A Glimpse into the Chinese Five Elements and Ill-Health

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There is a passage in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) that says that there are “100 types of illnesses that are caused by climate conditions—damp, cold, heat, wind and rain; an imbalance of the two basic forces—yin and yang; emotion; diet; and the environment.”

This one sentence describes how the development of illness can be described within the traditional Chinese theory of the 「five elements」—fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.

  1. Climate

With the heat of summer, the skin’s pores open to discharge heat, and the hot yang force eliminates any coldness in the body.

However, if air conditioning is turned on, both the heat and the cold remain in stagnant circulation within the body, thereby causing disease, according to Chinese thoughts.

Similarly, if the heating is turned on high in the winter, the body’s yang force is thought to become depleted, as the skin’s pores can neither close properly, nor open to sweat.

Come spring, the body has often become depleted of energy, causing the limbs to easily feel weak and cold.

Moreover, a big difference in indoor and outdoor temperatures can cause the blood vessels to cool or warm too rapidly, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.

2.The Two Energies—Yin and Yang

The yang energy is said to be masculine, and the yin energy, feminine. In a family environment, for example, a harmonious relationship between a couple is said to correlate to these two energies being in harmony. The whole family, including children, are more likely to be happier and healthier.

3. Emotion

Science has proven that the mind and one’s emotions can directly affect physical health. At least 50% of illnesses are thought to be caused by psychological imbalances.

In five element theory, each emotion is linked to one’s internal organs.

Anger correlates to the wood element, and to the liver and gallbladder. Letting anger build up inside is said to damage the liver.

Worrying is linked to the earth element, and to the stomach and spleen. People who tend to overthink or over worry are more prone to developing problems related to these organs.

Sadness is associated with the metal element, and to the lungs and the skin. If sadness and depression become lodged in the body long-term, one’s breathing may become shallow, the hair turn grey, and the skin become wrinkly.

Health supplements have their place; however, in improving one’s health, it may prove more effective to work on stabilizing one’s emotions and state of mind.

4. Diet

Whatever the weather, chilled foods and beverages that are below the body’s temperature, are thought to be damaging to the stomach and the spleen.

Also, meat is considered best consumed in small quantities, with priority being placed on fruit and vegetables. Some scientists consider the human teeth, saliva and stomach to be better adapted for such a diet.

Moreover, it is recommended to only eat until about 70% full. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all important, as well as regular meal times.

Of course, smoking and drinking are considered harmful to the body.

5. Sleep

Adequate and good quality sleep is considered vital for health. In the five element theory, sleep is linked to the water element, and to the kidneys and the bones.

Recharging the body through rest is said to preserve the kidneys, which are thought to control one’s vitality and bone health. The red bone marrow in bones, in turn, is linked to the formation of new blood cells. Depleting the kidneys through staying up late at night, for example, may lead to the quality of blood in the body not being in an optimal state.

Adequate ventilation is considered important for good quality sleep, and it is thought best when the bedroom is not over-sized, and faces the direction of sun-rise.

Translated by: Chua BC
Edited by Emiko Kingswell

Original post: http://www.visiontimes.com/2019/02/11/a-glimpse-into-the-chinese-theory-of-5-elements-and-health.html

《黃帝內經》:所有疾病都起於這5點

《黃帝內經》說:

