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Chinese Medicine
Five Elements ?

In traditional Chinese philosophy, natural phenomena can be classified into the Five Elements (pronounced Wuxing Chinese): wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements were used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. Five phases is another way of translating Wuxing -- literally, "five goings". Traditional Taijiquan schools relate them to footwork and refer to them as five "steps".

The doctrine of five phases describes both a generating cycle and an overcoming cycle of interactions between the phases. In the generating cycle, wood generates fire; fire generates earth; earth generates metal; metal generates water; water generates wood. In the overcoming cycle, wood overcomes earth; earth overcomes water; water overcomes fire; fire overcomes metal; metal overcomes wood.

The doctrine of five phases was employed in many fields of early Chinese philosophy, including seemingly disparate fields such as music, medicine, and military strategy.

 Correlations between the five elements and other categories

Element
Direction
Color
Musical Note
Wood
east
blue or green
jue (mi)
Fire
south
red
zhi (sol)
Earth
center
yellow
gong  (do)
Metal
west
white
shang (re)
Water
north
black
yu  (la)

Some other correspondences are shown below:

Element
Heavenly creature
Season
Direction
Planet
Tastes
Sense
Viscera
Finger
Wood
Qing-long
the Green Dragon
Spring
east
Jupiter
sour
sight
liver
ring finger
Fire
Zhu-que
the Red Phoenix
Summer
south
Mars
bitter
sound
heart
middle finger
Earth
Huang-long
the Yellow Dragon
Change of seasons
center
Saturn
sweet
smell
spleen
index finger
Metal
Bai-hu
the White Tiger
Autumn
west
Venus
hot
taste
lung
thumb
Water
Xuan-wu
the Black Tortoise-Serpent
Winter
north
Mercury
salty
touch
kidney
little finger

 
   
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