Shopping Cart

The Five Element Theory

Posted by Scott Pollak on

The Five Elements

Each season is assigned an element:

Spring is Wood, when Qi is in the liver and gallbladder.
Summer is Fire, when Qi is in the heart and small intestine. Fall is Metal, when Qi is in the lungs and large intestine. Winter is Water, when Qi is in the kidneys and bladder.

The two weeks between the seasons (solstice/equinox) is designated as the element Earth and Qi is in the stomach and spleen.

The Chinese found that when the energy of the prevailing season is residing in its corresponding organ, diseases of those organs are more prevalent. For example, more serious kidney diseases are diagnosed between the end of December and late February than at any other time. Heart disease occurs more frequently in the summer months than at any other time of the year.

By treating a weak organ during the time when the Qi is in that organ, a cure can take place. Treatment during other times of the year can only achieve relief, but not a cure of the ailment.

A Short Course on the Five-Element Theory

Chinese medicine provides the missing link for us as dog owners when we try in diagnosing the symptoms of disease that we see in our dogs that don't fall into any particular pattern. The Five Element Theory, which underlies Chinese Medicine, is the basis for acupuncture, herbology, and other alternative medical disciplines. Based on the concepts of balance and harmony called yin and yang (complementary opposites), this theory teaches that the constant ebb and flow of the energies of the universe influence health. Imbalances of these energies create disease. Through centuries of observation, the Chinese learned that there was a direct correlation between the seasons of the year and the prevalence of certain diseases. Studying the seasons, the life cycle of plants and animals and comparing them to their human counterparts, patterns emerged. So the natural elements, the seasons, and the human body became linked. This linkage included the major organs of the body. Paired together at different seasons were yin and yang organs. The solid yang organs, found on the back of the body, are paired with hollow or yin organs, found mostly in the interior and front of the body. So, we get pairings of organs such as liver (solid) and gallbladder (hollow), heart and small intestine, lungs and large intestine, kidney and bladder, and stomach and spleen. These organs are, in turn, paired to the seasons, the colors, the emotions, and the time of the day when symptoms are worse. Certain food groups support these organs.

Energy Flow

Perhaps, the main difference between Western and Chinese medicine is something called Qi, (pronounced Chi) which is considered the life or vital force of the body. This force is "switched on" at birth and extinguished at death. Qi travels around our body daily in a systematic way, stimulating and balancing each of the organ systems. Ill health is a sign that this vital force is in need of treatment.

Meridians

Qi moves through the body and uses channels of energy called meridians. These meridians follow the energy flow from one organ to another and are linked in the same way as the five elements. The liver and gallbladder are linked, the heart and small intestine, and so on.

Meridians are the connection between one set of organs and another. Think of them as an electrical wiring system just below the surface of the skin. This system is the outward connection to the inner organs. A kink in one of the wires will interrupt the energy to that set of organs.

What does a "kink" mean? It can be a scar that goes across one of the lines of energy to a major organ, causing that organ to function incorrectly. An example of this is a scar caused by the removal of front dewclaws on a dog. That point on the front leg is the major acupuncture treatment point for the large intestine. This particular meridian is used to treat skin problems, allergies and pain. Dogs that have had their front dewclaws removed have a scar. This scar "kinks" the line of energy of the meridian, and therefore, these dogs have a tendency toward more skin problems and can be more pain sensitive than those dogs that have their dewclaws intact.

Reading the Chart

Below is a chart that gives a short version of the interpretation of the Five Element Theory. Each organ system is listed, the time of the year that the energy of the body is in those organs, color of various bodily discharges, the area of the body where the "problems" show up, the emotions associated with those organs, foods in harmony with the organs and last, what makes the condition worse.

For example, in spring when energy is in the Liver and Gallbladder, pulled muscles or injured tendons are common. The expression of the Liver is in the eyes, and often a blue/green discharge is seen in the corner of the eye. The nails also reflect the health of the organ system, and brittle, chipped or lined nails all indicate the liver is not functioning at full capacity. Sometime dogs can lose their nails altogether.

