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5 Element Acupuncture Introduction

Five Element Acupuncture: Basic Intro

By: Hillary Leonzio BSN, LAc, DiplOM.

Acupuncture is the art and science of healing medicine that addresses the health of the whole person, a seemingly simple act that produces profound effects on mind, body, and spirit. This medicine is one of the oldest systems of healthcare that encompasses not only treatments but also diet, exercise, and lifestyle. This personalized healthcare helps improve one's physical, mental, and emotional health.

There are different types of acupuncture, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Classical Chinese Medicine, and Five Element Acupuncture. All of these approaches share the intention to help one heal and grow. There is the fundamental understanding that body, mind, and spirit are all interconnected and therefore are the focus of treatment. One’s physical state is dependent on their mental and spiritual state. If one of these three are out of balance, in any way, the other two are effected. For the intentions of this article the focus will be on Classical Five Element Acupuncture.

Classical Five Element Acupuncture is based on the teachings of J.R. Worsley. His teachings are rooted in in the belief of treating one’s Spirit by diagnosing and treating one’s Causative Factor (CF). Worsley believed that a person’s CF was the place in which one thrived as well as had difficulties. This is where the imbalance originates and therefore, is the root cause of their health concerns. By properly identifying the “root”, the practitioner is able to offer treatments that allows the patient to begin their healing journey. The focus is on the Five Elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and how these elements manifest and interact within the human body. The five elemental factors of nature are contained within each of us and when they are in harmony, there is health, and when disharmony arises, illness and disease result.

A practitioner uses the diagnostics tools of color, sound, odor, and emotion, which are unique to you, to identify any disharmony. When assessing a person the practitioner is looking for color in your face, listening to the sound of your voice as well as the cadence in which you speak. Odor is your unique smell, and emotion is how you interact with the world around you. These are different for everyone but are all observable through the five element lens. A skilled practitioner has learned how to use these tools and is able to diagnose and treat appropriately.

The goal of treatment is to restore balance and homeostasis, allowing you to feel healthy and authentically you. For example, if you experience chronic back pain, you may have difficulty concentrating or performing physical daily tasks like you once did, which can effect your mental and emotional health. Your practitioner will plan effective treatments that allow you to heal, move, and grow in a positive way so you may arrive at a place of health balance. By bringing all of you back into balance you now have your physical health back and peace of mind. We all have everything we need within us and your acupuncturist can help get you to where you want to be.


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