THE ELEMENT OF WOOD
In five element theory, the elements follow each other in a specific sequence. The element of wood follows water and leads to fire. In spirit with its Taoist roots, this is consistent with observations as they occur in nature. Wood is made from trees. In order to grow a tree, water is required. Then in turn, wood is required to generate a fire.
Within the initial Chinese Medicine texts, the explanations of the Five Element Theory were given in a poetic manner. Wood was said to be able to be both bent and straightened. Along with the element of metal, it is the foundation of prosperity. These old sayings can be at best cryptic and vague. The best way to get a feel for the element of wood is to understand how it is applied. The following are some examples.
Yin Organ: The Liver – The liver is related to wood. Treatment on wood related imbalances may involve treating he liver.
Yang Organ: The Gall Bladder – Treating the element of wood can also treat imbalances associated with the gall bladder.
Season: Spring – It is common for either (or both) the liver and gall bladder to be out of balance during the spring.
Climate: Wind – The liver is easily affected and taken out of balance by wind. The wind can lead to either headaches or stiff neck (both of which can be attributed to liver imbalances).
Direction: East – It is said that when an easterly wind blows it can cause a liver related headache.
Colours: Green – A complexion of a green hue may indicate a liver imbalance.
Taste: Sour – food and/or herbal medicine which is sour will benefit the liver.
Sense Organ: The Eyes – The liver (and hence the wood element) moistens and nourished the eyes.
Tissues: Sinews – The liver moistens and nourishes the sinews. It is common for the liver to the strengthened in order to treat problems involving ligaments and tendons.
Emotions: Anger – When liver (wood) energy stagnates and rebels upwards, it causes anger.
Sounds: Shouting – Those who shout are said to be affected by a liver (wood) disharmony.