One of my favorite lines from The Fifth Element, one of my favorite movies, is when Vito Cornelius sees the tattoo on Leeloo’s arm and realizes what she is, muttering, "It's The Fifth... Element!” before he faints. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are also five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, and Metal – not Leeloo.
The number “five” is very important in Chinese medicine, which is based on a few key philosophies, one of them being the “Five Phases,” or Elements. The Five Phases correspond primarily to the five major organs, Heart, Spleen, Lungs, Kidneys, and Liver, with each having associated seasons, colors, flavors, emotions, and body parts. For example, Wood is related to the Liver (organ) and is associated with spring (season), green (color), sour (flavor), anger, frustration, and resentment (emotions), and tendons (body parts).
Just like your organs, body parts, and emotions, all of the Five Elements are interconnected. They are continuously moving and changing, each becoming dominant at different times in the natural cycle, and affecting an individual's physiology. Health conditions occur when there is an extreme abundance or deficiency in any given element, causing an imbalance. In treatment, each Element nourishes one other Element and controls another, and therefore can be used to help correct an imbalance affecting its related elements and address the condition.