Water Element

Water can become any shape, get through any weakness, can flow or be still, warm or cold, support or swallow, calm or violent. It is the ultimate transformer. We come from water, we are 60% water, we cannot survive without water for more than 3 days, water is life!

In TCM the kidneys are in charge of growth, development, reproduction, and urinary functions and store the essence of life (jing). It is not only governing the fluids but is also responsible for bone marrow, activities of the brain and hearing. If you are qi deficient in any organs it will have a knock-on effect to other organs, If you are deficient in Kidney-jing it will affect the growth and healing of the body, perhaps showing itself in hearing problems and low energy. Jing can be depleted through improper regulation of sexual activities, this is considered more significant for men over the age of 40. Jing is one of the three treasures along with Qi and Shen – for more information see here: https://wujitaichi.com/2019/11/02/the-three-treasures/

Colour: Deep Blue / Black

Season: Winter

Animals: Deer, Turtle, horse & the vermillion bird (Heavenly Beast)

Organs:  Kidney (Yin), Bladder (Yang)

Time of Day: 3pm-5pm (Bladder) 5pm- 7pm (Kidney)  

Direction: North

Taste: Salty

Fluid: Saliva

Orifices: Genitals, Urethra, Anus

Sense:  Ears

Emotion: Fear

Sound: Groaning

Body: Bones & bone marrow

External body: Head hair

Power: Trembling

Smell: Putrid

Climate: Cold

Dreams: Ships, boats and travel. fearful & frightening. Floating supported.

Life aspect: Will Power (Zhi)

The Five Spirits: The Kidneys are keepers of The Zhi


The Zhi is our willpower. This spirit-mind is stored in the Kidneys, which, in TCM, are associated with our deepest “essence,” our inherited traits, our reproductive potential, and our deepest stores of energy.

The Kidneys are said to house the “life gate fire” which is yang in nature, yet they are also associated with the water element which is yin. When out of balance there is no self-control and fear.

We are connected and rooted to the world through a very powerful point: the Yongquan Point, Kidney 1 (K1), along the central line and sitting two thirds up from the base of our foot, just behind the ball. This is where we feel vertigo and sinking when something we care about goes near an edge, sense of fearful loss has such gravitas that for most of us we are pulled to the ground.

The Yin Will is related to our destiny or fate – our relationship with and journey into the unknown of the future – it involves trust and faith.

The Yang Will is more immediate than that – it has to do with the conscious efforts and fundamental decisions that allow your will for certain desires and outcomes to come to fruition. 

An imbalance between the Zhi may look like restlessness, a desire to run away from your life, a vague or existential fear. When the Kidney Qi is weakened, there can be a lack of willpower and drive which is an important aspect of chronic depression. On the other hand, the Zhi can also become destructive, resulting in recklessness and excessive risk-taking. These symptoms can coincide with premature ageing (looking older than you are), low back/knee pain, bladder issues, burnout, chronic exhaustion, recurrent or lingering illness, ear ringing, thyroid imbalances, and memory loss.

Qi gong movements that enrich and balance the water element:

Wu Qin Xi (5 Animals) – Deer – https://youtu.be/EvCpnWWBCx0?t=231

5 Element Qi gong (Tai chi nation): https://youtu.be/35QER5t_luE   

Dragons Emerging From the Sea (Shibashi 11) – https://youtu.be/8C53mwM9ddE?t=433

Crossing the Wild Blue Ocean (Shibashi 12) – https://youtu.be/POPYlNC0WTo

6 Healing Sounds – Kidneys https://youtu.be/C7OSQqT6yzE?t=200


The Law of the Five Elements – Dianne M Connnelly

Qi gong Empowerment – Master Shou-Yu Liang

Five Spirits – https://empowerchiroacu.com/empowered-living-blog/the-five-spirits-supporting-the-soul-in-chinese-medicine

Five Elements: https://fiveseasonsmedicine.com/introduction-to-the-chinese-five-element-system/

Fire Heavenly beast prints by Adan Thoth –https://thoth-adan.com/blog/five-heavenly-beasts


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