Taoist Qigong practices as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine theory utilize a unique health philosophy based upon emotional energies, elements, Feng Shui and internal organ systems. Today we know that unbalanced emotional states are one of the leading causes of disease and illness. Stanford University Medical School and numerous health experts say the number one killer on the planet is stress. Most physical and nonphysical health problems have long-term, physiological stress as their origin. The CDC also estimates that 80% of all health care dollars are spent on illnesses related to stress.
The Fire element rules the heart, pericardium, small intestine, central nervous system and is associated with addiction, obsession, passion, compulsion on the negative side and joy, happiness, pleasure, love and compassion on the positive side.
The Metal element rules the lungs, large intestine, skin, hair, nails and is associated with grief, sorrow, anguish, distress, depression and heartache as the negative pole. Its positive polarity is associated with feelings of wonder, amazement, awe, inspiration, excitement and celebration.
The Wood element rules the liver, gallbladder, eyes, tendons, ligaments and is associated with anger, irritation, rage and frustration as the negative polarity and gentleness, kindness, generosity and caring as its positive side.
The Earth element rules the spleen, stomach, pancreas, muscle and bone and is associated with worry, sympathy, anxiety, stress as well as an overall unforgiving attitude as its negative aspects. On the positive side, it is accepting and gives a very stable temperament, nurturing and supportive attitude, forgiving personality, contemplative thoughts and deep meditation.
The Water element rules the kidneys, bladder, sex organs, bone marrow, ears and is associated with fear, terror, panic, shock, anxiety and horror as its negatives. On the positive side, it leads to feelings of safety, security, contentment, calmness, relaxed disposition and peace.
Studying the element chart, we can see both the creative cycle shown by the clockwise circle and the destructive cycle shown by the 5-pointed star. In the circular clockwise cycle, known as the “Creative Cycle” we see that Water (fear) leads to Wood (anger), Wood (anger) leads to Fire (obsession), Fire (obsession) leads to Earth (worry), Earth (worry) leads to Metal (grief), Metal (grief) leads back to Water (fear).
The Destructive Cycle shown by the star is similar to the game “rock, paper, scissors.” You simply follow the direction of the arrows to find out that Water (peace) neutralizes Fire (obsession), Fire (joy) neutralizes Metal (grief), Metal (inspiration) neutralizes Wood (anger), Wood (kindness) neutralizes Earth (worry), Earth (acceptance) neutralizes Water (fear), etc.
The organ system of the body is divided into two general categories of yin and yang. In general, the solid organs are yin (receptive polarity) and the hollow organs are yang (radiating polarity). Thus each element has a positive pole and a negative pole that allows energy or a current to flow, much like a permanent bar magnet or electricity flowing through wires. The energetic pathway or networks in which the energy flows are known as meridians in Chinese medicine.
Many western doctors rejected the concept of the Chinese meridian system because it was an invisible network inside the body. In other words, if you dissect a human, you will not find a meridian system. Ironically more modern scientific research is beginning to prove that it does in fact exist. When researchers inject fluorescent magnetic nano-particles or radioactive substances into known acupuncture points, they discover that the particles don’t move through the blood vessels, or lymphatic system, but instead follow some unknown invisible network resembling acupuncture meridians at a rate of about 30-centimeters/hour. French researcher Pier Elsevier injected Technetium 99 into a known acupuncture point and found it flowing through this invisible meridian network that has been known to the Chinese for thousands of years.
In addition, each element is associated with one of the five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and feel, which are known as the “five thieves” because they all expend or deplete internal energy from the body. This is one way that silent meditation helps create a surplus of energy, i.e. energy is preserved by turning awareness inward thus quieting the 5-senses.
In terms of feng shui, each organ system is associated with a specific directional orientation, a season of the year, a color and a time of day pertaining to the position of the sun as opposed to an actual clock time. Fire, for example, is associated with red, facing south, summer, and high noon (the hottest time of day) when the sun is directly above your head. Water is the opposite. It is associated with blue, facing north, winter and solar-midnight, when the sun is directly below your feet on the opposite side of the earth. Wood is spring, green, east, and sunrise, whereas Metal is white, autumn, west, and sunset. Earth occurs between high noon and sunset and corresponds to the direction of southwest and the color yellow. Seasonally, this occurs late August through September, which is a time to harvest products of the earth.
Qigong practices such as Primordial Qigong, Fusion of the Five Elements and Healing Sounds Qigong teach one how to cultivate the positive aspects of the 5-elements in the creative cycle pattern, which is known as “cultivating virtues” as well as how to neutralize and transmute the negative qualities to bring about greater harmony, health, and balance to one’s life.
Fire: Heart “Love & Gratitude”
Small Intestine “Honor & Respect, Important”
Earth: Spleen “Joy & Happiness”
Stomach “Fair, Accepting, Non-judgmental”
Metal: Lungs “Wonder, Amazement, Confidence”
Large Intestine “Moral, Ethical, Virtuous”
Water: Kidney “Safe, Secure, Peaceful”
Bladder “Calm, Carefree, Patient”
Wood: Liver “Friendly, Caring, generous”
Gallbladder “Kind, Gentle, Loyal”