We look at patients together, observe their treatments, include some practical work helping participants feel more confident about their clinical skills, and, most importantly of all, mull over together the problems we confront as practitioners. Mostly, though, we concentrate simply on making participants feel more confident in what they are doing, and helping them by making them aware that they are part of a family of five element acupuncturists. The main thing which I like to emphasize and which I hope they all take away with them are my two mantras, “The simpler the better”, and “Points are messengers of the elements, not the message itself”.
I am constantly bewildered by the emphasis so many people now seem to put on points and point selection. When I trained all those years ago, we never seemed to worry about which points to select because the whole emphasis of training was on trying to find a patient’s element. Once found, or at least once we had made our first decision about which element to address, we carried out the simplest of treatments: first, of course, A E drain, then source (yuan) points, tonification points, horary points, AEPs (back shu points), interspersed, obviously, by clearing any blocks, such as pPssession, Husband/Wife or Entry/Exit blocks. I don’t remember us ever worrying about point selection, unlike present generations of practitioners who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time mulling over the actions of different points and when to use them, and disproportionately less time learning to look carefully at the elements of which these points are just the servants.
Another mantra of mine could be “Find the element and the points look after themselves”. And if they don’t yet look after themselves, because you are new to the world of five element acupuncture, then look at a copy of the new edition of my Handbook of Five Element Practice, published by Singing Dragon Press, which lists in careful detail the points on each element to be used at different stages of treatment.
So a day spent with my group of five element practitioners and students, all speaking the same language of the elements, is confirmation that at least in this corner of London the spirit of five element acupuncture in its purest form continues to flourish. This confirmation has been given an additional boost by an email from one of the participants which I received at the end of the day, telling me how grateful he and other members of the group were to see “how you simplify 5E acupuncture in a way that we can all get a real grasp of the elements”. Thank you, Dom, for those kind words.