What Element Are You? How Traditional Chinese Medicine Describes You From the Inside Out

woman experiencing acupuncture Source: Medical News Today

Ancient philosophers in China believed everything in the world is connected to five elements or phases, including our organs, cells, character traits, physical features, and behaviors. Known as the Five Elements, these phases are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Based on a holistic healing approach, Traditional Chinese medicine (or TCM) seeks to treat the whole person by balancing these elements. To live enriching lives, we can look to these elements, along with TCM practices like cupping and acupuncture. Other options to keep your yin and yang in balance are yoga, tai chi, or simply playing an online roulette game.

The Five Elements And What That Means For You

A little bit of each element exists in all of us, but everyone has a dominant element. This element is known as your Five Element Type. Which element type are you?


a forest of trees Source: Diana Markosian

Like trees in a forest, wood types aggressively compete for success in life. A wood type is determined and excels under pressure.

Physical Characteristics

The physical body of a wood type is thin and lean, with a long face and a distinct, straight nose.

Personality Type

Wood types thrive on having a defined purpose. However, feeling too much drive throws them off balance, leaving them frustrated and irritable.

Taking Care of Yourself

Too much stress in the wood type manifests as PMS, high blood pressure, muscle pain, and headaches. Wood people might also turn to alcohol or other vices to self-medicate the stress.


multiple fire flames Source: Kishko Vladimir

A flickering flame attracts other people and sparks joy. As do fire types, encompassing many extroverts in society.

Physical Characteristics

Fire types have flushed complexions, narrow faces, and well-proportioned builds. They may also have red hair and emit a lively energy.

Personality Type

A fire person is talkative and bubbly. One might describe them as charismatic, optimistic, and creative. They also tend to feel extreme joy and may be absent-minded.

Taking Care of Yourself

When imbalanced, a fire type might become overly sensitive and excitable. Health problems may include anxiety disorders or heart problems.


farm land and soil Source: Pixabay

Grounded and nurturing, earth types enjoy caring for others and cultivating their communities.

Physical Characteristics

Earth types are rounder in shape, with strong jaws and big smiles and curvy or thick bodies.

Personality Type

Those who resonate with the earth are practical and compassionate people. They want to feel harmony and connection and tend to be environmentalists or enrolled in care or arbitration professions.

Taking Care of Yourself

As the “caretaker” of the elements, earth people tend to overthink and worry, which can lead to excess stress. Earth types may also be drawn to sweets and frequently suffer from digestive issues and fatigue.


gallium crystals Source: Foobar Photography

A metal type is brave, sharp, and a perfectionist. They are usually highly self-disciplined, with a proclivity for success.

Physical Characteristics

People who are associated with metal tend to be strong, fit, and have broad shoulders. They also tend to have oval-shaped faces, distinct cheekbones, and pale skin.

Personality Type

Metal people are righteous, organized, and faithful, driven by a chiseled purpose. They tend to be good at solving problems and make good lawyers, teachers, or counselors. Metals also prefer smaller groups of friends to large social situations.

Taking Care of Yourself

People guided by the metal element may experience asthma and skin problems. They also might be haunted by grief, leading to depression.


waterfall Source: Gaia

Strong yet fluid, a water type adapts to changes but also perseveres to accomplish tasks. People guided by the water element are determined and self-sufficient.

Physical Characteristics

Water types tend to have an ashy complexion, full faces, and soft bodies. They also may have larger heads and smaller shoulders. When not feeling balanced, they may acquire dark rings under their eyes.

Personality Type

Enigmatic and mercurial, water people thrive on anonymity and introspection. They may appear wise beyond their years or pensive.

Taking Care of Yourself

Water types may experience urinary tract infections, back pain, or metabolic issues. Fear can also grow out of imbalance, leading to timidity and indecision.

How To Stay Healthy With Your Element Type

Now that you know your Five Element Type, you can investigate acupuncture or cupping to restore balance. Typically, medical professionals using Chinese medicine will treat the person based on what element is prominent and which weak ones need strengthening.

Before you try these techniques, we suggest the following tips:

  • Choose TCM if you have used Western medicine, but are looking for more answers
  • Avoid TCM if you have a more serious illness like cancer or liver disease
  • Use caution if you are pregnant, elderly, scheduled for a procedure, taking prescribed medication, or are treating a child

Along with TCM and knowing your element, you can restore peace and balance to your life. What works best for you is a personal choice, and your options are vast with a little studying and common sense.  

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