Massage Continuing Education: Water Element Basics

By Jennifer Shaw, LMT, Marketing Director

From a historical perspective, the Five Element Theory is one of the major systems of thought within Chinese medicine that serves a major diagnostic and treatment protocol. In modern clinical practice, the Five Element Theory is used in varying degrees depending on the practitioner and type of therapy.

The five elements are metal, fire, wood, earth and water.

Water Element Meridians

The water element is associated with the kidney and bladder meridians. The bladder meridian can be used as a diagnosis tool by experienced Shiatsu practitioners, having points that can be used to assess the condition of other meridians.

The Kidney meridian supervises the organs not maintained by the bladder. It maintains and stores “emergency energy” and is considered the source of creativity and intelligence.

The YouTube video below will walk you through a brief self-stretch that addresses these meridians.

Basic Water Element Attributes

The colors blue and black, unconscious thought, indecisiveness, winter, hearing sense, stagnancy, cleansing, gentleness, support, spontaneity and fear are associated with the water element. A massage client with healthy, well-balanced bladder and kidney meridians will appear to “move through” hard times with persistence like an ocean’s waves and may also seem inwardly peaceful like a pool of water. Imbalances related to the water element can range in its manifestations, as well. One client may appear fidgety or “babbles” like a brook. Another might appear frozen or slow-moving like a glacier.

How well-balanced is your water?