Dating back to the Han Dynasty, the five elements, or Wuxing, have influenced Feng Shui, Astrology, Music and Military Strategy. But how does Fire fit into Traditional Chinese Medicine?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each element is associated with specific emotions, internal and sensory organs. Fire is the element associated with passion, hate, and intensity. Depending on whether a patient requires more or less fire in their system determines the treatment, influencing their emotional and physical states.
Organs Associated with Fire
Fire is associated with the heart, small intestine, and the tongue. The heart makes sense as the center of passion, plus the small intestine and the tongue would be the places you are most likely to feel heat within your body. Someone who has too much fire within will be quick to anger, hasty, and often be overly aggressive. On the other hand, those who lack fire will experience fatigue, anxiety, and pains in their joints. The most common season to be overwhelmed by Fire is the summer, so it is better to embrace water activities. In the winter, the body risks a depletion of fire, and it is important to absorb as much as possible. The easiest way to increase or decrease your fire is to drink tea. Dark Teas, like black, Pu’er or Oolong will increase your fire in the winter, while green and white teas can release fire in the summer. How Fire is Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
There are multiple Traditional Chinese Medical process that use fire directly to help heal and balance your Qi. The two most famous are cupping (ba guan) and moxibustion (jiu). Cupping burns a small flame inside a glass to create a vacuum on various pressure points along the body. This technique is growing in popularity and can be used to treat sore muscles, acne, obesity, menstrual cramps, and gastrointestinal issues. Moxibustion, on the other hand, is not for the faint-hearted. It involves burning alcohol, herbs, or mugwort on acupressure points all over the body. This is used to treat “cold” related problems like lumbar disc displacement, rheumatoid arthritis, cervical spondylosis, or frozen shoulder.