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Five Element Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is very effective for treating a multitude of ailments.  But in order to treat the entire person (body/mind/spirit), to obtain long term benefits, it is essential to see each patient as a microcosm of the universe and to bring them into harmony with the universe. This style of acupuncture is especially useful for people with problems of an emotional nature, such as stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia, but is also helpful for people with physical problems. It is well accepted that many physical problems are caused by emotional issues or stress.  Five Element acupuncture brings all this together into one picture.

A Five Element acupuncturist is carefully trained in understanding the natural laws of the universe, and uses these laws to diagnose imbalances in the 5 elements, and then to bring your body/mind/spirit back into harmonious balance.

Five element acupuncture is a specific school of acupuncture, founded by J .R Worsley (UK),  based on ancient methods, that treats the body, mind, heart and spirit.  It thus helps you to be in true harmony with yourself, your life and all those around you.

A five element practitioner will investigate all aspects of your life as well as your symptoms in order to bring you from disharmony to harmony.

What Are the Five Elements? 

The 5 elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) represent the fundamental building blocks, or different types of energy in nature. Each of the 5 elements has its own particular quality in nature, and five element acupuncture sees us as having each of these qualities within us. Each of these elements help to create who we are and how we function in the world. We have aspects of all the elements within us, but we all have one predominant element, called our constitutional element.  The five element acupuncturist is trained to identify the constitutional element in each patient, as well as identify imbalances in any of the other elements.

Have a look through the descriptions of the Five Elements below and see which one corresponds closest with who you are!
Your constitutional element is the one that plays the biggest role in the way you experience life, and your overall health and well-being.

How is it done?

Descriptions of the Five Elements
Can you recognise yourself in any of the following descriptions? Disharmony in any element will tend to manifest as either too much or too little of certain emotions or behaviours.
Fire is the element of Summer and is associated with the emotions of joy, the sound of laughter and the colour red. The complexion can be ruddy or very pale. Fire is all about connection and relationship. Fire people love to laugh and tend to be the ones that light up a room. When out of balance, they carry a sadness or lack of joy deep inside. The Fire element is connected with the Heart – love, emotional warmth, closeness and intimacy. These are the things that Fire longs for, but if imbalanced they find these the hardest to achieve.  An imbalanced Fire person may laugh compulsively or may be totally lacking joy in their life; they may be too emotionally vulnerable or may push people away.  They may need constant company or may like to spend too much time alone.
The odour associated with Fire is “scorched” and this can be subtly detected on a Fire person.
Earth is the element of Late Summer, the time of harvest. It is associated with the emotion of sympathy, the sound of singing, and the colour yellow. The complexion can be sallow or slightly greasy. The odour associated with Earth is “fragrant” which can be a cloying, somewhat sweet, sweaty smell.
Earth is all about nourishment. Earth people have the ability to nourish, nurture and support others, like the “earth mother” with her child. Earth is also about our ability to take in and absorb nourishment, both in terms of the food we eat and the emotional caring and support that others give us. Earth people are sometimes inclined to look after the needs of others, but can feel neglected themselves, or play the “martyr”. In disharmony an Earth person may be overly mothering/smothering, or they may be unsupportive; they may be excessively needy, or they may repress their own needs; they may be excessively dependent or overly independent.
Metal is the element of autumn and is associated with the emotion of grief or sadness and the sound of weeping. It is associated with the colour White and the complexion can be pale, but may also have a metallic hue.  The odour associated with an unbalanced Metal person is “rotten” but can be like boot polish when more balanced.
Metal is all about finding the purest essence and highest truth in life, and letting go of the baggage. Metal people set the highest standards for themselves and others. They can become wise mentors or teachers. It is important to them that they are respected, more than loved, and they often become high achievers to gain this respect and recognition.  Metal people can seek to connect with what is pure an d spiritual to such a degree that they can feel disconnected from others. On the other hand, they may feel spiritually empty and unable to connect with spirit. In disharmony a Metal person might crave quality and purity obsessively, or they may feel “dirty” and polluted; they may long for connection or may cut themselves off from others; they may be easily moved, or may be cold, and indifferent. They often feel inadequate and incomplete.  As they evolve, Metal people become very wise and are the best of the elements at seeing the “bigger picture”.
Water is the element of winter and is associated with the emotion fear. It is associated with the colour Blue (or sometimes black), and the complexion can have a dark hue. The odour associated with Water is “putrid”, and is most often noticed in the smelly socks that metal can have at the end of the day.
Water is all about stillness and movement. It is about overcoming obstacles – around, over, under or through. Water people have a persistence and determination and will often excel in situations that others find too scary. Or on the other hand they may become paralysed by fear.  In disharmony, Water people may be given to excessive risk-taking, or may be overly cautious, always fearing the worst. They may be excessively driven/ambitious, or may lack drive and motivation.  They may find it difficult to trust others, or may be overly trusting. They may be intimidating to others or they may need constant reassurance.
Wood is the element of spring and is associated with the emotion of anger and the sound of shouting. It is associated with the colour green and the complexion can have a greenish tinge, often around the mouth. The odour associated with Wood is rancid or sour.
The healthy Wood person enables people to have a clear vision of their own unique path in life and the patience to allow it to unfold.
Wood is all about planning ahead and implementing the action of forward movement.  Vision, planning, clarity of decision making, and action, are the domain of the Wood element. Out of balance, Wood people can be too flexible and lack assertiveness and boundaries, or they may abuse their power and become totally controlling and inflexible. They are easily frustrated and angered. In disharmony Wood people may be excessively assertive and direct, or they may be overly passive and indirect; they may be excessively organised, or may be totally disorganised; they may be frustrated and rebellious or overly obedient and compliant.


How does it help?

The 5 Element practitioner will look for disharmony or excesses or deficiencies and work out your constitutional element.   You may have blocks in any element but the main one will be determined as above, although there is much more to it than written above.
From pulse reading blocks can sometimes be found between the meridians.  Meridians flow like rivers around the body and the flow should be uninterrupted between each meridian.  A block can clearly be felt in the pulse.  All blocks must be removed early in therapy for successful outcomes.
The 5 Element practitioner will choose acupuncture points to clear blocks, and balance your own constitutional element to help you to move back into a better relationship with yourself and the world around you.
Knowing your constitutional element is useful as it helps you accept yourself for who you truly are and shows the direction of your highest potential.  Recognising your own imbalances within your element helps you to quickly regain that balance.