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  • Writer's pictureZené Jordaan

The Fire Element

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are 5 elements which interact in a creative cycle. The Five Elements do not refer to material elements, but rather to conditions or states.

The fire element represents our zest for life aka our joy for life. The fire element in the western world relates to electrolytes and in the eastern world “Chi” or vital life force energy. The fire element imitates the quality of the food that has become the vital life force energy within our body. In essence that which we consume is absorbed, transformed and gives us vitality and joy. An imbalance in the fire element may have effects on your emotions, body tissue, sense organs, body fluid, taste, smell and even how you experience seasons.

The fire element governs four meridians found in the hands. Click on the meridian to view a 3D model of the location of the meridian.

  • Heart

  • Small Intestine

  • Pericardium

  • Triple Burner (Triple Burner divides the body in 3 and controls the chemical activity within these regions. Upper Burner: Thoracic cavity including the heart & lungs. Middle Burner: Upper abdomen including the spleen, pancreas & stomach. Lower Burner: Lower abdominal cavity including liver, kidneys, intestines & bladder.)

Each merdian has active times and when imbalances occur within the fire element, you may experience problems within the body at specific times within the respective merdian.


Small Intestine


Triple Burner

11:00 - 13:00

13:00 - 15:00

19:00 - 21:00

21:00 - 23:00

Disorders may manifest or be more pronounced during these times. The below table lists some of these according to the meridian.


Small Interstine


Triple Burner

Arthritis, stiffness/ deformities in little finger

Ear disorders like tinnitus

White spots, fungal frowth or ridges on middle finger nails

White spots, fungal frowth or ridges on ring finger nails

Eczema on little finger

Facial nerve disorders like Bell's Palsy

Warts, eczema or moles on middle finger

White spots, fungal frowth or ridges on ring finger nails

White spots, fungal growths or ridges on little finger nails

Colic or Diarrhoea

Arthritis, stiffness/ deformities in middle finger

Elbow disorders

Speech impediments like stuttering

Malabsorbtion syndromes

Carpal Tunnel

Eczema & gout around ear & earlobes

Pain in armpits

Fibrositis & Acne in the shoulder region

Hyperhidrosis (hot sweaty palms)

Pain behind & outside corner of the eyes

Angina Pectoris

Tennis / golfers elbow

Palmar fibromatosis

Imbalances related to hypothalumus, pineal & pituitary glands.

Heart Disorders

Referal pains or weakness in the quadriceps

Diseases of the pericardium like pericarditis

Body temperature dysfunctions like perspiration imbalances, feeling cold or hot flushes


  • The Season: Summer Indivudals with an imbalanced fire element will feel a general dissatisfisfaction in which nothing gets done. They might feel cold within, longing for summer to feel warm. Summer might worsen conditions which manifest along the four related meridians.

  • The Climate: Heat Individuals who dislike hot or warm weather or on the flip side loves it, because they tend to feel cold, confirms an imbalance within the fire element.

  • The Fluid Secretion: Perspiration An inability to perspire even on the hottest day is a strong indication that the fire element is imbalanced similarily with those indivuals who drips with perspiration even on colder days or with minimal exertion.

  • The Emotion: Joy & Happiness Imbalances relate to both lack of joy as well as excess. Phrases often used to described these indivuals or their emotions are "broken hearted, half-hearted, faint hearted or lion hearted." The fire element relates to emotions like love, happiness, gentleness & forgiveness. It may present as a lack of concern & love for others and or oneself, or excessive self love and or concern for others

  • The Sound: Laughing Superficial laughter or complete absence of laughter confirms an imbalance in the fire element. Similarly with continuous giggle or lauging in inappropriate situations even never-ending-jokester are signs of a joyless person.

  • External Physical Manifestation: Complexion A well balanced fire element presents as a beautiful glow to the skin. When the fire is low, the complexion will be dull and the quality of the skin poor with poor aging. When the fire is high or out of control the complexion will be very red.

  • The Sense Organ: The Tongue The tongue controls speech & speech patterns, those with an imbalanced fire element may have verbal diarrhoea, stutter or even have an inability to find the right words. Physically a moist & pink tongue indicates a well-balanced fire element. Red tongues indicate excess fire which may lead to an inability to relax or slow down. Pale tongues indicate that the fire is low and may point to anaemia possibly being the problem.

  • The Colour: Red As you might have noticed the fire element is associated with the colour red. Fire element imbalances manifests within the body and can be physcially obeserved with body parts like; the face, tongue, palms and fingernails which can be either red or white / dull.

  • The Flavour: Bitter A strong need for bitter flavours such as strong coffee, dark chocolate (think 90+%), charred toast or meat is indicative of an imbalanced fire element. The craving for strong coffee to help energize or "fire-up" oneself is a dead give away of an imbalance. Consider satisfy the need for bitter flavours with green leafy vegetables as these will go along way to provide the vital nutrients you need to rebalance your fire element.

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