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The Five Rhythms within Energy Medicine Practice

Based on ancient Chinese medicine, there are a set of energies that flow within the body, and in fact, throughout all life. They are sometimes called Rhythms, Elements or Seasons. The Five Rhythms are: Water, Wood, Fire, and Metal. While all of these rhythms exist in each of us, most of us have one or two that are more dominant. Knowledge of ones’ rhythm(s) can provide insight into our personalities, ways of dealing with life, our emotional strengths and challenges, and even our chronic health issues. My own primary rhythms are Fire, followed by Wood.

The Wood Element within was understandable to me, as wood symbolized growth and expansion and I am in love with perpetual growth through learning and research. I love question and then find answers to questions! Yes, indeed, I was a ‘why?’ ‘why?’ ‘why?’ kid! Worse yet, I was a ‘why? And how do you know that?!’ kid! Also, someone with a lot of wood energy tends to look for ways to accomplish things that may be round-about, especially if initially thwarted in their attempts! They simply change their tactics…or even the rules themselves! Yes – I can see some of the non-traditional paths I’ve taken to reach my own vision of what should be, for me! Woods have a solid, yet pioneer spirit. Woods stand solid. They exhibit strength, honesty, and dependability. Christopher Robin (from Winne the Pooh) may have had strong Wood energy.

Then, as I first was studying these rhythms and my classmates and I started to discuss ‘where we thought our energies resided within this continuum, I began to hear from my friends.

Friends – “What makes you think your primary energy is Wood?” “I don’t think so!” “You are clearly a fire!” 

Me – “Really? Are you saying that because I carry a red clown nose in my car that I wear when traffic is bumper-to-bumper and drivers are up-tight?”

Those with primary fire energy are joyful, enthusiastic, and tend to encourage and inspire others. They ‘snap, crackle, and pop’, bounce at their best and burnout at their worst. Their tendency is to respond with a resounding ‘yes, I’ll do it! even before a question is asked! Fires dance with abandon. I’m sure Tigger (from Winne the Pooh) was fire – perhaps not surprisingly that was my nickname as a teen…and yes, I do take it all on…!

Which rhythm might be most prominent within you? Water – the poet and philosopher, the one searching for meaning though observation and introspection? Earth – the caretaker and peacemaker, seeking to make others feel safe through their compassionate efforts? Or perhaps Metal – distilling to the truth, acting with integrity, bringing with them works that are well-done and a sense of awe for the world around them? 


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