Which Element Are You?

five elements

Charles Moss, MD explores the wisdom of ancient Taoist medicine and its application in the Power of the Five Elements. Dr. Moss has been involved with integrative medicine combining the best of western and eastern medicine since 1978. He opened one of the first integrative clinics and has been on the forefront of bringing acupuncture and the Five Element system to the US.

By completing a survey in his book you can identify which element (wood, earth, fire, water, metal) in the system best explains your reaction to stress. Once you’ve identified your element, the good doctor explores how to make the most of your natural strengths while combating your weaknesses. You may be able to skim through one of the early chapters to identify your primary element but even with careful reading, I thought I was metal only to find through the questionnaire that I was primarily wood followed by metal. Interestingly, my husband turned out to be metal and then wood. In this system, every one of us is a unique combination of all the elements. There is no good or bad element.

Each of us experiences stress in our lives and the five elements reveal our typical response to those. Here are the stress responses for each of the elements. You may resonate with one or two of them.

WOOD– anger, frustration

EARTH- search for sympathy, attention, understanding

FIRE– loss of joy, emotionally flat

WATER– paralyzing fear, fatigue, immobility

METAL– depression, isolation, rigid morality

Acupuncture Points- by Permacharts Inc.

Acupuncture Points- by Permacharts Inc.


The Taoist system in place in China in 200 BCE, emphasized physical health and spiritual well-being. The Nei Jing, the textbook of the first holistic health care system, described a method on adapting to stressors through knowing how. The greatest insight into a long and healthy life came from self-knowledge, a positive attitude, and spiritual practice. These are the same realizations western medicine is beginning to embrace. This book provides the necessary insights to learning the knowing how of good health through the Five Element system. Some of what is suggested will already be familiar if you have some experience in mind- body science. I am most excited to learn and incorporate the acupuncture points that Dr. Moss suggests for regaining adaptation for each of the elements. Having some experience with EFT (tapping acupuncture points) I know first-hand the power and therapeutic value of acupuncture and I’m eager to incorporate these. I hope you will explore the Five Element system to learn more about yourself and how to take care of the precious vessel that is your body.


Filed under Energy medicine, Spiritual/Mysticism

33 responses to “Which Element Are You?

  1. wow I think I am fire….but how to control the reaction then 🙂

    thank you so much for sharing..I love browsing though your blog…you have some really great stuff..I have tagged this page to read again as well 🙂

  2. Mia

    Healing Your Emotions by Angela Hicks and John Hicks is also good, seemingly a very similar book. My acupuncturist thought I was fire, water, or wood but couldn’t decide which. I was reading about Earth the other day and it just makes so much sense to me that I’m Earth. 🙂

    • If your library has the book you can take the long quiz in the back. What surprised me a little is that the elemnets in this system are not at all like the tradition zodiac definitions. By way of that, I’m earth (grounded, steady, reliable) but metal/ wood in the 5 elememts.

      • Mia

        Isn’t it interesting? There’s actually a quiz in my book, too 🙂 in which I basically tie evenly between everything except metal. I’m air in the zodiac (so, metal in TCM) and I’m sociable enough to prove it 😉 Who knows, maybe it’s that I’m dealing with a lot of Earth issues right now, but I like the idea of being Earth and I do always seem to need grounding. 😉

  3. When I first saw this title Which Element Are You? | ellisnelson on google I just whent and bookmark it. I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site .

  4. You have remarked very interesting details! ps nice site.

  5. This is fascinating. I think I know what I am from other reading, but this book looks interesting.

  6. Janet

    Fascinating book! I will add it to my list. Thank you for sharing.

  7. williamricci

    Thank you for sharing. Another book to read on the journey.

