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Five Element Acupuncture

Find a professional for Five Element Acupuncture in Los Angeles

The core teachings of classical Five Element acupuncture are thousands of years old, rooted in the observations of the ancient Taoist philosophers and sages that everything is interconnected, in perpetual change, and always moving towards balance and harmony with its environment. Or, put another way, all that exists in the Universe is made up of five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These represent five phases in a cycle that all energy (or Qi) in the Universe flows through. In Nature, we can see and feel the five element cycle throughout the year as seasons: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each phase is unique, but also dependent on the other phases for its vitality and balance. In us, the five elements flow from one to the next via energetic pathways called meridians. This network of meridians — and the quality of Qi flowing in them — constitute the backbone for all functions and activities essential for physical, mental, and spiritual life.

"Five Element" has become a common name for the style of acupuncture passed down in the teachings of J.R. Worsley (1923-2003). Born in England, J.R. Worsley lived a life dedicated to healing — studying and practicing as a physiotherapist, osteopath and naturopath for many years even before discovering Eastern medicine. In the early 1950's, J.R. entered into the apprenticeship of an oral tradition passed down for thousands of years, with teachers Dr. Ono and Dr. Hsui, and was later bestowed the title of Master and lineage-holder of what is now called Classical Five Element Acupuncture. Even after this time he continued on with his travels and education, eventually earning his Doctorate in Chinese Medicine. Worsley soon brought Classical Five Element Acupuncture to the West, opening the first schools of acupuncture in England and the United States.

Diagnosis and treatment are quite unique in Classical Five Element Acupuncture. It is taught that everyone is born with a place within the five element cycle that will tend to fall out of balance, and as a result cause the entire cycle to be out of balance. This imbalance becomes the underlying root of illness, and is aptly diagnosed as the person's Causative Factor. Sensory information provided by the patient is used to accurately diagnose their causative factor. Each of the elements has a corresponding color, sound, odor and emotion, which can be perceived by the provider when a particular element is out of balance. Symptoms are not a guide to diagnosis or treatment; if the whole energetic cycle is out of balance, then symptoms can be coming from anywhere, at any time.  They are understood as distress signals of something wrong on an energetic level, indicating that the root cause has not yet been addressed.

Other diagnostic methods include radial or umbilical pulse palpation, abdominal palpation, body temperature, eye inspection and energetic tests.  These are used to determine the flow of energy from one meridian into the next, the distribution of energy flowing on each side of a particular meridian, and the overall quality of energy flowing throughout the cycle.  According to classical teaching only acupuncture, moxibustion, and the body's innate healing capacity are needed to restore the balance of the five element cycle.

Author: David Tucker, LAc, LMP

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