An important part of my integrative medicine education came from my introduction to and study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) beginning in the mid 1970s, after I received my Western Medical training.
The concept of the 5 Elements is central to TCM. These are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal (or Air). Everything that exists is made up of these elements in combination and each one has many correspondences such as a season, a color, a body organ, one of the 5 senses and so on.
In my most recent book Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine, which is really the next octave of the ideas I presented in Staying Healthy with the Seasons, I have further developed some of these ideas and created The 5 Keys to Staying Healthy – as a simple and practical guide for taking our health care into our own hands on a day-to-day basis.
While these two five-fold systems are not exactly equivalent I was definitely inspired by the ancient Chinese model of 5 essential and interrelated elements in creating the 5 Keys. I have written more about these ideas in my article for Total Health magazine below