Tao is a five thousand year old philosophy that forms the basis of, among other acupuncture, Qigong and Tai Chi. Taoism is the doctrine of the Tao, the all-pervading energy of life. It is always, everywhere, within us and outside of us and is constantly changing. It is sometimes translated as “the way” the natural way through life and the essence behind any form. It is not only the highest state of being that can achieve a human but the road there. In the West we might translate Tao with God. If one power that governs the entire universe, Tao is not a religion but includes all religions. Tao is universal, it is the way of harmony and balance, the way of nature. Everything evolves with Tao, it is a given, a mystery. Unconditional love, harmony and balance are the essence of Tao. Man stands between heaven and earth to get him the forces of the two together. Therefore, it is intertwined with the ‘works of the elements’, and he is part of the whole. Not only humans but all beings and all phenomena in the cosmos are related to the universal whole. This is also a very important aspect for the understanding of Chinese medicine and the relationship between disease, treatment and cure.
Centuries ago arose a movement within the Chinese medicine which uses the five elements to explain health and disease. The treatment of disease is based on harmonizing the processes within the five successive phases. These five elements are not a “free invention” of the Taoist-doctrine but based on universal, energetic principles. Tao manifests itself in two polar forces, yin and yang, which communicate with each other in a constant interaction. The dynamics of these forces arise the five elements; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The five elements explain in a very graphic manner the relationship between cause and effect and a deep understanding of the life and problems of the case history of one’s own body. Everything is changing every moment; However, a change that takes place in accordance with the orderly cycles and in which the five basic patterns of wood (spring) fire (summer) earth (late summer) metal (autumn) water (winter) – always be repeated again and varied. The elements 5 correspond with the organs. If Wood stagnates then spreads it, as Fire stagnates then rises, as Earth stagnates then neutralizes it, as Metal stagnates then pulls it together and when Water stagnates then it drops. Do you have your heart on the tongue? Or maybe you have something on your liver? Can you passionately talk about something? These Dutch expressions seem to be directly derived from the Chinese elements doctrine. How can organs be fit with the elements doctrine? An example: Someone with a morning mood is irritable and come morning slow start. The energy of the morning is part of the wood element. The emotion associated with wood is anger. The organ that goes with it is the liver. By stimulating the energy of the liver, restores the balance and increasing the life energy. The morning mood disappears because it’s not a difficulty anymore. The chance that someone is happy in life increases. Within traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is an important organ because it controls the flow and circulation of life energy. It is responsible for the planning and organization in the body. Disturbances of life energy have a big impact on our lives. After all, emotions like anger and irritation severely diminish our joy. Therefore, I will always carefully examine the functioning of the liver.