Natural Health and Healing Therapy

How TCM Five Elements Maintain Harmony?

The Ke, or 'control', cycle describes a relationship between the Elements which is less apparent from nature than the Sheng cycle. Focusing on interrelationships, the writers of the Nei Jing and Nan Jing observed pathological effects on the Element two stages along the Sheng cycle.

The Ke cycle is described in the following way:

  • Fire controls Metal by melting.

  • Metal controls Wood by cutting.

  • Wood controls Earth by covering.

  • Earth controls Water by damming.

  • Water controls-Fire by extinguishing.

The cycle of control maintains unity within the Five Elements. As the Ling Shu says, 'Without control, excessive growth would result in harm.' If an Element starts to become dysfunctional, however, it may easily lose 'control' or it may 'over-act' on the Element it controls across the ke cycle. For example, if the Organs of the Wood Element struggle, the Organs of the Earth Element will often start to show signs of distress.

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