Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac. & Setareh Moafi, PhD, L.Ac.
The Fire element relates to Summer and is the most Yang energy of all the elements in Chinese Medicine, so managing heat is key to keeping the associated organs healthy and functioning optimally.
Fire is associated with the Heart and Small Intestine organ systems. Fire energy is about control, both in terms of its relationship to the Heart as emperor of all the organs via its function of controlling blood circulation, as well as metaphorically in terms of the need to have control.
This is why Heart Fire with accompanying symptoms of anxiety and insomnia can result when we feel the need to control or feel out of control in some aspect of our lives.
Since the Heart system in Chinese Medicine is most closely related to the Shen, or spirit, Fire type personalities can be very animated.
Each of the Five Elements have associated personality types which can be broken up into Yin and Yang archetypes.
The Yang Fire Archetype
Yang Fire types tend to have an extremely unpredictable personality and can be the most manic-depressive of all elemental types. One moment they can be the life of the party, filled with joy and excitement, and the next moment they can find themselves in deep despair as they explore the full spectrum and drama of human emotion.
Since Fire radiates and is Yang by nature, it’s no wonder that Yang Fire types can fill an entire room with their lightness and joy when feeling great and in the same way drain all the energy out of a room when they’re feeling down.
Yang Fire types are artistic, passionate, seductive, and easily attract attention. They can be wonderfully successful in the performing arts. These archetypes feel best when they can enthusiastically pursue their passions in life and often prefer to work for a cause they deeply care about.
Yang Fire personalities tend to have a sharp intellect, incredible memory and will work tirelessly often until burnout. These individuals tend to easily develop addictions to coffee, drugs and alcohol, and are prone to heart rhythm disturbances, hypertension, angina, heart attacks, insomnia, manic depression, and anxiety. Their intense nature also makes them prone to intestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel and Crohn’s disease, which relate to the Small Intestine aspect of the Fire Element.
Essential Oils to Balance the Yang Fire Archetype
The focus to balance the Yang Fire archetype is to cool the blood in order to calm the heart and nervous system.
This can be supported with essential oils such as Lemon Verbena, Sweet Marjoram, Neroli, Melissa (Lemon Balm), Spikenard and Valerian.
The Yin Fire Archetype
In contrast to the expressive, extroverted Yang Fire personality, the Yin Fire type personality tends to be more introverted and may even be quite shy.
Though the Yin Fire archetype is more prone to a negative and pessimistic outlook on life, she can nonetheless be very committed, passionate and often quite patient in striving toward her life aspirations.
Physically, the Yin Fire type tends to have a weak heart and slow blood circulation.
Since according to Chinese Medicine the Heart relates to mental and emotional vitality, the Yin Fire archetype tends to have a restless mind and emotional fragility, and this unsettled state of mind can easily lead to insomnia and anxiety.
Essential Oils to Balance the Yin Fire Archetype
Sandalwood and Frankincense are excellent essential oils to counter the health imbalances that tend to develop for Yin Fire archetypes. Sandalwood and Frankincense calm the mind and relax the diaphragm to improve deep breathing and strengthen the heart for improved blood circulation. Both of these oils are excellent for anxiety, insomnia and invigorating blood circulation throughout the entire body.
Sage and Ylang Ylang are nourishing essential oils for what is called Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire. This pattern translates as a hormonal weakness that creates the common symptoms of menopausal hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia and night sweating. Ylang Ylang is especially good for those anxiety patterns that also exhibit depression concurrently.
Ylang Ylang essential oil is distilled from the flowers and we all know how flowers can brighten up your day! Same idea applies to other flower essential oils such as Rose and Geranium which can also be used for Yin deficiency Fire patterns causing anxiety and depression as well. In fact, Ylang Ylang, Rose and Geranium essential oils are each appropriate for helping balance both Yin and Yang Fire archetype patterns.
It is important to note that Sage is an estrogenic oil and contains a chemical called thujone which can be irritating to the nervous system so it requires caution in its use and best with professional guidance. Sage is however relatively safe when diluted as a topical agent and a very important and unique oil with two contrasting actions as it is nourishing to the hormonal system while supporting detoxification of phlegm stasis in the body. In general, Clary Sage is a safer alternative in terms of Sage oils if there is a history of neurological problems.
Clary Sage also helps reduce Yin deficiency heat patterns which may involve menopausal symptoms as well. Symptoms such as feeling overly nervous and anxious have been found to improve as Clary Sage can help reduce cortisol levels through inhalation. Since it calms and relaxes the nervous system, Clary Sage can also reduce blood pressure so it is beneficial for hypertension, but may be too strong if someone has low blood pressure. For these reasons, it is always best to blend essential oils into a formula to balance out qualities and actions of each essential oil so your specific needs are properly supported.
Clary Sage is also an important oil to reduce depression, especially if it is related to a Yin deficiency heat problem that has exhausted the Qi which can occur with over-exercising, over-work, general burn-out syndrome and postpartum situations as well.
Remember, essential oils are chemical agents that resonate with the body’s deepest energetic level of Jing Essence and therefore can impact the body and mind in powerful ways to alter the most serious of conditions. When used wisely they can be a wonderful aide for your healing in body, mind and spirit.
*Please note these recommendations are for educational purposes only and we suggest consulting a professional healthcare clinician trained in essential oil therapy for your specific needs.
Salvador Cefalu, L.Ac. is the Founder & Co-Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic run by he and his wife, Setareh Moafi, L.Ac. that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine. Salvador is a leading U.S. practitioner of Japanese Meridian Therapy, a rare form of non-insertion Acupuncture using Gold & Silver needles. More information at www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.
Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Setareh offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga. More information at www.setarehmoafi.com and www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.