How is Five Element Acupuncture different from any other style of acupuncture? There are many different styles of acupuncture, as would be expected with a system of medicine that has been practised for thousands of years. Rooted in Taoist philosophy, the Five Element acupuncture system is over 2000 years old and focuses on treating all facets of human beings: mind, body and spirit. After the Chinese revolution in the 1950s, the approach to acupuncture changed a great deal as more western ideas were integrated, but pioneers such as Professor J.R. Worsley, a physiotherapist and osteopath, sought out this more ancient style of practice in the 1950s and brought it to the West. Though it has such a long history, in many ways Five Element acupuncture is more applicable today than ever before. In our ever-changing world our ability to be flexible in mental functions such as beliefs, emotions and attitudes, as well as being adaptable in our biochemistry and immunology is crucial to our health.
Why is it called Five Element acupuncture? The ancient Chinese believed that all things in the Universe were manifestations of the Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water), and that the human body was a microcosm of the Universe. Hence the laws applied governing Nature were also applied to man, and at the level of the body, the Five Elements were associated to specific organ system, sensory organs, emotions, physical and emotional symptoms, disease tendencies and a general attitude towards life.
What can Five Element acupuncture help with? Five Element acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions. It recognises that many ailments are the product of emotional as much as physical distress, and gives a framework within which to assess and treat the fundamental cause of illness rather than just chasing symptoms. This means assessing all aspects of a person's life, not just the physical but also their mental and spiritual wellbeing. By identifying and then treating the underlying imbalance, the body is prompted to start the healing process and the patient begins to feel well again. As a result, patients may report the disappearance of the symptoms, but also feeling better generally, for example more grounded, with increased energy, greater enjoyment of life, more confidence, better sleep and a normal appetite.
Treatment with Five Element acupuncture During the first session there is a thorough consultation and individual treatment plan is developed specifically for each patient. The relationship between practitioner and patient is very important in Five Element acupuncture so the practitioner does not leave the room during treatment or treat multiple patients at the same time. We also use fewer needles than in other styles of acupuncture.