「夫百病之始生者,必起於燥溼、寒暑、風雨、陰陽、喜怒、飲食、居處。」

一句話,說盡了所有疾病的來源,從中可以總結出五個要點。

1 氣候

燥溼、寒暑、風雨。

過去,氣候變化和天氣狀況完全順應自然,人很難干涉。

現在不同了,人制造了空調和暖氣。冬天可以很暖和,夏天可以很涼快。

但是,這些東西反過來也會損害人的健康。

夏天明明是在出汗,人的身體需要發散,毛孔打開,體內的寒氣隨著陽氣排出去。空調一開,這些東西無法排出,只能逆著回到體內,疾病也就發生了。

古人說:秋收冬藏。冬天暖氣太熱,其實有違養生之道。

冬季室溫太高,會導致毛孔不能關閉,甚至出汗,這就導致陽氣喪失。來年開春,體內能量不足,四肢容易痿弱逆冷。

而且,室內室外溫差過大,血管驟冷驟熱,容易引發心血管疾病。

2 陰陽

「陰陽之道,發端乎夫婦」。

男為陽,女為陰。夫妻關係和諧,那就是陰陽和諧。

中醫講:「陰平陽祕,精神乃治;陰陽離絕,精氣乃絕。」

有的夫妻,天天吵架,不是你抱怨我,就是我埋怨你,一家人整天氣鼓鼓的。在這樣的家庭裡長大的孩子,身心健康會受到影響。

夫妻吵架,孩子遭罪。這是顯而易見的事。

婆媳關係、親子關係、夫妻關係,這三種關係必須是夫妻關係放在主位。

只有夫妻關係理順,陰陽調和,夫妻恩愛,相濡以沫,整個家庭才能安康幸福。

3 喜怒

情緒不只是修養問題,還是一個健康問題。

「天有五行御五位,以生寒暑燥溼風;人有五臟化五氣,以生喜怒悲思恐。」

喜怒悲思恐,這五種情緒都容易對人的身體造成傷害。

現代科學也證明:人的心理行為直接影響身體健康,至少有百分之五十的疾病是由心理失衡造成的。

「心藏神,喜傷心,恐勝喜。」

一個人的憂愁和煩惱,直接影響人的氣血。

「肝藏魂,怒傷肝,悲勝怒。」

情緒一上頭,怒火中燒,人的肝臟就容易受到損傷。

「腎藏志,恐傷腎,思勝恐。」

一個人膽小懦弱,那麼腎臟就不能藏養人的陽氣。

「脾藏意,思傷脾,怒勝思。」

思慮過重的人,脾胃一般都很差。

「肺藏魄,憂傷肺,喜勝憂。」

憂愁的人,傷肺,頭髮容易白,皮膚容易長皺紋。

與其吃保健品,不如控制情緒,穩定心態。保持心神安寧,盡量少動肝火,不要思慮過多,多樂觀少憂愁,戰勝恐懼心理。

4 飲食

吃葷吃素,吃冷吃熱,吃多吃少,抽菸喝酒,都會對人體產生影響。

無論甚麼時候,都少吃冷食。

冷食首先傷害脾胃,脾胃是後天之本。冷食還會損傷陽氣,陽氣為先天之本。

長輩經常說「趁熱吃」,這裡面有中國古人的智慧。

少吃葷,多吃素。

人類的牙齒,虎牙很少,這也證明人類的腸胃更傾向於素,而不是葷。

吃飯,七分飽最佳。

早、中、晚都要吃,注意飲食規律。

抽菸喝酒,百害而無一利,能躲就躲。

5 居處

睡覺,就是養命。

現在很多人喜歡熬夜,年紀輕輕,熬上幾年,胃病、早衰、脫髮,甚麼毛病都來了。

為甚麼?

因為睡眠養腎,腎主精、主骨。

骨頭管著人體的造血功能,長期熬夜,人體的精血就不能得到保證。長此以往,身體越來越差。

切忌早晚顛倒,務必保證充足的睡眠。

還有就是臥室的方位。風水,說的就是人所處的環境。

通風,朝陽,臥室別太大,一般就沒問題。

作者說:

四季輪轉,不違背自然之道。空調別太冷,暖氣別太熱。

夫妻之間,多體諒,多關心,經營一個和諧溫馨的家庭。

控制情緒,適當疏解;多素少葷,少吃生冷。

保證睡眠,早睡早起;居室朝陽,乾淨整潔。

做到這些,疾病自然遠離。

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