The Fire Element#3 Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual

The division into physical, emotional, mental and spiritual is not traditional in acupuncture. It is one that I have used for convenience. However the parts named do correspond to traditional divisions. Thus for the fire element: joy is traditionally associated with the heart, as are the four organs and spirit. Also some of the functions ascribed to spirit are covered by our term ‘mental’.


The fire element manifests as the four organs and their channels (heart, small intestine, pericardium and triple heater). The heart stores the spirit and rules the blood (the red liquid and the vessels it flows through).

Someone with a healthy fire element has energy and will have a healthy glow about them (if they have too much fire then their complexion becomes permanently eg through excessive consumption of alcohol, which is warming).


The emotion of the fire element is joy. Too much fire and we become manic, over-excited. At the extreme people can die of heart attacks from being over-excited.


The mental aspect of the fire element are some of the functions of spirit. Clarity in our perceptions and consideration arise from a healthy spirit. However the spirit in acupuncture has more feeling of contemplation. The digestion and analysis of experience is more a function of the earth element. The spirit in acupuncture has a bit of a ‘zen feeling’ – of just letting things be as they are.


Fire ascends to heaven. In this sense the acupuncture notion of ‘spirit’ does cross over with the western notion of spirit. When we know spirit is with us we can be both warm and clear. We will have a stillness that is compatible with activity and a sense of our purpose. We will experience a sense of joy that has the flavour of calmness, closer to bliss than excitement.

How is the fire element in your life?

Do you have a healthy heart?

Can you open and close your heart to others?

Do you find it easy to gain clarity about your circumstances?

Do you have an abiding sense of joy?

Leave a Reply