The Chinese established the five basic elements being wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These elements do not refer to material elements, but rather to conditions or states. Elements are associated with inner organs and divided into two classes. The first class is made up of six organs namely the stomach, large intestine, bladder, gall bladder, small intestine and triple burner – these are associated with nutrition and excretion. The second class is made up of six organs namely the spleen / pancreas, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and circulation / pericardium – these are associated with energy circulation, storage and distribution.
Apart from the organs, each element can be identified with other specifics such as the season, climate, taste, colour, emotion and sound.
Each of these elements relates to a pair of meridians, which are a network of energy channels. Each meridian passing through the one side of the body has a mirror image on the other side of the body. There are 12 meridians which are arranged in 6 pairs. Each is named according to the organ/system it represents i.e. stomach and spleen / pancreas meridian which belongs to the Earth element.
The six main meridians that penetrate the major body organs are represented in the feet, specifically the toes. Working on the feet helps clear any congestions in these meridians. The other six meridians are found on the fingers of the hand.
Having knowledge of the meridians in conjunction with the reflexes assists us to determine where imbalances lie in our body.