Sunday, March 14, 2010

Five element acupuncture made simple: Find the element and treat it

The more I think about five element acupuncture and practise it, the more I realise that I am honing it down to its very pure essentials. As I said at the seminar I gave last week at The College of Traditional Acupuncture in Warwick, it all comes down to two apparently very simple principles: Find the element, and then treat it.

The difficult part here is the first part, finding the element, though it is not as difficult as it is sometimes made out to be if we try and remove as much stress from ourselves in doing this. The treating part,again if approached properly, is the easier.

Finding the element: We are told that all we need to do is home in on one of the five elements through the colour, sound, smell and emotion it imprints on us, and we are away. We should not image that the skills this demands are easy to acquire. It always takes time to tune our eyes, ears, noses and emotional sensors, and the way to help ourselves is to accept this rather than to dwell on our own shortcomings. The less pressure we put on ourselves to "get things right" immediately, the more freely we will work and the quicker we will become at interpreting what our senses are telling us. So here the advice, as always, is: take it slowly. It will take as long as it will take, and don't be in a hurry, or blame the discipline instead of recognising that this calling is a lifetime's work, rather than that of a few years at acupuncture college. Interestingly, it is we who are more in a hurry than our patients, because I have always found that if they feel we are confident in what we are doing, they are quite happy to give us the time we need to get to know them.

Treating the element: Once having decided on the element we want to treat, the protocols for this treatment can be summarized in very simple terms (see my Handbook of Five Element Practice for help with this, And always remember that you should think "element" here, not "individual points". I like to tell people to ignore the false lure of the point. Points are only ways of accessing the energies of the different elements, and have no intrinsic value in themselves except insofar as they represent different ways of reaching down below the surface to these energies. Practitioners can all too easily be enticed away from this simple fact, bury themselves in point manuals which tend to talk of points in isolation, and often in rather florid terms, and ignore the roots which feed each point.

Finally: The practitioner's mantra must always be: Keep it simple. If in doubt, simplify, and return to that most miraculous of points, the source (yuan) point!

1 comment:

  1. Very regocnizible what you write about the pressure we can put on ourselves to "get things right". It feels as if my senses get blocked if i'm trying to hard. When I feel free and awake, signs of the element come to me more easily.