What TCM Element Type are you?

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5 element cycle

The Chinese have formulated an ancient map called the five elements that theorizes how the natural world acts, interacts, and finds balance around us and within us.  The five elements are water, wood, fire, earth and metal.  We need all these elements to be alive.  Each has it’s unique properties and they are interconnected in various ways.  For instance, you need water to grow wood, or a plant.  This is true with the relationship of how our kidneys (the water element) in our body help support the liver, or wood element, in the body for detoxification.  And often water and wood personalities are beneficial to each other as well.

Read below and choose which element resonates most with you.  You can also take this fun QUIZ>

The Metal Type:  Common archetypes for the metal-dominant person are: the Queen, the Ballerina, the Yogi, the Alchemist.

The season associated with metal is fall and your gift is gracefully being able to be one with change – to let go, release, and surrender distractions, toxic thoughts, and unnecessary things in your life the same way a tree lets go of its leaves in fall. Though you enjoy solitude, you may feel like an outsider with very few people who understand you and you do not easily accept others’ knowing what is right for you. Sorrow tends to be in the backdrop of your life but it never destroys or controls you. You are moved towards finding refinement, spiritual connections to yourself and a deep meaning to life. You are great at discovering solutions and transforming hostile situations. You prefer information over entertainment, protocol over excellence and tend to have high values. You do not readily emote and under stress can easily become aloof and detached. Beware of becoming too much of a hermit or holding others to too high a standard of perfection. Avoid being too much in your head and allow yourself to be in your heart so you don’t miss out on people and the experiences around you.


Common ailments for Metal Types:

The Metal Element is associated with the lungs and skin and so when out
of balance, they are prone to respiratory problems such as asthma, common colds,
and skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

Eat more:

Juicy fruits and veggies, honey, walnuts, spinach, aloe vera, garlic, black cohosh


The Water Type:

Archetypes:  The Philosopher, the Baby, The Prince/ Princess, the Artist, the Poet

Water is associated with the winter – a time to reflect and hibernate.   Your gift is that you intentionally savor the moment and effortlessly find rituals and symbolism to make sense of life’s events.  You tend to move at a slower pace than most and though you enjoy company, you are fueled by introspection and time to yourself.  You search for meaning and importance in everything you do.  Fear can be immobilizing and heavy for you as you often feel scared or insecure about being you highest self.  You can be equally afraid of being successful as you are unsuccessful. Your favorite question is why!  You are a foodie and often know all the best restaurants in town. There is a tendency towards enjoying childlike ventures like tickling, camping out, and cuddling.  And you may yearn for someone else to do the hard work for you so you don’t have to as you prefer to take time to enjoy the small things in life.  It’s important to take downtime for yourself and not feel guilty about it!  When your partner says “We have to talk,” then really prioritize and make that time.  Have faith that things will be ok – lean on your friends to stay motivated, decisive and positive.

Common ailments for Water Types:

The Kidneys and the Bladder are the organs associated with the Water Type and when imbalanced, water types have a tendency to get urinary tract infections and have water metabolism issues leading to swelling and edema. The Water element also governs the bones so Water Types can have sore joints and back problems.

Eat More:

watermelon, apples, berries, unrefined olive oil, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, juniper berries, parsley leaf, goldenseal root, seaweeds


The Fire Type

Archetypes:  The Wizard, the Unconditional Lover, the Comedian, the Life of the Party

Your season is summer – just like the season, you energy is ready to expand.  Once as you arrive at a party (and you are ALWAYS down to party), the whole room lights up from your innate charisma!  And you can be counted on to be the first on the dance floor.  You are care-free, playful, touchy/ huggy and have a contagious positive spirit.  You are truly able to live in the present moment, without analyzing and over-thinking, and are always open to new experiences and interests.  Often, you are a role model to many people on how to enjoy life.  However, you are easily overwhelmed and have a tendency to fret about the small stuff, imagining worse case scenarios.  Remember there is a bigger picture so no need to let your imagination create too many stories.  Most events and energies have transitions and cycles and everything works out in the end.  Take time to slow down to avoid burn-out – clear your schedule and de-clutter your life.  Learn techniques to manage panic and over-stimulation as you are prone to adrenal fatigue.

