The Elements

The Elements

November 6, 2022 8:00 am

Are we made of fire, earth, air, and water? & How can we use their wisdom

The theory of elemental insights can stem back to thousands of years ago, when our ancestors lived in close contact with the earth and relied on their ability to use the elements , in order to survive. Their lives depended on fresh air, making fires and sourcing clean sources of water. We have evolved to have just as much reliance on these four elements today, yet forgetting the awareness around how they offer up indispensable wisdom for both survival and thriving.

Ever since humanity became self-aware, we’ve been trying to understand the world around us. We perceive our surroundings through our five senses, which are the only window we have into the world outside our bodies. In classical Greek science and medicine, the Four Elements are the basic constituents of all matter, including the Human Body. These theories might have been void of actual science; our bodies however, do in fact manifest the Four Elements of Nature.

The Four Elements

Throughout history, our ancestors have created myriad different theories and ideas that attempted to explain this world and how it’s composed. One theory was common to nearly all early civilizations, and it identified four basic elements: earth, air, water and fire. Collectively, these four elements are called the classical elements.

  • Earth
  • Air
  • Water
  • Fire


Earth is inside the body, the earth’s atoms are what makes body mass such as bones, muscles, cells, tissues, teeth, hair and nails. Humans are born with about 300 to 350 bones, many of which fuse together between birth and maturity, to produce an average adult total of 208 bones. Our carbon-based bodies are built from the very same building blocks as stones and soil. The Earth is what gives us stability and grounded-ness, quite literally. The gravitational force gives our feet on the ground and allows us not to be floating freely. The earth’s magnetic field protects our planet from cosmic radiation and from the charged particles emitted by our Sun. 


Breathing is vital for any life here on earth. We can only go three minutes without air, before our system packing up and shutting down. Breathing uses chemical and mechanical processes to bring oxygen to every cell of the body and to get rid of carbon dioxide. Our body needs oxygen to obtain energy to fuel all our living processes. Carbon dioxide is a waste product of that process. The respiratory system, with its conduction and respiratory zones, brings air from the environment to the lungs and facilitates gas exchange both in the lungs and within the cells. Every few seconds, with each inhalation, air fills a large portion of the millions of alveoli. In a process called diffusion, oxygen moves from the alveoli to the blood through the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) lining the alveolar walls.


Our body weight is 60 percent water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. Water plays an important role in the body by; regulating body temperature, moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth, protects the body organs and tissues as well as carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells. The body requires a lot of water to maintain an internal temperature balance and keep cells alive. In general, a person can survive for about three days without water.


Fire is the energy in the body. It is the communication, digestion and how we exchange energy. Within our bodies, fire (energy) is most manifested in the process of nourishment, in which foods are transformed into the energy needed by the body; in turn, this energy enables the body and mind to function properly. Fire, or energy, binds the atoms together; it converts food to fat (stored energy) and muscle. Electrical impulses zap throughout our bodies to stimulate our muscle cells and fire our neurones, this firing and wiring process is all thanks to the fire element. In Ayurvedic medicine, the concept of digestive fire can be thought of as the strength and volume of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and bile in the GI tract. These juices work in concert to break down the food we eat into the necessary building blocks for energy and proper nutrition.


The idea that these four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, made up all matter, was the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine. I hope this post gives you a new found appreciation to the elements and makes you realise the roles they play in almost every living thing.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Amelia Crossley