The five element practice
What is Five Element Acupuncture and where does it come from?
FEA originates in the Daoist texts of Ancient China, written in the 6th century BC, and at its core is the necessity for human behaviour to be in accordance with the cycles of nature. Everything in existence relies upon the natural cycles and rhythms of the world, and so should we.
So the natural laws that govern the seasons also govern us and our existence - we are in essence one and everything. And as the seasons change so should we, because if we disregard these natural laws and rhythms we create room for disease and illness to take hold. Five Element Acupuncture works to bring us back to balance, and to synchronise us with these cycles and the laws which dictate them. From this place of balance our bodies and minds have the best chance to heal themselves as they were made to do.
Can FEA help me with my problems?
In short, YES! FEA is used to treat all sorts of physical and mental concerns. The teachings state that human beings are born with the ability to self-heal and it is our modern lives that take us far from this state which should be natural to us. Efficient self-healing is found in people with a balanced body, mind and spirit, and the job of the Five Element practitioner is to bring you back to this place.
Although many diseases may exhibit on a physical level very few are just physical level diseases. A holistic approach to wellness means physical diseases can be indicative of a mental or spiritual level imbalance as well. If we address only one of these imbalances, as in western medicine, the illness will continue to recur, perhaps in a different form. For example your insomnia could develop into anxiety, or medication may help your migraines, but a month later you'll suffer from allergic reactions.
In summary, the symptoms are evidence that something is out-of-sorts within, they are the alarm bells showing that the body is striving for a greater, inherent balance. FEA targets this imbalance rather than the symptoms, and in doing so treats them at source. It also means that FEA is a preventative form of medicine, which can stop sickness and disease from taking hold.
Is it different from other types of acupuncture?
Yes, FEA is not the same as the widely used Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is very effective for the treatment of physical symptoms such as back pain, but it does not address the root of the problem in the same way FEA does. By targeting the root of the problem with FEA, not only would you expect to see a lessening of your main complaint, you would also expect to see an overall increase in your wellbeing and general health. The theory goes that a fundamental imbalance within you creates many, not just one, of your problematic symptoms. So your imbalance could cause both IBS and stiff joints, and both symptoms will be helped by treating the imbalance. In doing so the person returns closer to overall balance and no new symptoms should appear. It is very important to look for the cause - a particular imbalance in your energies - and not just the symptom if you want to stop the problems for good.
What role do the five elements play?
The seasons are the easiest illustration of the endless cycles of life that go on year after year. In Daoism there are five - spring, summer, harvest, autumn and winter. This natural pattern is the order of the universe and can be seen in everything. If we look closely we see that within each of the five seasons one element dominates and a certain energy is manifest. Everyone will display characteristics of one element or energy more than the others.
When things go wrong in nature, the cycle of the seasons correct the problem and things will return to harmony. The ancient Chinese applied this understanding to their own internal cycles and from there developed a system of medicine - FEA. In essence we correct our diseases by returning to the rhythms of the internal and external cycles dictated to us by the laws of nature.
Humans, like everything in the world, are made up of the five elements. We are not perfect manifestations, and the balance of elements within us cannot be perfect either. What FEA teaches is that each person has a weakness in one of the elements - and it is this that creates the imbalance that FEA will diagnose and treat.
See the links below to explore each element and season in more detail.