Five Element Acupuncture, also known as Classical Acupuncture, is quite distinct from the more widely practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Although the Classical method of healing originated in China over 2000 years ago it was almost lost in the 20th century in favour of TCM, but thankfully is now seeing a resurgence.
So what then is the key difference between TCM and Five Element Acupuncture?
Contrary to its name, TCM is not as traditional as it sounds - it is a Westernised and standardised version of Classical Acupuncture, and is concerned with treating specific symptoms and syndromes with a specific combination of needles.
Five Element Acupuncture on the other hand, is a very ancient system of healing based on the early classical texts and beliefs from its Chinese origins. Its emphasis is on treating people rather than their symptoms, and as each person is an individual then no two people are treated in exactly the same way, even if they present with similar medical conditions.
These different schools of thoughts can be likened to the difference between using PC or Mac, or to cooking with electricity or gas - the desired outcome is similar, but the operating systems are not the same.
The ancient Chinese believed that a unique combination of five distinct elements (namely fire, earth, metal, water, wood) constitutes an individual's make up. Each element brings certain virtues, strengths and weaknesses to the person's character. Through a combination of nature and nurture, each of us develops a special relationship with one particular element, known as the Guardian Element, and this lends an emphasis to the way in which we conduct ourselves and our interaction with others.
It is the Guardian Element which bears the brunt of the majority of our life's stresses and becomes out of balance, showing its distress by allowing symptoms and pain to arise. Each element shows certain characteristics when in a well-balanced state, and inappropriate or extreme characteristics whilst imbalanced.
My role as a Five Element Acupuncturist is to determine the patient's Guardian Element by way of in-depth questioning and very close observation. Treatment is then tailored specifically with the intention of reinforcing the Element, so that a better emotional and physical balance can be reinstated, gradually enabling symptoms and pain to subside.
Five Element Acupuncture advocates the use of as few needles as possible in any one treatment. This is because each needle carries a distinct message and the body can easily be overwhelmed, particularly in early stages of treatment.
For further information regarding treatment, please visit www.jobanthorpe.co.uk