What is Five Element Acupuncture?

written by our acupuncturist Sylvia Schroer

 

Some acupuncturists work with an understanding that each person has one of the five elements of Chinese medicine as a ‘guardian element’, conferring on a person, from the moment of their conception, particular gifts and qualities. Identifying and supporting the guardian element with treatment can bring about immense healing benefits as well as potentially enabling a person to feel deeply re-connected with themselves and with their Dao or path in life. Pain and suffering can be transformed as a patient feels once again connected to their own inner wisdom and core of health within. This natural form of healing works from inside out. Just one or two carefully selected points can alter a person’s orientation to their situation and to their life stresses, which are universal; for all humans suffer in similar ways and we are all affected by too much anger, sorrow, grief, worry, sadness and fear. Since the mind and the body are one, physical problems can improve or melt away when health is restored in this way, especially those that are exacerbated by stress and worry.

To understand the nature or gift of each of the five elements perhaps one of the best ways is to think about the season of the year associated with the element and imagine yourself in a beautiful scene in nature on a perfect day, in the relevant season. Imagine how your body feels, look around and what do you see? What do you smell? What does the ground feel like under your feet? What sounds can you hear?

The Five Elements, their seasons, emotions and virtues are described in the table below – along with the special ability that the element in question confers on each of us:

 

Element Season Emotion Virtue Ability
Wood Spring Anger Benevolence Enthuse others
Fire Summer Joy Courtesy Inspire others
Earth Late Summer Sympathy Sincerity Nurture others
Metal Autumn Grief Righteousness Correct others
Water Winter Fear Wisdom Calm others

 

To really appreciate how Five Element acupuncture can work I will describe the meaning and energetic and spiritual quality of a specific acupuncture point in detail. The art of diagnosis is identifying with the client what points are likely to be best and achieve the deepest level of healing at that time. This will depend on a number of factors such as the guardian element, the time of year, current challenges in life and if there are any particular emotional stresses or strains. Needling (or gentle warming with moxa, a special herb that is used to augment treatment) on a point can be like opening a gateway or door for a person. A person may walk through that door and feel connected with what that point brings. The point I would like to choose is Gate of Hope. Each season I will add another point associated with the element in question, and as it is coming into spring I would like to begin with this important point on the Liver channel, which is in the wood element. I owe a huge debt to all my teachers and particularly, in this description below, to the work of Debra Kaatz, whose book ‘Characters of Wisdom’ provides inspiration for my clinical work and has been used as a reference and source for this description:

Gate of Hope – Liver 14 – Qi Men

Nothing can be achieved in life without hope according to the Chinese, (and Martin Luther King)! Hope is what takes us forwards as we can envision our goal and sense in our hearts what is the right thing to strive for in life. There is a dynamic quality to this point and it is the gateway of hope of one hundred years. ‘Qi’ is drawn as a sieve that is placed on a support and the moon. The moon brings light and illumination to the night. Qi means to wait for, to hope, too meet, to expect, a months, a year and one hundred years. ‘Men’ is drawn as two leaves of a door and means an entrance or gateway, an opening. When we can see how our life can blossom forth then we can walk through the gate of hope. It is here that we can connect with greater possibilities and with the hope of one hundred years. We can feel the joy of growth at this point and sense the future where all things are possible. We enter the world of our vision and bathe in its wonders.

How are you feeling about life as we continue through late summer and move into autumn? Do you feel hopeful and connected with where you are going in life? Or do you feel blocked and frustrated that the growth is not easy and the way ahead is not clear? How would you like to step into autumn with a clearer vision and hope in your heart? Please do contact Sylvia if you would like to make an appointment and receive Five Element acupuncture to re-connect you to your own health within, which is always present and never goes away, no matter how hard life can sometimes be.