Common ailments for Fire Types:

When imbalanced, the Fire Type can suffer anxiety with sweating, insomnia and palpitations. They’re prone to overheating and often have ruddy complexions, acne and skin rashes.  The heart is the organ most associated with the fire element and circulatory problems can be common.  If they are over-stimulated, adrenal fatigue is also common.  Take extra care to avoid or protect against EMF (electromagnetic frequency) as you are sensitive to an overload of cellphones, microwave towers and computers.

Eat more:

green tea, oregano, garlic, ginger, tumeric, omega-3 fatty acids, apples, carrots, raspberries, asparagus


The Wood Type

Archetypes:  The Pioneer, the Solider, the Visionary, the Warrior

Spring is the associated season and is all about growth and movement and wood types are the same.  You have a gift to see the big picture, are solution-oriented, and always seek the best in things.  Your tenacity and strength both in body and spirit definitely makes you a game changer!  You are stong, sturdy, stable, fearless, logical, reasonable, bold, independent, and unapologetic.  Nothing upsets you more than injustice.  Respect, honesty, and loyalty mean everything to you.  You don’t back down from a chance to debate or confront an issue and are not easily swayed by other’s opinions. You know what you want and you go about organizing the world to get it, pushing yourself to the limit – right NOW.  However, your tendency to be a work-a-holic can wreak havoc on your relationships and if you don’t take time for rest and daily exercise your health easily fails and you can get easily irritated.  A balanced wood can rule the world but you easily tend to get regimented in your ways and have controlled and limited ways of reacting to the world and often feel like people are distractions from your goals.  Wood type women have it rough in this day – seen as rebels more than their male counterparts you are seen as powerful.  Don’t allow anger to get the best of you though!  Use your anger to fuel your creativity.  Switch gears, switch environments and speak mindfully and with kindness so you can be the leader you are born to be without being seen as overpowering or arrogant.

Common ailments for Wood Types:

When overly purpose-driven or stressed, Wood Types can be easily irritated,
frustrated and impatient and suffer health problems such as PMS, high
blood pressure, tight muscles and headaches. Because you have strong livers, which gives you the power to push yourself to your limits, when stressed you reach to alcohol or other drugs and unhealthy means of relieving stress.

Eat more:

lemons, dark leafy greens, salmon, almonds, dandelion root, milk thistle, peppermint, Oregon grape root


The Earth Type:

Archetypes:  The Mommy, the Preschool Teacher, the Caregiver, the Empath, the Humanitarian

Earth-types excel at keeping calm during transitions because their associated seasons are the Equinoxes and Solstices.  True to your element, you are often seen taking care of the Earth somehow as much as you care for your communities and the people around you.   You love comfort and bring comfort to others so they feel loved and safe- and since you are a gifted empath, you always seem to know exactly what others need and desire.  It pains you to exclude people.  You are the ultimate underdog:  doing and giving without any intention of being memorialized for your efforts.  You make an excellent collaborator and personal assistant as you hum along worker-bee style with your own sense of time, without burning yourself out.  One of the most friendly truly kind and altruistic of the elements, you love serving the masses and building community and often pour your devotion into your relationships. However, you tend to give to the point of self-sacrifice and can be stubborn about not needing help from others.  Overtime, this imbalance can manifest as an extreme need to be needed or feeling resentful when there is no reciprocity.  Ask for exchange and for help!  We all need it, even the best of us.  When the times get tough, you get to worrying and ruminating which can lead to over-mothering children.  You tend to be prepared for any scenario involving sickness or injury during travel.  It can seem foreign to not worry but you need to learn emotional boundaries to separate your life from others – you are not responsible for other peoples’ happiness, their feelings, or the course of their lives.  Because change can be hard for you, it is important to realize when to let go of things, people, and the past.  Tune into your inner voice so you don’t get lost in indecision.

Common ailments for Earth:

The digestive organs are associated with the Earth Element so
you are prone to digestive problems, loose stools, fatigue and food allergies. It’s common to have cravings for carbohydrates and gain weight easily.  Beware of overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods to substitute for a lack of love in your life.

Eat More:

sweet potato, squash, black beans, fatty fish, chamomile, alfalfa, burdock root