The Five Element model has a few inconsistencies and doesn’t compare to the organ- function interaction, however it is a fast and effective model for clinical use.

Generating sequence:

The mother- son rule states that when the mother is tonified the son is also tonified.

  • The liver is the mother of the heart:the liver stores blood and the blood houses the mind
    • Heart blood deficiency affects sleep and dream
  • The heart is the mother of the spleen: Heart Qi pushes the Blood and aids transportation.
  • The spleen is the mother of the lungs: the spleen’s Gu-Qi interacts with the liver to create Zong Qi(Gathering Qi).
  • The Lungs are the mother of the Kidneys: Lung Qi descends to the Kidney Qi, sending fluids down.
  • Kidneys are the mother of the liver, the Kidney-Yin feeds the Liver- blood. The Kidney controls the bones and the liver the sinews: sinews and the bones are inseparable.
Controlling Sequence:

The controlling sequence provides a Five Element model of organs that help each other rather than taming each other as the name suggests. When the controlling function becomes unstable, the overacting sequence is activated. 

  • The Liver controls the Stomach & Spleen: the liver helps the stomach break down food and the spleen transform and transport.
  • The Heart controls the Lungs: Blood from the heart and the Qi from the lungs help each other.
  • The Spleen controls the Kidneys: the spleen makes the fluids the kidney to excretes.
  • The Lungs control the Liver: Lungs send Qi down, while the liver sends Qi up: Oftentimes, Stagnation of the liver Qi happens due to the liver Qi rising too much.
  • The Kidneys control the Heart: help and support each other, in order to maintain a healthy body it is essential for them to work together properly.

Water as the Foundation
cosmological sequence five element

Water is the first in the cosmological sequence and is considered the foundation of all five elements; similar to the Kidneys being the basis of the Yin and Yang of all organs. Water and Fire are the Original Yin and the Original Yang. The deprivation of Kidney Yin causes deprivation of Liver Yin, and the deprivation of Kidney Yang causes deprivation in spleen Yang and Lung Qi.

The Kidneys and the Heart have a powerful relationship of mutual assistance, the Kidney contains the characteristics of water and the heart contains that of fire. Through a vertical axis they are able to directly communicate with each other. For instance, when there is Kidney-Yin deficiency the Heart-Yin also becomes deficient and starts to emit empty-heat within the heart.

Stomach and spleen as the center

Pre- heaven Qi and Post Heaven Qi are reflected in the cosmological sequence, where water is the Pre-heaven Qi and Earth (the center of the elements) is the Post Heaven Qi.

The stomach and the spleen are the center of all other organs in human physiology because they are the roots of Post Heaven Qi and the origin of Qi that nourish all organs. Tonifying the stomach and the spleen indirectly tonifies the rest of the organs because of their qualities.

In the Cosmological sequence diagram, Earth is between fire and water, where the stomach and the spleen is the main support for the heart. Tonifying the stomach is vital when heart beat becomes irregular or heart-Qi/heart blood becomes deficient. 

At the end of each season the energy goes back to the Earth to regenerate, because the Earth element itself does not correlate with any season. Similar to the Earth, the spleen and the stomach is tonified at the end of every season.

Essence- Qi- Mind(Jing-Qi-Shen)

Water, Earth and Fire form a vertical axis for Essence (Kidneys), Qi (Stomach and Spleen) and Mind (Heart); they are vital when understanding the physical and mental energies in the human body through the five element model.