow and somewhat heavy gestures, and she doesn't like change much, but she is methodical and organized and equipped with practical intelligence.

    The Earth constitution is linked to the Spleen/Stomach pair, and an imbalance can lead to metabolic problems, gastritis or diabetes, developing dependence on others or being over protective. This person needs to follow her rhythms without feeling overwhelmed by external stimuli. Movement, even as simple as walking, if done consistently is very good for him.

    The color associated with the Earth is Yellow; its flavor is sweet.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Incense
    • Lemon
    • Peppermint
    • Sandal

    Recommended massages:

  • Californian Massage - because with its delicacy it works on the emotional part
  • Thai Oil Massage - because it works on the Thai meridians and reharmonizes the person
  • Chinese Meridians Massage - because it works mainly on the Earth Element of the Chinese meridians
  • Earth

    The Metal constitution  

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine the element Metal is linked to Autumn. It is the time of the year when Yin is in the ascendant phase and takes its place compared to Yang. Nature prepares for winter by eliminating the superfluous and focusing on the fundamental things. It is a season of transformation and internalization.

    The Metal constitution belongs to a person who is generally long-limbed and thin and has a delicate and frail appearance, poorly developed muscles, loose ligaments. He has a generally polite and composed, relaxing manner; he is a calm, dreamy, but extremely meticulous and precise person, endowed with an abstract, witty and brilliant, very rational intelligence. When in balance he is a volcano of ideas but tends to forget the emotional part of him.

    The Metal constitution is linked to the Lung; an imbalance can lead to pessimism and sadness, mood instability, poor aptitude for physical work, withdrawal from others, fussiness and distrust. He gets sick easily at the pulmonary level.

    The color associated with Metal is White; its flavor is spicy, which strongly recalls the concrete, something that this constitution, being very mental, needs.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Sweet orange
    • Cypress
    • Eucalyptus
    • Tea tree

    Recommended massages:

  • Thai Oil Massage - because it reharmonizes the body on a physical and emotional level
  • Cranio-Sacral Massage - because it helps you listen to your body
  • Chinese Meridians Massage - because it helps to let go of the emotions related to rooting
  • Metal

    The Water constitution  

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine the element of Water is linked to Winter. It is the time of the year when Yin is at its highest and nature seems asleep. It is the moment of rest, where it is necessary to conserve and hoard the energy accumulated during the summer and set aside during the autumn. The rhythms slow down, the body closes in on itself to nourish its internal energies.

    The Water constitution belongs to a person who is generally long-limbed and frail but with the upper part of the body narrower than the lower part, where the Yin descends and deposits. May suffer from water stagnation and swelling. On a character level, he is a generally sociable and extremely malleable person, with a great ability to adapt to circumstances, sensitive and calm, but with a strong spirit of determination and brilliant intuition.

    The Water constitution is linked to the Kidney organ, which has an important draining and purifying function.

    If in psycho-physical imbalance, there is a tendency to give little value to affections and exploit every means to achieve one's objectives, or vice versa, to suffer from exhaustion, to have a tendency to please others too easily and to be insecure and prey to fear.

    The color associated with Water is Black; its flavor is salty which, if thought in relation to the natural element mother of life which is the Sea, reflects the eternal attraction, opposition and complementarity between salt and water.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Virginia Cedar
    • Geranium
    • Cypress
    • Ginger
    • Thyme

    Recommended massages:

  • Sciamanic Massage - because it allows you to move all the connective tissue
  • Vodder Lymphatic Massage - because it stimulates the production of new lymphatic circulation in the body
  • Drainage Massage - because it has a deep draining action on all tissues
  • Acqua

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