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What is Five Element Acupuncture?

fiveelementsFive Element Acupuncture is a form of diagnosis and treatment which derives from ancient Chinese texts and practices. In nature the five elements are Water; Wood; Fire; Earth and Metal. The five elements are often shown in a diagram like this creating each other.

From an eastern perspective the five elements are also present and active in each of us. This form of acupuncture seeks to balance and harmonise the five elements.

How does this work in practise?

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It is at once a simple but extremely complex system which addresses both physical and emotional issues. A simple example is that if your fire element (heart) is struggling because of an emotional shock there may be a knock- on effect in your earth element (stomach and spleen) perhaps leading to a whole range of symptoms such as nausea or loss of appetite  and there may be also a knock-on effect in your lungs or colon (metal) causing symptoms here.  The metal element is also associated with the emotion of grief and the earth element with the emotion of worry. 5 Element Acupuncture seeks to address emotional imbalances such as excess grief or worry as well as these are seen to be closely linked to physical symptoms.

Another similar example might be that the cycle of illhealth or symptoms begins in the earth element because of some chronic worry the patient has or just because the earth element is weak and this can cause symptoms in any of the other elements due to knock -on effect or blocks to the general flow of  qi energy in that person.

A final example of treatment in the 5 element style is related to the seasons.  The seasons are seen to have an effect on health.  A patient might complain of a pain which started in Spring. In Chinese Medicine the spring is associated with the wood element and the wood element is associated with the ligaments.  The energy channels associated with the wood element are those of the liver and gallbladder so acupuncture points on these channels might be considered in this case.