Last week I was praising the book The Five Elements of Self-Healing: Using Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity, Wellness, and Health by Jason Elias and Katherine Ketcham. It is an easy-to-read, descriptive presentation of the traditional Chinese view that personalities can be divided into five types: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The first part of the book details the strengths and challenges of each of the personality types, along with physical symptoms, emotional tendencies, and spiritual issues.
The second half of the book delves more into how these elements come into play when working on healing oneself. Not that I, or anyone else, is advocating that you follow this book solely when trying to overcome any kind of illness, not at all. Always check with your doctor first. Of course you know that, don't you?
But to continue, this section describes, in a way that made total sense to me, the different levels of illness, and how to combat illness at each level. Most helpful is how they tackle modern illness, everything from adult-onset diabetes to yeast infections, describe how Western medicine would treat the illness, and then detail how traditional Chinese medicine would heal the illness. In the Asian view, the whole person is considered, and the treatment would address the physical symptoms with herbs, exercise, and acupressure or acupuncture; and the emotional symptoms with questions to ponder. In this view, emotions and imbalances within one's life are often the cause of illness. A very interesting and useful way of thinking.