The Five Elements

What are the Five Elements?


The five elements are a closed system of movement between the energies of your organs to and from every other part of your body. They are the energies of the universe and are present and working together in the universe of your BODY.

The Five Elements and their associated organs are: METAL (lung, large intestine)  WATER (kidney, bladder) WOOD (liver, gallbladder)  FIRE (heart, small intestine, pericardium, small intestine) and  EARTH (spleen, stomach).

Each element has a corresponding body part, emotion, thought, season, color, taste and smell! Every imbalance that you experience in your body will be both directly and indirectly related to one or more of these elements. In receiving Ensoflow shiatsu you will begin to learn about how these elements work in your body, and where the energies of the organs express themselves. In doing so, you begin to make deeper connections between your organs, energies, and life circumstances. This can help you make positive changes that impact your health.

WOOD – The energy of wood is growth and upward movement. The color for wood is green, as in plants and tall trees. The season is spring, where growth occurs and has to deal with our own growth and creativity. The organs are the liver, said to be the master planner, and the gall bladder, which houses the HUN, or ego energies. The emotion for wood is anger. Wood deals with tendons and opens into the eyes.

FIRE – The energies of fire involve expansion and transformation. The color is red, the season is summer, the sensation is HOT. Fire deals with close relationships; both with the self and others. The organs are the Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, and Triple Heater. The heart deals with our self-love, self-expression, and state of mind. The emotion of fire is JOY. Fire rules the vessels and opens into the tip of the tongue.

EARTH – Earth holds the energy of nourishment and centering; both within your body and within your life. The STOMACH and SPLEEN are the organs and involve digestion and assimilation; It is the Gu Qi – (Qi from food), breaking down food particles into nutrients that can be used to nourish the rest of the body. The emotion can be worry, as a child might worry if it were hungry and alone, not knowing where it’s food and love will come from. When one is nourished, one has the ability to venture out into life to do one’s work. Think “mothering.”

METAL – Metal is the energy of both inspiration and letting go. Metal houses the lungs and the large intestine. The season is fall, when the air becomes dry and cold, and the color is White. The emotion is grief, as it is normal during fall to let go of what we no longer need. Metal oversees the skin, sometimes called the third lung, and opens into the nose.

WATER – The water meridian contains the energies of the kidney and bladder. Both of these organs deal with water metabelism, purification, and deeper nourishment. The kidney is said to house the JING, which is the original essence that we are born with. Taking care of our kidneys allows us to pull nourishment from all of the other elements for our health, and save this resource well for later in life when it is most needed. The color of water is deep blue like the ocean. Water maintains the bones and opens into the ears.


Some common symptoms that might be suggesting that an element is imbalanced are:

WOOD : headaches, migraines, pain below the ribs, anger, irritability, insomnia between 11pm – 3 am, shoulder pain, drinking too much, mid-back pain, depression, addictions, menstrual problems, controlling behavior, workaholism, obsession with success and/or exercise. 

FIRE: insomnia, trouble falling asleep, heart problems, circulation issues, depression, lack of joy, mania, feeling isolated, hyperactivity, hypertension, nervous system disorders, loneliness, excitability, identity issues, heart palpitations, sores on the mouth and tongue, heat rashes, digestive issues, boundary issues and relationship issues. 

EARTH: low self esteem, putting on weight too easily, dampness in the body, stomach and spleen issues, swollen spleen, excessive or tendency to worry, cloudy thinking, thinking too much, canker sores, not feeling part of your community, feeling undernourished, anxiety, feeling tired in the morning, feeling ungrounded

METAL: Constipation, loose stools, belly pain and tightness, hoarding, lung issues, asthma, catching colds easily or frequently, unresolved grief, breathing issues, smoking, difficulty letting go, boundary issues, eczema, perfectionism, OCD disorders, being too messy or too clean, waking up between 3-5 am. 

WATER: low back pain, reproductive issues, feeling tired, adrenal fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, afternoon fatigue, bladder issues, kidney issues, thin hair, anxiety, fearfulness, being alone too often.