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The 5 Elements 五行

The Five Phases (五行) were first mentioned in the Zhou period (c.1000–770 bc). The principle of the Five Elements is a central tenet of Chinese medicine, appearing in many aspects such as the five flavors of medicines, the five emotions, the five Yin organs, and many others.

The five elements are constantly moving and changing, each becoming dominant at different times in the natural cycle, and affecting an individual's health. Each element both promotes and controls another and the relationship between the Five Elements is illustrated in the figure below.

Figure 1: Relationship between the Five Elements

Not only are the Five Elements crucial in clinical diagnosis, they can also be applied to our daily lives. The figure below illustrates some common constituents of the Five Elements.

Figure 2: The Five Elements and their respective constituents

When the Five Elements are out of equilibrium, health problems develop. This happens when one element becomes overly powerful or active. Each person is a unique combination of ingredients, and in order to be really healthy, these elements must be balanced.



Chester Ng

Chong Hoe Healthcare


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