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Note that all of these labels are color-coded according to the Five Phases of Chinese Medicine (Wood, Fire, Soil, Metal, and Water). Each label also gives the English and Chinese character for the Primary Phase for which the essential oil corresponds. Most labels also have additional colored circles with corresponding English and Chinese characters depicting the Secondary Phase association for that particular essential oil. This unique labeling system assists the user in identifying which Primary and Secondary Phases are associated with each essential oil. Just by using essential oils with these labels, the user will gradually learn to identify the Five Phase associations of essential oils subconsciously. These associations can then be more easily integrated with intellectual understanding.
The advantage of using the Five Phase system is that it integrates all of a person's symptoms under one all-embracing category that integrates the body, mind, and spirit together as one over-riding function of the Five Phases. By learning the Five Phase system of essential oils, you can go beyond symptomatic healing to reach the whole person much more effectively!
Each Phase corresponds to sixteen different aspects of the body, mind, and spirit. The idea is to transform physical level symptoms by transforming the emotions associated with their corresponding Phase. In turn, one then transforms these emotions via the corresonding Spirit of the Phase, and then transforms the Spirit through the corresponding Virtue, or Empowerment, associated with the Phase. Eventually, one can transform all the Phases to reach the higher Empowerment of Dao, or the Creative Source. In this way, the goal of healing in this Natural Healing system is to become a fully realized Human Being where symptomatic breakdowns are considered to be reactions to the difficulty we all can experience during this journey. This approach differs dramatically from conventional medicine whose goal is simply to help the patient conform to the needs of society regardless of whether these needs are beneficial to our humanity.
A brief categorization of the Five Phase psycho-emotional transformation sequence is as follows:
Wood: Anger is transformed by rational perspective, which in turn, is transformed by Compassion.
Fire: Elation is transformed by conscious awareness, which in turn, is transformed by Appropriateness.
Soil: Worry is transformed by Intention, which in turn, is transformed by Faith.
Metal: Grief is transformed by Instinct, which in turn, is transformed by Justice.
Water: Fear is transformed by Determination, which in turn, is transformed by Wisdom.
For more information regarding these ideas, see DennisíŽ 500-page, Five Phase oriented aromatherapy textbook
For those who are interested in this subject and would also like to read about Dennis's simplified system, see
The next step is to match up symptoms with the Phase category that most applies to the person you are working with.
To find essential oils known for treating the symptoms you are looking for, type the name of the symptom into the "Search" field at the top of the right-hand column of this page and click "Go." Then click on the words "click here" in the "Search Results" box in the middle of the page. You will be given a list of essential oils that match the symptoms you are looking for along with their Five Phase color-coded labels. Simply look at the labels to identify which Phase each particular essential oil belongs to and choose the ones that fit. If you click further on any of those oils, you will find more information on how the symptom fits into the Functional Category system of Chinese Medicine for that particular essential oil.
The Functional Categories will help you understand how the symptoms fit the dynamics of the essential oils. The Five Phases will help you understand how the essential oils fit the person you are working with in aromatherapy.