Depending on the philosophical branch you follow, you'll find there are slightly differing names for the elements. For example, Classical Greek philosophy initially identified four elements: earth, air, fire, and water, but Aristotle eventually added a fifth, ether. Hinduism identifies five elements: earth, air, fire, water, ether; Buddha identified four elements: earth, water, fire, air; and Chinese philosophy (including feng shui) identifies the five elements as wood, metal, fire, water, and earth.
For our purposes, we will identify five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and ether, which are also the five elements of Ayurveda. The energy of these elements are embodied in our lives, minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits, and they need to exist in balance for one to live a well-rounded life of good health and wellbeing.
In polarity therapy, these elements correspond with five chakras and also run in lines through the physical body. They also have properties that are essential for well-being and balance. Ideally, all five elements should be balanced and harmonized in order to manifest in health of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. When imbalances of the elements occur, it is important to find ways through energy healing to rebalance them.
The ether element represents space. It is most closely connected to the throat chakra, and it is associated with spirituality and airiness. In polarity therapy, the ether channel runs down the midline of the body, connecting with the thumbs, midline, and big toes. Ether is also associated with the ears.
Ether is present in all four of the other elements. Its manifestation in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects is by far the most subtle of the elements.
Someone with too much either may be ungrounded, flighty, or dormant and awaiting an outside force to cause movement and growth. Someone with too little ether may lack the room to grow or change or may be stuck in his or her ways.
You can increase the element of ether by making space in your life and through meditation, which is connection with the vast spaces that exist in all physical matter.
The element of air represents liveliness and movement. In polarity therapy, air moves in two channels down the body a few inches on either side of the midline. These channels move down through the brows, along the outer curve of the lips, next to the chin, downward along either side of the belly button, and down into the pointer fingers and second toes of each hand and foot. It is associated with your heart chakra and the physical heart.
If you have an excess of air, you might lack boundaries and follow wherever you are led. You might also be considered an "airhead" because you frequently misplace items or forget what you're saying as you're speaking. You may also be prone to nervousness, anxiety, or obsessions and compulsions.
If you have too little air, you may be inflexible, over critical, or stuck in your ways. You may feel "heavy" or listless, and you may feel joyless or humorless.
The element of fire is bright, hot, passionate, and vivid. In polarity therapy, the fire channels are a few inches out from the air channels on either side, running down the cheeks, across the nipples, along the rib cage, and down through the middle fingers and toes of each hand. It is also associated with the solar plexus chakra and the digestive organs.
An excess of fire might cause restlessness, sleeplessness, fever, sexual compulsion, stress, and burning out. Too little fire might appear as joylessness, and lack of passion or drive.
This element is associated with emotions. It flows easily, moving around obstacles or reshaping them to suit its path. In polarity therapy, the water channels are a few inches outside of either of the fire channels, moving down along the sides of the head, the ears, the outer chest, and flowing downward through the ring fingers and fourth toes of each hand and foot. It is associated with the sacral chakra and the genitals.
If you have an excess of water, you may be overly emotional or too flexible. Your moods and emotions may be easily affected by those around you, and you may have a certain formlessness to your personality and desires.
If you don't have enough water, you may be inflexible and emotionally dry, or you may be out of touch with your emotional and spiritual needs.
Earth is the strongest and heaviest of the elements. It is a deeply grounded and stable energy that is difficult to move for its groundedness and often moves only slowly and sluggishly. However, earth energy also nourishes, which is essential for balancing body, mind, and spirit. Earth energy runs down through the shoulders, a few inches away from the edges of the body on either side, down through the pinkies on the hands and feet. It is also associated with the root chakra and the colon.
People with an excess of earth may be slow moving, stubborn, and obstinate. They may be extremely resistant to change or slow to change. They may move slowly, and be slow in their thoughts, words, and actions, as well.
People with not enough earth may lack groundedness and centeredness. They may often seem as if they are going to float away or think or speak so quickly they can't keep up with their own thoughts and words.
Correcting Element Imbalances
You can align amplifying crystals, such as clear quartz, down the any of the elemental lines in the body, paying attention to the corresponding chakra, as well. You can also use a sound such as a clanging ghanta or striking a singing bowl along the the elemental line(s) to stimulate and awaken the elemental energy.
For too much of an element, place an absorbing crystal, such as a piece of black tourmaline, touching each finger and toe that corresponds to the element, as well as along the line(s) for that element in the body. Using your receiving hand, you can also place it at points along the element's pathway(s) to pull the excess of energy.
To balance an element, sing a bowl along the pathway for the element and on the corresponding chakra chakra, or place smoky quartz points and the start and end of the element's channel(s) with the points facing away from the body to move the energy through the channel in both directions.