The healing arts of traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are more than 3,000 years old. Both traditions are based on an understanding of the cyclical flow of vital energy — also known as Qi — in the world of nature and in ourselves. The Five Elements — Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water — represent a central aspect of this ancient energetic tradition. Each of the Elements represents a distinct “quality” of the Qi energy as it cycles through nature and the seasons, and through our own lives.

late summer sunset

The element Fire, for example, is associated with qualities such as the warmth of summer, the color red, rising or expanding energy, joy, laughter and a scorched odor. Each of the Elements has its own distinct associations. Each has an important role to play in everything we do, think and feel. The extent to which we live according to their natural laws is the extent to which we live in health. When the energies of the Five Elements are functioning in harmony and balance within ourselves, we feel healthy, nourished and fully alive. When the elements move out of balance, we may feel a reduced sense of well-being, and we may develop various symptoms. Symptoms can and do show up at any level- not just in our body, but also in our mind, in our emotions or in our spirit.

Students of Academy for Five Element Acupuncture are trained, first and foremost, in the ancient and subtle energetic wisdom of the Five Elements. The skills of diagnosis and treatment are learned principally by observing and following the laws of the natural world. The natural cycles of birth, growth, maturation and death represent a perfect model for health and well-being, one that is rooted in traditional Taoist philosophy.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest continuously practiced healing systems in the world. This system of medicine is very effective in restoring and monitoring health. Five Element Acupuncture is based on laws of nature which describe the flow of life energy as it manifests in natural phenomena, such as seasonal changes, and within human beings.

The Chinese call this energy Qi, and have mapped out its flow through our bodies along specific pathways called meridians. When our Qi is full and flowing, we experience health. When our Qi is obstructed or imbalanced, illness and pain can occur. The symptoms we experience are signals that we need to take measures to restore balance. Acupuncture treatments help us return to balance and, when appropriate, can be combined with medical treatments, psychotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments for optimum benefits.