Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture
Law of Movement of the Five Elements
The law of movement of the five elements mainly manifests in the following ways: interpromoting, interacting, overacting, counteracting, and mutual interaction between mother and son. Promoting implies promoting growth. Wood promotes fire, fire promotes metal, metal promotes water, and water, in turn, promotes wood. This interpromoting relationship of the five elements is known as the "mother-son" relationship, with each element being the "son" of the element that promotes it, and the "mother" of the one it promotes.
Acting means bringing under control or restraint. In the interacting relationship, wood acts on earth, earth acts on water, water acts on fire, fire acts on metal, metal in turn acts on wood. Here each of the five elements occupies the role of "being acted upon" (known as "under control") and of "acting upon" (known as "controller"). The interacting relationship is therefore also known as the "intercontrolling" relationship.
Interpromoting and interacting are two inseparable and indispensible aspects of the five elements which both oppose and cooperate with each other. Without promotion there can be no growth and development; without interaction there can be no balance and co-ordination during development and change. In the promotion of growth there must be control, and in control there must be promotion of growth. The relative balance maintained between promoting and acting thus ensures normal growth and development. When there is excess or insufficiency of any of the five elements, there will be abnormal interpromoting and interacting (known as " over-acting" or "counter-acting") and disorders of "the mother affecting the son" and "the son affecting the mother"
Overacting can be likened to launching an attack when a counterpart is weak. It is an excessive acting on the element normally acted upon. It is commonly called "interacting" in the clinic. For example "wood overacting on earth" can also be called "wood acting on earth." The order of overacting is the same as that of acting, except that overacting is not a normal interaction but a harmful condition occurring under particular circumstances, meaning preying upon other elements.
Order of counteracting is just the opposite to that of interacting. For instance, under normal conditions, metal acts on wood. In the case of deficiency of metal qi, or hyperactivity of wood-qi, the wood may counteract on metal. Therefore it is stated in Chapter 67 of Plain Questions: "When the qi of a given element is in excess, it will overact on the acted element and counteract on the acting element. When the qi of a given element is in deficiency, it will be attacked by the acting element and counteracted by the acted element,"
The mutual condition of "affecting" refers to the phenomenon of abnormal interpromoting between the five elements. The promoted element is considered as the son, and the promoting element as the mother. " Affecting" means influencing in a harmful way, including both "the mother affecting the son" and "the son affecting the mother." The order of "mother affecting the son" is the same as the interpromoting relationship, and the order of "son affecting the mother" is the reverse. Under normal conditions, water promotes wood. Abnormally, "water affecting wood" is known as "the mother affecting the son," and "wood affecting water" is known as the "son affecting the mother. "
© Herbland.co.uk -