Traditional Chinese Medicine and Five Elements Styles of Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the body as an intricately interconnected system of energies and organs. It is the function of the organs to produce and circulate the energies and of the energies to support the function of the organs. Together they maintain health.
When things go wrong in our lives, we eat badly, sleep badly, go through a period of stress, anger or grief, burn the candle at both ends, do too much sport, sit in a draft, or catch a virus, certain energies come in to play to protect us and see us through. If those energies are overwhelmed, illness can penetrate more deeply and we can become chronically ill, the function of the organs then suffers, they produce insufficient energy or fail to circulate it.
According to the TCM view, our energies circulate through a complex system of channels or meridians, which form an intricate web over and through the entire body, reaching every level and connecting every area. By inserting needles at certain points on these channels an acupuncturist can affect the flow of energy and hence the functioning of the body.
In the Five Element style of acupuncture, diagnosis and treatment are based upon an understanding that each one of us has a particular relationship with one particular element (Wood, Fire Earth, Metal or Water), our constitutional element or factor. This element gives our life a certain emphasis, making some of us more serious or light-hearted, others more determined or anxious. It is this element that takes the brunt of the stress we are suffering, revealing its unease through physical and emotional signs of imbalance. By going to the heart of what ails us, rather than chasing disease and symptoms, Five Element acupuncture is able to restore balance at the levels of body, mind and spirit.
To some people this sounds like hocus-pocus and it is true that no one really understands the mechanism(s) by which acupuncture works, yet an increasing number of studies and clinical trials are proving it to be safe and effective treatment for a whole range of conditions. It is also worth considering that acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, testimony in itself to the success of this gentle yet powerful ancient therapy.
Acupuncture needles are hair thin, sterile, stainless steel and single use. You will hardly feel them go in and you only need to look if you want to!
Sharon Darby (based in Southend-On-Sea, Essex)