What is Five Element Acupuncture?

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The origins of 5 Element or 5 phase acupuncture lie deep in Chinese philosophical and spiritual culture and tradition and date back many thousands of years. The intention of treatment was always focused on restoring health to the Spirit of the person, which facilitates the possibility for the body and mind to find a state of balance in alignment with their Spirit. 

As far as the human aspect of the 5 element system is concerned, there is one element within the cycle that is known is the ‘Causative Factor (CF)of dis-ease. The CF can be one of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal and once identified through careful observation and specific diagnostic techniques, the practitioner can begin treatment wholly focused on restoring health to the Spirit of the element that they have decided is the causative factor of disharmony.

Within the 5 element system there are many correspondences relating to each element; these can be related to the physical body, organs and body systems, aspects of the mind and behavioural traits and most importantly the emotional body and how its relating internally and externally to the outside world.

As with most acupuncture systems there is a notion of the movement of energy around the body within twelve main channels and within each channel there are energy points (acupuncture points) that can be contacted with the medium of an acupuncture needle and manipulated to achieve the conscious intention of the practitioner. From a 5 element perspective this would be to restore balance to the element system by either strengthening or reducing the energetic effect of a certain element or by removing blocks within the system to facilitate an unobstructed flow of energy (qi)

Success in identifying the correct CF can have profound positive effects on the health of a patient and I’m certain that all 5 element practitioners of all levels of experience will testify to this fact. However, the difficulty lies within the necessity to make a correct diagnosis! We are all made up of all 5 of the elements and all of their multitude of correspondences within that system, so choosing one of the 5 options is not as simplistic as it appears. The complexity of the human experience is profound; It’s an organic, constantly moving phenomena that requires the practitioner/observer to be fully present, patient and to possess a significant sense of humility that accepts that we don’t know and can’t know everything about everyone or how the elements will present within their form. Diagnosis can only really be determined through treatment and treatment response and this can appear on many levels of mind, body, emotion and spirit. So some patience is required from both the patient and practitioner to allow the process to unfold in a purely natural way.

My belief is that 5 element acupuncture is part of a journey towards the expansion of our consciousness and is not a quick fix experience. I also believe that once the patient connects with this spiritual medicine and this philosophical way, they understand the body and mind as a library of information towards this expansion, it adds a new dimension to life that takes us away from the perspective of ‘cause and effect’ and points us towards the perspective that we a conscious creators of our own life experience and the messages from within the body are vital information towards the journey of life can become.

Ged Ferguson