  8. Intersting reading. I wrote a post on the book by Benjamin Hoff, “The Tal of Pooh” and got so many replies from Taoists. They were all quality replies from what seemed like quality people. Must expand my horizons. What’s that???? A little bit of water and a little bit of mettle? Rust…

  9. Thank you for all of the efforts on this web page. My daughter really likes doing investigations and it is easy to understand why. My spouse and i hear all concerning the lively tactic you produce sensible secrets on the web site and as well as invigorate response from some others on this issue then our favorite child is really understanding a whole lot. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You’re conducting a powerful job.

  10. Sounds like a very interesting book. Looks like I would be water. It’s been a while since I had some acupuncture but it worked wonders for me.

  11. Thanks for this! I’m wood. I am researching the connections among the five elements, the 5 negative emotions and their transformations into the 5 virtues! And I’m practicing 5-element qigong to bring it all together. This book seems custom written for me!

  12. I NEED this book…to not only read but also find out more. At first blush, I am metal. Confusing to many in my life, but I “turtle up” when stress hits!

  13. Very interesting. As a medical social worker I am fascinated by holistic medicine. And, I have a great interest in, and appreciation for, the study and applications of mind-body practices. Thanks for a great article…I’ll have to share it with my colleagues! -Ilene

  14. This all looks very interesting. I wonder if it works for dogs? I go to an acupuncturist. I love going to see him. He has some magical hands and I always feel so good when I leave! Thanks for sharing this book. I think that we will be looking for it.

    • Acupuncture and EFT can be done on animals. Check your library for books on it. Sometimes there are chapters on using the techniques in the “human” books and sometimes there are separate books. One of the first vets I used for my dog here in CO left mainstream practice to be an acupuncture specialist for animals. So it’s out there.

      • Yes, I didn’t mean to confuse you — It was me, Rhythm, commenting about the book. I, Rhythm, go to the acupuncture doctor about once a month. The Mom Person has taken her dogs to visit him for many many years. I’m just wondering if the 5 element thing is true for dogs? The Mom Person wants to figure that one out. You find some fascinating stuff!

      • AHH- Rhythm, your Mom would need to complete a long survey asking you many questions. Since you’re already benefitting from acupuncture (lucky dog you!), The Five Elements probably won’t add much.

  15. I can relate to all the elements, so does that mean I’m complicated? As a recent convert to acupuncture, I can see this is a book I need to add to my personal library. Thanks for sharing about it. I’m looking forward to learning about the “knowing how” of good health since I can use all the help I can get!

  16. That’s an interesting twist in contrast to the traditional earth-air-fire-water presentation, replacing air with wood and metal. And then such a different interpretation.
    It’s insightful that this system looks at us when we’re under stress, for our deeper nature to surface.

    • And the Taoist view is very connected to nature and the resonances with each of the elements. So there is a season, time of day, color, part of the body, etc associated with each element.

  17. Reblogged this on M2wa2 DigiTech. and commented:
    So, which element are you? Tell me yours first and i will tell you mine…

  18. cnotez

    “a long and healthy life came from self-knowledge, a positive attitude, and spiritual practice.” I remember when I felt the shift in myself and perceptions when I started to embrace some of this thinking. It was like all of my fear and chronic pain dissipated and was replaced with curious wonder. I cannot pinpoint one or a couple elements that represent me. They all do. Intriguing thoughts to ponder. Thanks.

  19. OMG I NEED THAT BOOK! this post is awesome, I must show my mum!

  20. I can definitely relate to all the elements very strongly. I’ll have to look deeper into this, very interesting.

  21. I am responding before I give more time to think as I might respond differently if I gave more thought.

    Wood as I get frustrated….but not necessarily angry.

    Metal because I feel isolated….but not necessarily depressed.

    Perhaps I will come back tomorrow. Today has not yet been stressing, but it is not over yet and there may be new revelations. 🙂

    • I think it’s hard to figure out what you are precisely because of what you indicate. We gravitate to what’s going on in the moment. That’s why the questionnaire is probably necessary. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t offer it online which is a shame because I think he’d draw more readers if they knew what element best describes them. Your library might have the book.

  22. Hmm I think I’m wood and Fire, this was so interesting thanks for sharing.

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