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Five Element Acupuncture Theory and Clinical Applications

Five Element Acupuncture Theory and Clinical Applications



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Published by: api-3714123 on Oct 18, 2008
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Krennie Tran Nguyen Five Element Acupuncture Theory and Clinical Applications
Five element theory is one of the major systems of thought within Chinese medicine. From a historical perspective it is an important underpinning of medical theory and serves as one of the major diagnostic and treatment protocols. In modern clinical practice the five element theory is used in varying degrees depending on the practitioner and style of acupuncture that they practice. For practitioners or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the theory may be used to help form a diagnosis when there is conflicting signs and symptoms. Additionally, elements of the theory are useful for assisting patients with nutritional balancing and/or working through emotional issues. The theory is used extensively by Japanese acupuncturists within the five phase treatment protocols and by Classical five element practitioners, such as those who follow the teachings of the late J.R. Worsley. The information below discusses the Five Element theory and clinical applications in detail.
Primary Correspondences Within Five Element Theory
The Five Element theory is based on the observation of the natural cycles and interrelationships in both our environment and within ourselves. The foundation of the theory rests in the correspondences of each element to a variety of phenomena. The most common correspondences are listed in the chart below:
Yin Organs
 Heart & Pericardium Spleen 
Yang Organs
 Small Intestine & Triple Heater  
Stomach Large Intestine 
Urinary Bladder  
Gall Bladder  
Sense Organs
 Tongue Mouth Nose Ears Eyes
 Vessels Muscles Skin Bone Tendons
 Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty Sour
 red yellow white  blue/black  green 
 Laughing Singing Crying Groaning Shouting
 scorched fragrant rotten putrid rancid
 Joy Worry/Pensiveness
Grief/Sadness Fear Anger
 Summer Late Summer Autumn Winter Spring
 Heat Dampness Dryness Cold Wind
Developmental Stages
 Growth Transformation Harvest Storage Birth
 south center west north east
Body Types
  pointed features small hands quick energetic large features strong legs calm generous triangular featuresstrong voice meticulous, strong willed round features strong digestion loyal, enjoy movement tall slender strong bones and  joints hard workers
Five Element Cyles, Relationships and Interactions
Within five element theory there are four main relationships or ways in which the elements interact. The first of these is the generating (sheng, mother-child) cycle. This cycle describes the ways in which each element, serving as a mother, promotes the growth and development of the following child element. Examples of this cycle are the Wood element providing the generative force for Fire, Fire  providing the generative force for Earth, etc. This relationship provides the foundation for understanding five element theory and, consequently, where imbalances may arise within the cycle. If Earth, for example, is weakened from a poor diet and overwork you will see that more nourishment is requested from the Fire element to nourish Earth. Additionally, if Earth is weakened the Metal element may also be effected.

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