Healing the Unwellness Gap™ Part 2: Understanding Your Patient's 5-Element Type

What Makes Him Tick_ AP blog post photo

Knowing a child's five element type can be almost magical. 

The other day I was working with a 5-year-old new patient, Billy, and his very exhausted and frustrated mother. Billy's dominant element is Wood and his influential element is Metal. 

If you're not familiar with 5-Element typing, let me tell you that kids with a Wood-Metal make-up are intense! You've got the demanding, high energy, do-it-myself Wood qualities combined with the need for rhythm, routine, fairness of Metal.

When out of balance, struggles with tantrums, irritability, and righteousness are common. The child is often quick to point out parents' inconsistencies and can be unyielding and rigid until they get their way.

As I saw in Billy's 5-Element Questionnaire, these were the exact issues his parents were dealing with. In addition, he also had a number of food intolerances that aggravated his behavioral problems.   

With 4 other children to care for, he was taking up the majority of his mom's energy and attention. This left the mom feeling guilty, yet powerless to change things.

Helping Parents Arrive at a New Understanding of their Child 

Through the lens of the 5-Elements, I was able to describe Billy to a tee! His mom was shocked at how I seemed to know even the little nuances of their struggles.

Even though this was the first time I met Billy, it was as if I truly knew him. I understood what made him tick. Mom finally felt like she was understood and was so relieved to find support instead of judgment. 

This is the part that feels like magic! 

We devised some strategies to help Billy:

  • Firm, but loving boundaries
  • Consistent application of rules from both parents
  • A regular schedule with meals and rest at regular intervals
  • More unstructured play outside
  • Model flexibility and choose battles wisely 
  • Scheduled mommy-time
  • 100% avoidance of trigger foods from ALL caregivers 


While these suggestions may seem obvious or simple, in reality, they had a profound effect on Billy. It didn't happen overnight, but within a few weeks, the day-to-day struggle lessened and behavior improved.

Incorporating the 5-Elements into Your Practice 

5-Element typing plays an important role in any pediatric visit. It gives you clues about a child's:

  • Personality
  • Temperament
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Health and illness tendencies

Having this information prior to a first visit gives you tremendous insight and can guide you through the first visit. You'll be able to have a more holistic grasp of who the child is even when you only see a small part of their personality in your office. It allows you to ask relevant questions and explain mystifying traits to the parents.

Right away the parents feel like you get their child and their struggles. In fact, you may be the first person who truly understands! It will help you quickly build rapport and trust. The parents will know they brought their child to the right practitioner.

How Do You Determine a Child's Unique Five Element Make-Up?

1. You can simply ask a series of questions on the first visit. I recommend starting with the yin/yang questions from my last post and going from there.

2. Or you can send them the questionnaire from my book Heal Your Child from the Inside Out. That way you can take a look at their results and ask further questions once the child comes in for their first appointment.

Download the Questionnaire for Free with Book Purchase

The 5-Element Questionnaire is a free download for those that have purchased my book (learn more here).

Plus, you'll also get access to my 5-Element Parenting Webinar (with 1.5 CEUs) & my Ebook 7 Powerful Acupressure Points for Kids.

For even more in-depth training on determining a child's 5-Element type, check out my online course Intro to 5-Element Pediatrics on Healthy Seminars.




More on the Medicine Wheel

If this idea resonates, be sure to check out my book Heal Your Child from the Inside Out: The 5-Element Way to Nurturing Healthy, Happy Kids for more ideas on creating your own unique medicine wheel and healing programs for children.

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Last Post: Healing the Unwellness Gap™ Step 1: Is your patient yin or yang?

Next Post: Healing the Unwellness Gap™ Part 3: Diagnosing the Root



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