Acupuncture ~What is Five Element Acupuncture?

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This week we will explore the Five Elements in nature.

The Tao Te Ching tells us that “The Tao begot one, one begot two, two begot three. The three begot the ten thousand things. The ten thousand things embrace Yin and express Yang. Harmony is achieved by combining these forces.”

The Tao is the Great One.  The two are Yin and Yang. The three are Heaven, Earth, and Man. Our existence is this manifestation; Heaven, Earth, and Man.

Yin and Yang are represented in everything we see in the world.  Everything exists in relation to everything else; there is no happiness without sadness, there is no dark without light, and above all, there is no joy without suffering.  The definitions of these things depend on each other. Yin and Yang are intertwined and defined exactly the same way.

One of the ways we can look at this is through the seasons.  Each season has a certain energy; winter is cold and dark, summer is filled with light and warmth.  The energy of winter is associated with Yin and the energy of summer with Yang. But obviously there is more than winter and summer.  There is movement between them; spring and fall… and there are transitions between each season.  This is where the Five Elements come in.

Each element is tied to a season.


Wood is associated with spring.  In springtime you can see everything start to spring from the ground and give birth to new life… Flowers, plants trees… Even the animal kingdom gives birth to new life.  It is when we are reminded to come back to life after a long slumber.  In terms of Yin and Yang, it is rising Yang; after the stillness of winter, we start to move back towards light and life


Fire is associated with the summer.  Summertime is when we experience light and love and laughter.  The days are long.  We spend them grilling with our friends, or climbing mountains, or basking in the sun on the beach.  It’s a time to be social and happy and lively.  It is the quintessence of Yang.


The Earth element is associated with all of the seasonal transitions, but especially with late summer.  Earth time is when we harvest everything we’ve grown, and to share it with our community. It is a time of great plenty.  It is also the time when Yang starts to wane back to Yin.


Metal is associated with fall. That crisp smell in the air, the beautiful colors on the trees… and the loss of those leaves.  It is a time of letting go.  As the days get darker, the air gets crisper and the world starts to get quieter.  This is a time of rising Yin.


Water is associated with winter.  Winter is a time of stillness, of rest.  It’s the time when everything in nature conserves its resources; trees have let go of their leaves and bears hibernate.  Snow falls quietly and the days are dark.  This is the pinnacle of Yin. All of these movements are part of the cycles of life.  These cycles of life also manifest in all of us.


Please check out next week’s blog to see how!