Theory of the Five Elements
(according to TCM and eastern philosophy) the fundamental components of the Universe. The five are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
The English word "element" has a somewhat fixed connotation that is not present in Chinese. Hence the theory is often known, more accurately, as the Five Transformations or Five Phases.
Everything in existence (a.k.a. 'matter' or 'the ten thousand things') contains some quantity of all five elements, however, according to the theory one of the five so particularly predominates or manifests itself in each thing, and may thus be categorized accordingly.
Taoist physicians and sages further determined that each element has special associations with particular organs in the human body as well as to other things such as colours, flavors, the time of day, the season of the year, and the way we respond physically and emotionally to external influences and all of the forces of nature.
The Five Elements theory identifies the five different modes (elements) in which chi energy may manifest itself. The five (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Air) are arranged into a cyclical sequence that represents the flow of energy between these elements as 'phases'.
Each phase of an element characterises a stage in a cyclical process. The characteristic of each phase is determined by the 'energy dynamic' personified as the never ending round of the seasons in the natural world.