Elements, Emotions, Organs, and Meridians

Emotions funnyEmotions count in Chinese medicine!

Chinese medicine approaches a human being from a truly holistic perspective. Emotions, thoughts, moods, and mindsets all impact the energetic system. Energy, called Qi (“chee”), is the focus of Classical Chinese medicine. The physical body is perceived as a manifestation of Qi.
Since Qi is the basis of our physical body, the condition of our physical body changes in response to the quality, quantity, and flow of Qi. Many things affect the state of our Qi – what we eat, how we eat, how much we work, how much we rest, our emotions, our thoughts, and our ability to be aware of these aspects of ourselves.
To understand health and healing from the Chinese medical perspective, it helps to understand a few a key concepts:

  1. Elements
  2. Emotions
  3. Organs
  4. Meridians

1. Elements

Chinese medicine recognizes Five Elements. These Elements are aspects of Nature that are continuously shifting. The Elements are often described as stages of transformation. They are not fixed “things.”

5 Elements of Chinese MedicineThe 5 Elements of Chinese medicine are:

  1. Fire
  2. Earth
  3. Metal
  4. Water
  5. Wood

2. Emotions

You may have noticed that your emotions change or transform. The shifting of emotions is similar to the shifting of the Elements. Emotions express themselves in energetic patterns. For instance, angry energy is felt as a strong upward and outward sensation. In contrast, sadness is experienced as heaviness and a downward pull.

Emotions are associated with Elements:

  1. Fire – Passion, love, rage
  2. Earth – Worry, satisfaction, safety
  3. Metal – Grief, letting go, courage
  4. Water – Fear, peace, creativity
  5. Wood – Anger, assertiveness, kindness

3. Organs

“Organs” include the physical organ, and an associated Element and emotion. Since the Organs are assumed to have these energetic relationships, when emotions are out of balance, it can harm the Organs. This is how we witness the “mind-body” connection from the Chinese medical perspective.

Organs and their associated Elements:

  1. Heart and Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Heater – Fire Element
  2. Spleen and Stomach – Earth Element
  3. Lung and Large Intestine – Metal Element
  4. Kidney and Bladder – Water Element
  5. Liver and Gallbladder – Wood Element

4. Meridians

Bladder MeridianEvery Organ has an associated meridian.
Meridians are the pathways where the Qi flows to and from the Organs, and out to all areas of the body. The nature of each meridian can be traced back through understanding the nature of the Organ, the Element associated with the Organ, and the related emotions. There are 12 Meridians, and each are associated with one of the Organs listed above.
Chinese medicine offers anyone who is curious a profound system of holistic healing. By tracing the energetic patterns of emotions, we experience another perspective and possibility for healing.

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Karen on March 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Your words explain concepts in an easy flowing manner which allows comprehension and application. I appreciate your kind and caring teaching style that encourages curiosity and exploration. You are a gifted teacher and you share your wisdom so beautifully.

    • Cindy Black on March 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for writing, I appreciate what you wrote very much.
      It is my pleasure to teach – I’m very happy to know that you are enjoying the blog.

  2. Deborah Mazanek on March 3, 2017 at 5:51 am

    I have my own bodymind therapy practice based hugely on Chinese medicine concepts. I was introduced to your book last month and am thoroughly enjoying your beautiful spirit and all that you have created and are sharing so easily with the world. Thank you!

    • Cindy Black on March 3, 2017 at 11:28 am

      Thank you for your beautiful note, I appreciate this so much!

  3. Jan on March 2, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    How wonderful! Thank you for putting everything together in the style. I can easily hug the concepts this way!

  4. Hyacinth on February 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Very interesting. I was just reading through the Scriptures where the Apostle Paul encouraged the church at Phillipi to think on things that are good. (chapter 8) No doubt, Chinese medicine is addressing the physical benefits. Thank you for sharing, Cindy, very interesting.

  5. Betsey on February 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Beautiful and helpful explanation!

  6. Aniiyah on February 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I love that you share this “complicated” medicine in such an “uncomplicated” way!! Sharing!!

    • Joanne Cheek on March 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Agree!! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful info!!

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