Five Elements of Traditional Acupuncture
Historically speaking, the principles of balance, Yin-Yang and the Five Elements, came to light during the Warring States period in China between 476-221 B.C. During this time frame a school of philosophy developed which was sometimes known as the Naturalist School. Students of this philosophy studied and interpreted the interrelationship between people and their natural surroundings.
By observing the flow of nature's energy from season to season we can understand the checks and balances that are present in our own ecosystem. What is true in the environment in which we live is also true within each of us. Our interwoven body-mind-spirit follows the same principles in sickness and in health.
Often times the western physician separates the various organs and functions of the body into different systems and categories. In traditional acupuncture our state is viewed from a larger perspective, as one would view an ecosystem -- no single part can be fully understood without an understanding of the whole. By hearing, seeing, smelling, and feeling, a well-trained Five Element acupuncturist can interpret which of the elements is your unique causative factor and on which level of the body-mind-spirit to focus.
So, what are the Five Elements? First, note that each element has a correlation to a particular season, a color, a sound, an odor, an emotion, a tissue type, a time of day, a climate, an organ function, and other details that contribute to an understanding of the person who demonstrates an affinity with the given element.
metal - wood - water - fire - earth
Starting with the element of the most quiet time of year, a time of inner reflection, of germination; wintertime is Water.
Following Winter, Spring bursts forth with the vigor of youth, with an abundance of energy, vision, goals; springtime is Wood.
Spring winds give way to longer days and a time for play and joy, a time for passion and romance, a time of social activity and heat; summertime is Fire.
Summer's heat vaporizes the ground waters into a rising humidity, the sky yellows, spring plantings are ready to harvest; Late Summer is Earth.
The days begin to shorten, humidity drops, and the sky becomes clearer. With faith that the harvest will see us through till next Spring, we let go as leaves fall from the trees. Autumn is Metal.
Each element feeds the next and is dependent upon it just as in a mother-child relationship. If an ailing mother cannot nourish her crying child, simply treating the symptom (the immediate need of the child) will not correct the causative factor (the concerns of the mother, the source). A Five Element acupuncturist seeks to locate the source, to balance and strengthen the energy where it is weak, and the symptoms in turn become resolved.
During the initial diagnostic session, we have the opportunity to evaluate your relationship to these influences and how we may best proceed in helping you restore your natural balance. It is through the balancing of all the elements of nature in and through you that your body-mind-spirit can best adapt and choose your true path.