Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The importance of getting feedback from other practitioners

Because it is so difficult to pinpoint one element out of the five which stamps a person’s life with their individuality, we can be guilty of trying to simplify things by sticking to rather rigid guidelines by which we judge the elements. This can become a kind of false short-cut without our being aware of this, and we can then refuse to deviate from these whatever the evidence which should be persuading us to modify our understanding.  We should never say things like, “Oh, this is obviously Wood, “ or, “It can only be Earth”.  We should always say, “I think this is….”, and wait for time and good treatment to confirm or alter our opinion.  

I can still remember my amazement that a patient I was absolutely sure was Fire turned out instead to be Metal when this was pointed out by a tutor.  And I only really began to understand the Earth element’s need to turn thoughts over and over in their mind, when a patient of mine I was sure was Fire proved instead to be an excellent example of Earth.  In both cases, I had to stop myself from expressing my initial reaction, which was “Oh, no, I think you’re wrong”, forcing myself instead to face the fact that I still had so much to learn.

So any five element acupuncturist reading this should take what I am writing to heart.  We always need those with more experience than we have to open our eyes (and ears and noses!) to deeper levels of understanding.  Even now, after more than 30 years of studying the elements, they continue to surprise me with some unexpected display of an aspect I did not associate with them.  Good five element acupuncturists must never mind stumbling around for a time in the unknown, because every new person we meet is an unknown.   

It’s what makes our work so exciting.  That is, of course, one of the delights, to me, of my practice.  Thank goodness it will always be challenging, never boring.


  1. I like the observation about 'stumbling around for a time in the unknown'. I find that even when I believe I do know something about someone, there is so much more that I still don't know about them, that I am still stumbling around, just perhaps to a lesser degree - A good stumble helps keep me humble!

  2. I love "a good stumble keeps me humble"! Thank you, Jeremy