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How to Tend to Your Fire

Learn about the TCM Fire element within you and how it applies to this summer season

In the realm of ancient wisdom found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Five Element Theory provides a comprehensive framework for comprehending the fundamental forces of nature and their significant impact on our physical and emotional well-being. The five elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water - are the very building blocks of life, each possessing unique properties and associations.

Fire often deemed the most masculine of the five elements, stands as the ultimate embodiment of yang energy. Its celestial association lies with Mars, the fiery red planet, while its earthly representation arrives through the summer season, characterized by heat, growth, warmth, and intensified light. Linked to the heart and small intestines, Fire symbolizes qualities of brightness and upward movement, evoking joy and the sound of laughter. Happiness or contentedness are associated with the heart; it can be a wonderful feeling of lightness and release! Joy (Fire) is the child of anger (Wood), as in the Mother-child relationship of the Five Element Theory. [1]

Gazing upon a fire, one witnesses its flickering glow, transforming into ash and smoke as it consumes matter. This captivating sight mirrors an emotional and physical journey that reverberates throughout our bodies.

In the Fire element’s harmonious equilibrium, we experience unbounded joy, limitless enthusiasm, and a profound sense of connection with others. Yet, when imbalanced, it unravels into a tempest of anxiety, intense reactions, circulatory issues, lack of focus, and central nervous system disorders.

Deep within the heart resides the essence of Shen or Spirit, thriving amidst the abundance of Blood and Yin. When the heart's strength weakens, and Qi and Blood diminish, or when Heat infiltrates like an inferno, the Shen suffers, leading to symptoms such as poor memory, insomnia, and agitation. According to traditional Chinese medicine principles, Heart Fire can significantly impact interconnected organs within the body. It may travel from the Heart to the Small Intestine and from there to the Bladder, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms that are challenging to manage.

Individuals with a Fire personality might be predisposed to heart problems or experience minor digestive issues in their small intestines. As the Wood element nurtures Fire and is linked to the liver, those with Fire characteristics should moderate alcohol consumption, which can over-stimulate the liver, potentially leading to Wood-Fire imbalances and eventual heart-related ailments.

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in nurturing this element. The consumption of red foods like watermelon, cherries, goji berries, red apples, cayenne pepper, red rice, tomatoes, beets, and other red vegetables can invigorate the heart and circulatory system. Grass-fed beef and dark chocolate also offer benefits, containing nutrients that support the nervous system. Adding cooling herbs like aloe vera, bitter melon, chrysanthemum, lavender, peppermint, sage, and hibiscus to your summer rotation can help manage excessive heat. It's important to note that moderation is essential in caffeine consumption to prevent exacerbating imbalances in the Fire element.

To restore harmony, activities that release pent-up energy and enhance circulation become crucial. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and strength training stand as ideal exercises in balancing Fire. Similarly, swimming provides an excellent aid by cooling the body and calming the mind while simultaneously cultivating strength and endurance.

These practices ignite the essence within, fostering harmony and overall well-being in alignment with Traditional Chinese medicine. Through passion and an adventurous spirit, we can unlock the alchemical essence of this element, finding balance in the dance of Fire.

Bloodletting and Wet Cupping Therapy

Examining the characteristics of the Fire element, you may identify common symptoms you've experienced from excess heat stored in the body, akin to inflammation or internal warmth. For example, have you ever noticed one of your ears burning red hot? Something about hot summer days that make the phrase blood boiling seems appropriate for the season. Traditional Chinese Medicine employs bloodletting as a means to stimulate the smooth flow and dispersion of Qi and blood, ultimately draining excess heat and fire. Despite its association with discomfort, the pain related to bloodletting is often no more than that of a mild prick.

In practice, there are different types of cupping therapy, which include needle cupping, dry or moving cupping, wet cupping (bloodletting), and medicinal (herbal) cupping. Wet cupping is the most common type of cupping therapy used. [2]

The main effect of wet cupping therapy is associated with the precipitation of blood circulation, thereby removing blood stasis and waste from the body. [3]

Cupping therapy is a traditional application dating back as far as 2,000 years. It involves applying a heated cup to generate a partial vacuum that mobilizes blood flow. Qi propels the formation and circulation of Blood and Essence in the whole body. Classic Chinese philosophy believes that the primary state of the universe is Qi, the constant movement of which produces all the things in the universe, including life. [4]

Are you feeling called to try this powerful modality? Schedule a free 15 minute consultation to discuss if this is the right modality for you.



Both Western and Eastern medicine concur on the significance of stress and anxiety in heart health. To mitigate these risks, actively releasing stress, anxiety, and pent-up emotions is paramount. Cultivating a calm, relaxed, and peaceful inner emotional state contributes to maintaining a healthy, nourished heart. Qigong (pronounced chee-gong), a traditional Chinese practice blending physical movement, breathing techniques, and meditation, serves to balance and cultivate the body's vital energy or Qi (pronounced chee). Engaging in Qigong can enhance health, induce relaxation, reduce stress, and boost vitality.

For a Qigong practice to nourish Fire, click here: [Qigong Practice Video](, courtesy of Mimi Kuo-Deemer.


Practice the Inner Smile

Manatak Chia’s Fusion of the Five Elements:

Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotions

1. Practice the Inner Smile meditation to relax the mind and the body. Feel the smiling energy, like sunshine, collect in the eyes and the third eye. Let all the facial muscles relax. Feel the outer corners of your eyelids and mouth uplift. Smile down, and feel the smiling energy slowly flow down to the neck, thymus gland, and heart. Feel the heart open. Create a state of love, joy, and happiness in the heart.

2. Smile down to the organs and become aware of the virtues of each organ as you smile to it: Smile to the heart, and generate a sense of honor and respect, as you increase the feelings of love, joy, and happiness. Smile to the lungs, and generate the feelings of courage and righteousness in the lungs. Smile to the liver, and gener. ate kindness in it. Smile to the pancreas and spleen, and generate fairness and openness in those organs. Smile to the kidneys, and generate gentleness in the kidneys. Feel the positive effect on each organ as you smile to it. Be aware of the positive emotions you are generating.

3. Smile down to the sexual organs. Smile down to the digestive system. Generate a creative energy. Feel the energy flow all the way down with the saliva as you swallow to your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.

4. Return to the eyes. Smile in to your pituitary and pineal glands.
Smile into the left and right hemispheres to balance the brain, and then smile all the way down the spinal cord.

5. Return to the eyes again, and smile down the front, middle, and back line. Well-trained students can practice the Inner Smile at a
fast pace. [5]


Komorebi Center for Healing

Written by: Natasha Gaye


[1] TCM, F. S. (2021b, February 20). 5 emotions and the 5 zang organs. Five Seasons TCM.

[2] H. Cao, M. Han, X. Li, S. Dong, Y. Shang, Q. Wang, et al. Clinical research evidence of cupping therapy in China: a systematic literature review BMC Complement Altern Med, 10 (2010), p. 70

[3] S.S. Yoo, F. Tausk Cupping: East meets West Int. J. Dermatol, 43 (2004), pp. 664-665

[4]TCM, F. S. (2021, February 15). What is qi, blood & essence? 气, 血, 精是什么?. Five Seasons TCM.

[5] Chia, M. (2007). Fusion of the five elements: Meditations for transforming negative emotions. Destiny Books.

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