The back bone of Traditional Chinese Medicine consists of a philosophy that’s been reborn over and over again throughout China’s long and beautiful history. Through the rise and fall of Daoism, Confucianism and various dynasties that have long influenced the way people thought and behaved one thing has remained: the seasons of life.
TCM’s roots began with a very primitive understanding of disease which involved the ideas of spirits, ghosts and shamans. However, it’s evolved overtime to a systematic structure of health that entwines traditional and modern medicine. This very primitive way of looking at health should not be ignored or pushed to the side but should be the core of how individuals live their life. Health isn’t solely based on how to cure an illness but how to prevent it from occurring at all. Being in tune with the cycles of life will allow the body to promote its own healing environment and therefore overcoming disease.
By understanding how we can benefit from this way of life we know how to protect ourselves as well. Nature provides us with food, shelter, rain, sun, air and other miraculous benefits however nature can also bring environmental destruction and disease. Living your life as mother earth intended means utilizing what nature provides and knowing what it doesn’t provide. Thus, accommodating one’s life to the positive and negative phenomena of each season. Five element theory consists of five elements, seasons, colors, foods and organs that all influence each other in a cyclical manner.
Modern medicine provides quick solutions to an ever changing and demanding world. In a consumer based society individuals grow further and further away from nature. With this new way of living people have become isolated by greed and unhealthy living habits. Five element theory is perceived as a primitive outdated health system in the eyes of western medicine.
However, if society wants to preserve the true identity of the human race then this simple philosophy it is not primitive at all. Eating seasonally, covering up our bodies during cold windy weather or taking herbs to boost immunity when the seasons are changing is following the course of nature as it was intended for us to do. Plants and animals effortlessly follow this synchronistic pattern just as the river flows effortlessly down the mountain. Five elements not only will benefit our own health but the health of the environment as well.
Written and submitted by Dimitra Kosmakos
Katzman, S. (2003). Qigong for staying young. New York: Avery.
Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text. Edinburgh:Elsevier.
MacKenzie, J. (2002). Discovering the Five Elements: One Day at a Time. Wind Palace