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Five Element Theory of Acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture?
What are the benefits of acupuncture as a complementary
Five Element Theory is a theory developed
by Ancient Chinese philosophers that is
still widely used today in Traditional Chinese
Medicine. It was through observation of
nature that they came to believe it was
possible to predict how natural changes,
within our bodies, and outside environment
can affect our health. Practitioners used
the relationship of five elements and the
meridians or channels of energy within the
human body to bring conflicting body forces
back into balance.
five elements were described as:-
were identified as the five elemental forces
embodied in the natural world. Each of these
elemental forces are also associated with
major organs of the body. By use of the
properties these elements possess together
with how the Yin/Yang balance of the body
was structured it was possible to correct
any imbalance of the body, and hence potential
illness, can be averted or arrested.
body elements/functions are divided into
Yin/Yang tendencies, these are then subdivided
into elements or qualities. The Yin and
Yang concept is a basic principle of Traditional
Chinese Medicine they are terms used to
describe the balance of any item in nature.
These two forces are said to be in confliction
and must always be in balance for the item
to be in its natural state. So if the Yang
is described as "hot", the Yin
will be described as "cold"; similarly
if Yang is "outside", then Yin
is "inside"; thus any imbalance
of these forces will be seen as a major
contributor to ill health.
Five Element Cyles, Relationships and Interactions
table gives an idea of how the Five Elements
, the Yin and Yang and the Body/Mind functions
are all connected it shows each of the elements,
the body/mind relationships associated with
each organ and how they react to a variety
of phenomena. Acupuncturists will use these
relationships to help form a diagnosis when
there are conflicting signs and symptoms.
Five Element Theory states that each elemental
force generates or creates the next element
in a creative sequenceor cycle e.g.
Rain will nourish a tree
(water element) supports the Liver
wood will generates fire
(wood element) supports the Heart
is created from the fire
(fire element) supports the Spleen
is mined from the earth
(earth element). supports
the Lung (metal element)
will condense on metal
(metal element) supports the Kidney
simple example illustrating how both these
concepts are used is :-
If a diagnosis of a patient shows an excessive
Yang condition in an energy related to a
"fire" element, you could assume
this is being caused by the Yin condition
being in the "water" element (i.e.
not enough water to control the fire), or
they may find an Yang condition in the in
the "wood" element (i.e. too much
wood feeding the fire). If you now consider
the "fire" as the heart, the "water"
as the kidneys, and the "wood"
as the liver, you can begin to see the concept
of interaction/balance and how a typical
treatment may be constructed.
This also explains the reason why the Acupuncturist
may ask a lot more questions than a typical
Western physician as they inquire about
seemingly unrelated topics. A Western physician
would seldom ask if you have trouble urinating
or other kidney-related questions like a
craving for salt when you go for a heart
checkup, yet surprisingly, Western science
has led to many similar conclusions (excessive
salt can be bad for your heart).
The theory itself is simple but the relationships
and diagnosis can become quite complex with
creation cycles and destruction or controlling
cycles, etc. Most body functions are divided
into Yin/Yang tendencies, then subdivided
into elements or qualities.
Another important difference in Eastern
and Western medicine is that every traditional
Oriental diagnosis is individual and unique.
Two persons with the same symptoms may receive
completely different treatments because
the cause of their "imbalances"
may be different. Oriental medicine looks
for the "causes" of the disease,
not necessarily treating the symptoms directly.
Chinese Medicine still uses this ancient,
diagnostic method to analyse how the various
parts of a person's body and mind can interact
to affect their health and wellbeing. Modern
acupuncturists also use the five element
theory but in varying degrees depending
on the individual practitioner and what
style of acupuncture they practice.
much more about Acupuncture in one of these