In my last blog, I discussed the elements of Earth and Wood and their associated emotions as they relate to healthy digestion.  

In this installment, I will take on the element of Fire. Fire is associated with the Heart and Small Intestine. The Heart and Small Intestine may seem like an odd pairing. What if I told you the Small Intestine’s role is to sort the pure from the impure fluids and as such on a spiritual level is said to be the organ that helps us discern what is important in life?  

As you see in the diagram in this newsletter, Fire sits at the top of our Five Element chart. It comes before Earth in the outer circle, and so its role is to nourish Earth (as opposed to Wood in the straight line that controls and stabilizes Earth).  

Moving counterclockwise in the circle, you will see that Wood comes before Fire and so Wood nourishes Fire. Wood will feed Fire. The ash from that Fire will nourish the soil of Earth. And so the wheel turns.  

Throughout history, Fire has been essential to the development of civilization. Fire provides light. It provides warmth. Fire allows us to cook our food. In cooking our food, Fire nourishes our digestion. We literally talk about digestive fire in East Asian Medicine, which is the perfect amount of warmth within the digestive organs to allow for healthy digestion.  

But Fire is so much more than this. And has been throughout history.  

We have sat around the Fire in community for millennia. We have nourished our souls and the souls of others around Fire since the dawn of time.  

Fire in East Asian Medicine is associated with the emotions of Joy, or Contentment.  

Think of the feeling you get sitting around a campfire.  

As above, so below.

As without, so within.

Fire is essential. Joy is essential. Warmth is essential – both within our digestion and within our relationships.  

Yes, I’m saying healthy relationships (including the relationship we have with ourselves) will aid our digestion.  

Anger will injure it. As will worry.  

If you are finding yourself stressed and overwhelmed and struggling with poor digestion, seek the warmth of those around you. Take time to enjoy and digest your food. Eat in community with those who nourish you.  

And yes, there are acupuncture points and special treatments to nourish Fire too. I’m here for you. Please reach out.  


Maria Mandarino

Maria Mandarino

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