The five elements are the movement of five basic substances: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The five elements reinforce and restrict each other.

In TCM, the five elements are matched to five organs: liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys. These help TCM doctors understand the physiopathological relationship between them and to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment

TCM theory has proposed a series of methods to treat diseases, such as cultivating earth to reinforce metal, nourishing water to promote wood and strengthening water to control fire.