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SOTHA

School of Thai Healing Arts

 

 

5 Element manifestations and properties

 

             5 element theory is the basis of traditional Thai Medical and anatomical

         understanding of the human body. The traditional texts are clear in their meaning,

the correspondance between parts of the body and an element is

based on physical properties and effects.

 

 

 

                                

                

 

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Top

 

 

Properties and manifestations of the Elements

 

Earth:

Experience: Solidity

Function: Resistance and Support

Qualities: Hard, Stable, Heavy

Temperature: Mild (สุขุม)

Parts of the Body:

 Hair on the Head

 Hair of the Body

 Nails

 Teeth

 Skin

 Muscles

 Tendons and Ligaments, Vessels and Nerves

 Bones

 Bone Marrow

 Kidneys

 Heart

 Liver, Pancreas

 Fascia (sometimes the Diaphragm or sometimes the Pleura)

 Spleen

 Lungs

 Large Intestines

 Small Intestines

 Stomach, New Food, Chyle

 Digested Food, Feces

 Brain and Central Nervous System

 

Water:

Experience: Aqueous-ness

Function: Cohesion and Fluidity

Qualities: Moist, Fluid, Soft

Temperature: Cold

Parts of the Body:

 Bile

 Mucous, Phlegm

 Pus, Lymph

 Blood

 Sweat

 Fat

 Tears

 Oil

 Saliva

 Snot (Mucous in the Nose and Throat)

 Synovial Fluid

 Urine

 

 

Fire:

Experience: Heat

Function: Transformation and Ripening

Qualities: Bright, Reactive, Sharp

Temperature: Hot

Parts of the Body:

 Fire which causes aging and decay of the body.

 Fire which provides warmth to the body.

 Fire which digests.

 Fire which causes emotion and fever.

 

 

Wind:

Experience: Movement

Function: Growth and Vibration

Qualities: Light, Mobile, Dry

Temperature: Cool

Parts of the Body:

 Wind which moves from the top of the head to the feet. / Wind which moves from the top of the head to the abdomen.

 Wind which moves from the feet to the head. / Wind which moves from the

      abdomen to the top of the head.

 Wind which is within the digestive tract.

 Wind within the abdomen but outside of the digestive tract.

 Wind which circulates to all parts of the body including the extremities.

 Wind which is inhaled and exhaled.

 

Space:

Experience: Unobstructed-ness

Function: Non-Resistance and Field of Activity for other Elements

Qualities: Expansive, Subtle

Temperature: No temperature association.

Parts of the Body:

 The Eyes

 The Ears

 The Nose

 The Mouth

 The Anus

 The Urethra

 The Vagina

 

 

 

Secondary Aspects of the Four Elements

 

Earth

- Undigested Food and Location (Stomach)

- Digested Food and Location (Colon)

- Heart (Organs)

 

Water

- Water in the Upper Part of the Body (Diaphragm to Head)

- Water in the Middle Part of the Body (Diaphragm to Navel)

- Water in the Lower Part of the Body (Navel to Perineum)

 

Fire

- Bound Bile (Within the Gall Bladder and the Digestive System)

- Unbound Bile (Outside of the Gall Bladder and Digestive System)

- Body Heat

 

Wind

- Wind of the Central Channel

- Wind which is like a Knife

- Wind of the Heart

 

 

References:

Vimuttimagga

Girimānanda Sutta

Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta

Mahārāhulovadā Sutta

Dhātuvibhaga Sutta

Kāyagatasati Sutta