Elements in Chi Gung


To understand and describe the universe the ancient Chinese used the Yin-Yang and Five Element theories to describe everything in the cosmos. The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

The basic theory behind the five elements can be summed up by two normal and three adverse interactions. Mutual nourishment and mutual restraint are normal cyclic patterns. Mutual over-restraint, reverse-restraint and mutual burdening are the adverse conditions. By understanding the cyclic patterns in the human organs (elements) and the possible adverse conditions, the illness of one organ can also indicate problems in the corresponding organs.

Mutual nourishment refers to the cyclic enhancement of the five elements. In this normal cycle each element gives and receives nourishment in order to keep each other in check and balance. Mutual nourishment and restraint cycles are not independent, they interact with each other and are closely related.

Five Elements






Human Body

Emotions Anger Joy Pensiveness Sorrow Fear
Anatomy Tendons Blood Vessels Muscles Skin, Hair Bones
Orifices Eyes Tongue Mouth Nose Ears
Bowels Gall Bladder Small Indestine Stomach Large Indestine Urinary Bladder
Viscera Liver Heart Spleen Lungs Kidneys


Directions East South Centre West North
Seasons Spring Summer Late Summer Autumn Winter
Weather Wind Heat Wet Dry Cold
Development Production Growth Transformation Harvest Storage
Colours Green Red Yellow White Black
Tastes Sour Bitter Sweet Spicy Salty

5 Elements

The inner arrows display the mutual restraint cycle and the outer ones the mutual nourishment cycle.




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