Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture

Some acupuncturists work with an understanding that each person has one of the five elements of Chinese medicine as a ‘guardian’ or constitutional element, conferring on a person, from the moment of their conception, particular gifts and qualities. Identifying and supporting the guardian element with treatment can bring about healing benefits as well as potentially enabling a person to feel deeply re-connected with themselves and with their Dao or path in life.

Our stories and experiences are all so different, but our emotions are essentially universal. That is to say we all suffer when there is grief, sorrow, frustration, anger, shock, overstimulation, exhaustion, fear, anxiety, worry and a lack of respect is shown towards us. When too much is asked of us, or we ask too much of ourselves, and when the emotions we experience feel stuck and impose constraints on our system, we can become unwell and more unable to cope. The Chinese considered these to be the internal causes of disease – as oppose to external causes, which derive from environmental factors such as cold, heat, windy or damp conditions.

Acupuncture can, in these situations, or in any sense of disconnect, quite quickly, restore a person’s dignity, self esteem and self worth; bring back a sense of hope; calm agitation and reassure; alleviate a sense of anxiety; help a heart to feel open; put someone in touch with their compassion and their caring nature, and help a person feel more connected with who they truly are and are meant to be.

Chinese medicine is a system of ‘systematic correspondences’. Associations between natural phenomena were observed and thought about by the ancient Chinese, where there were many types of self cultivation practices. It is also important to remember that acupuncture was not practised in isolation but influenced by spiritual,  cultural and social beliefs of the times. I have listed some of the associations below in a table, which shows the seasons, emotions, virtues and core abilities associated with each of the five elements.

Element Season Emotion Virtue Ability
Wood Spring Anger Benevolence Enthuse others
Fire Summer Joy Courtesy Inspire others
Earth Late Summer Sympathy Sincerity Nurture others
Metal Autumn Grief Righteousness Correct others
Water Winter Fear Wisdom Calm others

In the short film ‘The Gifts of the Five Elements’, which can be accessed from the sidebar, I consider each of the elements and try to think about the gifts they bring to our lives.

I believe each person is unique and offers a special quality of being to the world – and when in balance and harmony, our essential qualities radiate from us. There are of course many ways to align oneself to the inner truth of one’s being – and Five Element constitutional acupuncture can be a powerful tool to reconnect with our inner strength, a sense of resource, and our essential nature.

It never ceases to amaze me how a few carefully chosen acupuncture points can set someone back on track and be better able to cope with the problems in hand. Connecting a person with their constitutional element can be very powerfully resourcing for them and it is humbling to witness and be part of the process of reconnection.