Which element are you?
Is your body lean and sinewy...or full and round?
Do you tend toward rumination...or irritability?
From an Eastern perspective our constitution is reflected by the natural elements of wood, fire, earth, water, and metal. We are a blend of all elements, but most people will find that one element is dominant and reflects our personalities, body type, and emotions. Identifying a predominant element can help us therapeutically balance our physical and mental health.
Personality: Like a tree, wood types are about growth and change, determined, and directed.
Physical traits: lean, sinewy, high metabolism
Out of balance: irritability, frustration, suppressed emotions, high blood pressure, menstrual issues, migraines, tight muscles, eye problems, and struggles with addictions.
Recommendations: The wood element is connected to the Liver organ system which keeps a smooth flow of bodily substances. Encourage liver function by getting enough physical activity and eating leafy greens, sour foods (think fermented foods like pickles, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha) or tart apples and lemon.
Personality: Energetic, personable, intuitive, extroverted, and a flair for the dramatic.
Physical traits: Shaped like a flame they may be pointy at the top (pointy head and chin) and rounder in the middle with a ruddy complexion, thin hair, and a warm thermostat.
Out of balance: Cardiovascular concerns, circulatory issues (varicose veins, hemorrhoids) mouth or tongue sores, anxiety, insomnia, emotionally volatile, nervous laughter.
Recommendations: The fire element is connected to the heart organ which regulates our emotions and physically is responsible for moving blood throughout the body. Red is the associated color and eating antioxidant rich foods like beets, berries, cherries, goji berries will help nourish heart function. Since fire types are sensitive to heat cut back on hot, spicy foods and add in cooling foods like cucumber and watermelon
Personality: Like soil or a garden, earth types are giving and grounded. They are nurturing, peacemakers, like to bring people together and cultivate (gardens, crafting, cooking).
Physical traits: Naturally curvy, fuller and rounder, weight is easy to gain and hard to lose.
Out of balance: Repetitive worrying, pensiveness, may wear out giving too much to others, crave sweets, foggy headed, digestive issues, fatigue.
Recommendations: The earth element is connected to the digestive organs of spleen and stomach. With sensitivities (gas, bloating, loose stools, food intolerances) it is helpful to eat foods that are more easily digested. It is considered a "digestive fire" in Chinese Medicine, and foods that are warmer are more easily metabolized. This includes warm in temperature, as well as what is considered warm energetically. Cut back on foods right out of the refrigerator, ice water, and raw fruit and vegetables. Increase cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, turmeric, garlic, ginger, onions, chicken, soups and stews.
Personality: intellectual, organized, perfectionist, likes rules and structure.
Physical traits: Good metabolism, muscular, oval face. pale complexion.
Out of balance: Metal is associated with the lungs and large intestine. Physical imbalances result in asthma, frequent colds, constipation, skin ailments (rashes, eczema), dry skin or hair. Emotionally there can be grief, sadness, and worry.
Recommendations: If you wear jewelry you can chose the metal based on function. Gold is warming, healing, relaxing, and stimulates blood flow. If you run warm, silver is best due to its cooling properties. It is also thought to be calming, boost immunity and be anti-inflammatory. Copper is best for sore and achy joints. as well as alleviating headaches, promoting circulation, and can be grounding.
Personality: Determined, adaptable, self-sufficient, quiet, reflective.
Physical traits: Round body, grey complexion, low voice, apt to longevity.
Out of balance: The water element is connected to the kidneys. In Chinese Medicine this relates to water metabolism, bone health, and reproduction. Likely imbalances include sore joints, low back and knee pain, bladder issues, dark circles under eyes, infertility, edema, and emotions of anxiety and fear.
Recommendations: Craving salt? Salt is the flavor connected to the kidneys and water element and a craving may indicate a need to boost the kidneys. Add seaweed, miso, and tamari in moderation to your diet. Other foods that help kidney function include walnuts, kidney beans, black beans, millet, seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower), winter greens, and root vegetables.
Try acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to promote self-healing, encouraging the body to overcome pain, illness, extreme emotions, and restores homeostasis.