The Wood Element

Written on 09 Apr 2016

The Wood Element can be considered the most human of the Elements and is the Element of Spring. The Chinese Character used for the Wood Element  木 also means tree, to me the image of a tree with its roots firmly grounded in the earth and its head and limbs reaching up to the heavens is a reflection of  a well grounded Human.

According to the Neijing Suwen the direction of Wood is the East and it is in the East that the sun rises bringing renewed vigor to the Earth. Wood is associated with Wind, Wind brings change and so this is a season for change, just as the seeds and leaves start to sprout bringing forth new growth and colour to the plant world so this season can be about renewal and change in us. It’s a great time for a clear out, both physically and emotionally. Following the long dark days of winter we can once again literally open our windows and doors to let the Wind bring in the fresh air and drive out the stagnation of the past few months. We can do this with our houses and to our Body-Mind as well. Plans that were drawn up in the dark of winter can now be realised with the lengthening of the days and the renewed energy brought about by the sun. It’s a time to consider getting rid of the old to make space for the new. Wood energy is about movement, renewal and free flow. It is the Wood element that can spark our creativity sending us forward into new directions.


Spring is a great time to cleanse our Livers and kick start our metabolism, it’s amazing how different our bodies feel after a detox and it needn’t be too difficult. Cut out or cut down on saturated fats, animal products in particular red meats, alcohol and caffeine. Do a one day water fast and then re – alkalise your body, drink water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, at least a litre a day, make fresh peppermint tea, eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and green apples and green juices. Olive oil and cider vinegar are beneficial to the liver – but not necessarily at the same time.

Wood energy rises and expands, it is a potent force for flexibility and growth. It gives us our creative urge to achieve and is associated with vision, our capacity to look forward, plan and make decisions all of which can turn to anger when frustrated by events beyond our control.

Spring is a time for us to express our Wood energy and let our Qi flow, plan, dream, stretch and move. Picture the young green growth of the natural world, swaying and bending in the wind, not stiff or rigid with stagnation and bring some of this movement into your life. Get out in the fresh air make those lungs work by walking, running, dancing and martial arts, the list is endless just move.


Wood represents the self regulating metabolic activities in the body that can function without conscious thought, digestion, respiration and the beating of our heart beat for example. Allowing our Wood energy to become stagnant now will create inflexibility in our joints, tendons and ligaments and also in our emotions.

The Wood element in health is creative and full of vision, during the long period of rest over winter the Wood element is quietly dreaming, planning and preparing for a burst of frantic growth in the spring as it’s plans are realised. It is about having that dream or goal for the future and achieving and living it, it is about having the courage to make decisions and the strength to act upon them.