Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Five Elements: Metal

This is one in a five part series of posts on the elements in acupuncture and shaitsu.

When you think of metal the words and images that come to mind  are strength, sterility, the iron smell in the air from a thunderstorm, or even the iron in our blood. You may also think of someone who may be emotionally stoic and guarded, or being cold, firm, and rigid. These, in fact, would be some attributes to the metal element. Metal is a yin element that is associated with old age, the planet Venus, autumn, night, sharpness, and the energy flow of yin to yang.

The body parts ruled by this element are the lungs, large intestines, colon, nose, and skin. These parts of the body are its first line of defense. When we breathe in air through our nose it reaches our lungs. If we happen to breathe in bacteria, virus, or allergen it affects our sinuses making us cough or sneeze in order to get what will make us sick out of our bodies. The large intestines themselves help the body eliminate what it no longer needs. Metal types may have a tendency bronchitis, asthma, chest congestion, and sinus headaches. A physical imbalance in metal types can cause weakness in the lungs, tightness in the chest, chronic deep coughs, diarrhea, and constipation.

The personality traits association with the metal element are neat, cleanliness, social correctness, stoicism, emotional reserve. Metal types can tend to have unresolved sadness in them as they tend to keep their feelings to themselves. Just as the guards of a castle ward off danger from the outside, metal types bottle up the their hurt to guard against feeling vulnerable and being judged. This rigidity in the personality can cause depression and make one an emotionally cold person to interact with.  

Some ways to correct imbalances in the metal element is for someone of this type to express their feelings. It is important for metal types to learn to relax and let go whether it be to relax on being a very socially rigid person and beginning to live outside of certain norms or to simply learn that one needs to purge in order to gain. Becoming a more socially and emotionally flexible person will only serve an excessively self-reserved metal type well and add a variety of people and experiences that will lead to a more fulfilled existence.

If you're interested in finding your what your elemental type is and correcting imbalances, you can go to Five Elements Test or The Chinese Elements.

Sources: [Complementary Therapists, Wikipedia, Joel Price Nutritionist]

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