Observation, listening/smelling, asking questions, and palpation are the four methods of Chinese diagnosis. Recognizing five element body types immediately suggests hypotheses for the origin, course, and prognosis of the patient's condition. It also provides a context for understanding further detailed findings.
Stereotypes are caricatures. Every pure type represents a distortion in which one elemental force dominates to the exclusion of the other four. Perfect health implies a life in which the tendencies of all five elements participate in equal measure, promoting, checking, and balancing each other. Few of us enjoy such perfect health.
Meridians are like roadways in life. We tend to take the same roads repeatedly while leaving the others untravelled. The energetics of the ones we travel on repeatedly become excessive while the ones we ignore become deficient. In time, this imbalance becomes our personality, defining the the way we interact with other people, with the world, and with ourselves.