The Five Elements & Reiki: The Emotions

reiki five elements emotions

I mentioned in my earlier post “An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine” that I have created a Reiki healing system based on working with the “Five Elements” of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In a series of articles I’m going to be talking about different aspects of the Five Elements and how they impinge on people’s lives: how imbalances in the five elements can show themselves as physical conditions and particular emotions and states of mind.

In “Five Elements: The Basics” I explained how the elements support and control each other through the nourishment and control cycles, and in “Meridians and Organs” spoke about acupuncture meridians and body ‘organs’ and how they relate to Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

Today I wanted to flag up how the Five Elements show themselves in terms of human emotion. Read on to find out more…

The Emotions of the Elements

In Traditional Chinese medicine there are a number of internal causes of disharmony that are termed the ‘seven emotions’. They are Anger, Joy, Sadness, Grief, Pensiveness, Fear and Fright. Sadness and Grief, and Fear and Fright, may be taken together, giving five basic causes of disharmony, one for each element.

In traditional Chinese medicine the emphasis is on balance, so none of the seven emotions are considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in themselves. What is important is how they balance. Negative connotations are not placed on anger, or any of the other emotions of the elements, though Western society tends to frown on the expression of anger and so this emotion tends to become suppressed, with knock-on effects in other areas (see later).

All the emotions have their place in a healthy individual and they should be felt and expressed. Most people experience a wide range of emotions that vary in intensity; some are appropriate and adaptive, others are less so. Too much Joy is as out of balance as too much Grief, but the disharmony will express itself in a different way.

You can see the elements, the associated ‘organs’ and the associated emotions, below:


reiki five elements emotions diagram

In as series of blog posts I am now going to touch on the emotional associations of each element, and then we will move on to look at more basic characteristics of each element, particularly their associated ‘organs’, and the ramifications of these on various levels.



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Photo credit: Andrew Leahey


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