The Five Element Connection by Anthony Cerabino, BM, LMT, MS, LAC

Anthony Cerabino Acupuncture


Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? “This makes me livid.” “You have the Gall to do this to me.” “This makes me sick to my stomach.” “I feel bound up in my gut.” “I feel like my heart is broken.” “I feel like I just caught a cold in my chest.” “I feel so scared that I have to relieve my bladder.” “I feel like my whole body is on fire.” “I feel tightness in my chest.” “I can see it in the whites of your eyes.” “You’re wearing your heart on your sleeve.” “My palms are sweaty.” “I feel like I can’t breathe.” “I feel like a plum-pit is trapped in my throat.” “I feel so scattered that I can’t rest my racing thoughts (or heart) and I stay up all night long.” These are just a few of the many phrases I hear from my patients. It’s as if they are telling me the root of their problem.

Earth. Water. Fire. Wind. Metal. These basic elements of life can give the licensed acupuncturist many diagnostic tools to help bring balance back to the body and mind. According to Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver and gallbladder correspond to the wind element, the number eight, the emotion of anger, the color green, the season of spring, the taste of sour, the direction of east and the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. The liver rules the joints. The liver functions most efficiently from 1:00-3:00 AM. Isn’t it interesting that we need the liver to filter out the alcohol that we put into our body at the same time of the evening many people will have a drink or two? Many cases are reported that people who crave vinegar have a liver deficiency. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine” the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of energy, or the “life energy” or “Qi,” (pronounced Chee) circulating in the body. This is just a partial representation of the associations that are made with each organs’ “personalities or properties,” according to Five Element Theory.

Isn’t it very interesting that most heart attacks happen between the hours of 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM? The heart operates most efficiently from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM. These are the hours when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The heart is a fire element. Fire added to the fire element can overburden the heart organ and create an excess heat condition. The heart can “burn itself out” if the organ is not properly functioning. The rhythm of the heart’s electrical system can be easily over-burdened with heat which can result in misfiring, palpitations, arrhythmia, etc.

Is there a coincidence that childhood bed-wetting is related to the kidneys? The emotion related to the kidneys is fear.
In my medical practice I try to keep things as simple as possible and use the golden rule of “Common Sense.” I try to organize the patients’ signs and symptoms in a very practical and “user-friendly” way which can be understood by both the patient and me. Many recognized patterns have re-occurred countless times throughout Chinese medical history, which dates back at least 2500 years. Pragmatic, evidence-based, clinical observation is “the heart” that propels Traditional Chinese Medicine into the 21st Century. A combination of both Eastern and Western medical disciplines are the future of modern medicine.