Wood
Spring
Blue/Green

Fire
Summer
Red

Metal
Fall
White

Water
Winter
Black

Earth
Solstice / Equinox
Yellow

3/21 - 6/6
Wellness
Unleash
Para-Yeast

6/21 - 9/7
Unleash
Para-Yeast
Soothe

9/22 - 12/7
Colostrum
ReCover
Para-Yeast

12/22 3/6
ReCover
Unleash
Soothe

6/7 - 6/20
9/8 - 9/21
12/8 - 12/21
3/7 - 3/20
Wellness
Unleash

Liver
Gall Bladder
Muscles
Ligaments
Tendons
Toe Nails
Eyes

Heart
Sm. Intestine
Blood Vessels
Thyroid
Adrenal
Tongue

Lungs
Lg. Intestine
Skin
Nose
Spine

Kidney
Bladder
Bones
Body Hair
Ears
Gums
Anus
Genitals
Teeth

Stomach
Spleen
Pancreas
Lips
Mouth

Sight
Aggression

Wheat
Plums
Leek
Chicken

Speech
Joy

Reg Millet
Corn
Apricot
Lamb

Smell
Depression

Rice
Peach
Venison

Hearing
Fear

Beans
Collard Greens
Cooked Pork

Taste
Worry

Millet
Dates
Root Vegetables
Beef

Adversely affected by

Wind
Aggression

Heat
Happy
Hyperactive

Dryness
Depressed

Cold
Anxiety

Moisture
Uneasy

How to Use the Chart

The theory is a helpful way to help diagnose what is wrong with your dog. Once you have diagnosed the difficulty (often with your veterinarian's help), you can help your dog by using the foods listed under the organ system and adding  it to your Viand diet. The amount added should be small, especially when dealing with grains. Be more generous with the meat listed for the season.

We have also added the name of the supplements that are most helpful to those organ systems. By using the supplements and rotating them through the year, you can prevent many of the common day-to-day illnesses that plague our dogs.

Some Reminders

If you have used ParaYeast for 3 or more weeks, do not repeat unless you have a reason to do so. Unleash can be used year-round to help certain dogs break down and assimilate their food better. Soothe can be used for almost anything associated with the skin. It is especially helpful in summer to treat hot spots, and in the winter to clean out ears. We use it on our own dogs as a regular grooming aid for weekly ear cleaning. ReCover should be used any time your dog has had surgery, is stressed (holiday season) or when he has been vaccinated or is recovering from illness. Colostrum is one of the best immune system builders of which we are aware. Use colostrum when your dog has been sick or is suffering from allergies, or use for short periods during any season.

Vitamin C, Boost, B-Complex and Unleash are safe to use year-round. These products act as co-enzymes and help protein, fat, and carbohydrates to be used better by the body.

Caution: As with all supplements, a small amount is good, and more is not always better. These supplements are very potent, and can be used to correct problems, or any time a dog is under stress. Most of the herbal supplements can be used for three to four weeks at a time. After that, either rotate, or stop them altogether.

Your Dog Will Tell You

Your dog does a wonderful job of diagnosing and treating himself. I am sure you have observed your dog scratching, nibbling, licking or biting at different parts of his body. Your dog is telling you something. He instinctively knows how to treat himself.

If the behavior happens once or twice, there is no need for concern. But, if your dog repeatedly goes after the same spot, he is trying to stimulate the energy in a particular set of organs. In the spring, for example, we see dogs that nibble on the inside of their hock joints, on their toes on the inside of their feet or at their nails on those toes. Locating the exact spot of the nibble will most often tell you that this is the major treatment point for the liver. In the spring, the energy of the body is in the liver and gallbladder. It's all so exact!

Conclusion

The first step in rehabilitating a sick dog is to cleanse the system of toxins and to bring the body back into balance.

Dogs are often misdiagnosed as aggressive, fear biters, hyperactive or incorrigible, when in reality there is an underlying physical cause.

Dealing with dogs that show continuous sickness or have behavioral problems requires the owner to act like a detective. Not giving up on a dog until a logical conclusion has been reached is the Viand Pet philosophy.


Older Post Newer Post