Holistic wellness
by 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.

«The Wood stands up, flexible and strong, like the tree that leverages its sap and its roots to rise splendidly upwards, to unfold its branches that shake in the wind»*

The determination to face new situations and projects are a key characteristic of this element, as are reactivity and the ability to "look far ahead". It is no coincidence that, among the orifices, the one associated with this element is the eye, and the symbolic animal that best represents it is the tiger: courageous, bursting but at the same time capable of planning (far-sightedness) and of mediating between aggression and self control.

The organ associated with this element is the Liver. The Liver represents, in a man, the movement of elevation, the gushing, the momentum, the impetuous determination of the beginnings, which is explained according to the richness and solidity of the base on which it rests (the roots of the tree). The wind is the setting in motion, the breath that animates and awakens the world and the land mass, which carries the seeds of life and unfolds especially in Spring. The strength linked to the Liver is muscular strength. Anger and wind are the great pathogenic factors of the Wood constitution, precisely because both are the maximum representatives of its power: a liver cannot be without wind and without anger, but must control and dominate them.

Aventurine Aventurine

Too much Yang can lead to too much aggression and anger. 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.
A person with a Wood constitution will particularly benefit from contact with Nature. A nice walk in the woods or in contact with the trees will always do him a lot of good. Furthermore, all those activities that relax the tissues and lengthen them are generally recommended, to maintain both physical and mental flexibility.
The color associated with Wood is Green or Blue-turquoise; its taste is acidic.
The recommended stone for this constitution is Aventurine, or Azurite.

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.

    Among the orifices, the one associated with this element is the tongue, important not only because with it we recognize the real flavor of a substance, but also because with it we express, through words, the richness of the heart; one expresses one's feelings, moods, and voluntarily modulates one's vital breath. Its symbolic animal is the monkey: intelligent, dynamic, always on the move and always joking, funny, cheerful, mischievous, it needs to be in a group and always be stimulated.

    «The heart is, in man, the one who holds the place of the sovereign (...); he propagates everywhere the fire of life, the power and the taste for living that come out, perpetually, from the void in which he shelters the Spirits »*
    Red Jasper Red Jasper

    The Fire constitution is linked to the Heart, and an excess of Yang can lead to cardiovascular and blood pressure problems. If unbalanced he may feel the weight of things to do, be oppressed by worries, become unusually pessimistic, agitated, lose sleep. 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.

    The color associated with Fire is Red; its taste is bitter.
    The recommended stone for this constitution is Carnelian or red Jasper.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Rose
    • Jasmine
    • Neroli
    • Patchouli

    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
  • Californian - because with its delicacy it can help counterbalance excess energy
  • 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.
    Among the orifices, the one associated with this element is the mouth; its symbolic animal is the bear, which with its majesty, greatness despite its size, with its calmness and its sure, well-balanced proceeding perfectly represents the opulence and stability given by the Earth.

    The Earth constitution is linked to the Spleen/Stomach pair, considered in Traditional Chinese Medicine the "granary" of the body, where energy and food reserves are accumulated.

    «The spleen is the organ capable of receiving everything and distributing everything; it is the master organ of transformations that ensures the correct assimilations, maintenance and permanent reconstruction of life"*
    Tiger's Eye Tiger's Eye

    An imbalance can lead to metabolic problems, gastritis or diabetes, to developing dependence on others or to 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, removing the risk of generating energy blocks, both on a physical and mental level (brooding).

    The color associated with the Earth is Yellow, Ocher and in general all the colors of the Earth; its flavor is sweet, understood not as a confectionery and sugary product (which is always bad for health), but as carbohydrates, rice, millet, wheat: the quintessential flavor of cereals produced by the earth.
    The stone associated with this constitution is Tiger's Eye or Amber.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Ylang ylang
    • 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.

    «Metal is the prototype of the condensed, dried matter within the Earth. Metal is the completed and hardened form; it is also the possibility of the loss of this form, with fusion, which allows diffusion, and then a new form (just as Autumn is the season in which everything reaches complete maturation, but to be cut, destroyed, eaten)»*
    White Agate White Agate

    Among the orifices, the one associated with this element is the nose, while its symbolic animal is the crane, which with its ability to remain in balance and deploy its energies (wings) can fly high, seek the purity and rarefaction of Sky.

    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, symbol of purity and sum of all colors; its flavor is spicy, which strongly recalls the concrete, something that this constitution, being very mental, needs.
    The stone associated with this constitution is White Agate.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • 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.

    «Water is the source of life; docile, it lends itself to every mutation; persevering, he always ends up going and arriving where he needs to. Liquid water penetrates the depths of the soil and flows towards the sea; vapor, it forms the clouds of the Sky or insinuates itself into the compact masses; ice, it blocks but also protects»*

    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 orifice linked to the Water constitution is the ear; his symbolic animal is the deer: watchful and attentive, he proceeds with graceful leaps but only when he feels sure of the terrain in which he is moving.

    Black Tourmaline Black Tourmaline

    The Water constitution is linked to the Kidney organ, which has an important draining and purifying function. If in psycho-physical imbalance he has a tendency to give little value to his affections and exploit every means to achieve his goals, or vice versa to suffer from exhaustion, have a tendency to please others too easily and be insecure and prey to fear.

    The color associated with water is dark blue, almost black, typical of deep and unfathomable water, or of the night; 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.
    The stone associated with this constitution is Black Tourmaline.

    Recommended essential oils:

    • Virginia Cedar
    • 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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