Traditional Five Elements Acupuncture
practitioner - Richard Royds
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine known to mankind. It originated in China, and has been used to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years – a testament to its effectiveness.
Traditional acupuncture works to maintain the body’s equilibrium by focusing on all aspects of well-being; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The principles on which it is based relate to the order of Nature (the way the universe works). The observation and knowledge of these principles can be seen to underlie the whole of Chinese culture, including all traditional Chinese medical thinking.
Today many people seek acupuncture treatment for help with specific symptoms and some because they simply feel generally unwell. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages. It can also be used alongside conventional medicine.
Yin-Yang and the Five Elements
The Chinese have developed a system by which they can read the state of a person’s energy. This system is based on yin – yang and the Five Elements- principles that underlie the whole of Chinese culture. They observed that the energy of creation was always moving between two extremes like day and night, summer and winter, life and death. It is like energy moving between two poles of a battery, positive and negative. One pole cannot exist without the other. They called these polarities of energy yin–yang.
It is important for a practitioner to understand the balance and harmony between yin and yang. Both are necessary. The Chinese saw the importance of this balance not only within Nature but also within the human being. They looked to see if there was a harmonious flowing of these two qualities of energy in a person, both the ‘sunshine and the shade’. They observed that if either yin or yang becomes over-dominant, then the person becomes imbalanced and therefore unhealthy. This is the first main key for knowing whether a person’s energy is out of balance.
Then came the cycle of the seasons - spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter. They saw in this cycle the great flowing energy of creation, as it moves from yin to yang and back to yin – from stillness to activity and back to stillness, all done in an orderly way as it moves through these five stages. Each stage has its own particular quality which we can recognise – the Five Elements. The Chinese called the Five Elements : Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, which are merely labels used to describe the different qualities of the vital Ch’i energy that flows within every one of us. This cycle of the Elements is the second major principle by which the Chinese assess the state of a person’s energy.
How it works
As mentioned previously, acupuncture theory states that the vital force, or Ch’i, circulates from one organ of the body to another along pathways termed meridians.
There are twelve main meridians, each feeding one of the main organs or functions of the body. In order to be healthy in body, mind and spirit the energy within these meridians must be balanced and harmonious. In all illness the energy is out of balance. The pain, or symptom, is a warning or distress signal notifying us of this imbalance, be it due to a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual cause.
Ultra fine needles are inserted close to the surface of the skin along these meridians at chosen acupuncture points. The points are not always close to the part of the body where the person experiences the problem. For example, although one might suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand.
To assess a person’s energy in the meridians, the practitioner will feel a person’s pulses on both wrists, as well as looking at your tongue. Taking the pulses of the twelve meridians is a key way to access the state of a person’s energy, and indicates the changes brought about by treatment.
Moxabustion is another form of treatment used in acupuncture, where points may need to be heated. The commonest way to do this is by using a small cone of moxa on the point. Moxa is made from the stripped and dried leaves of a Chinese mugwort-like herb called Artemesia vulgaris latiflora. It has a warming, nourishing effect upon the Ch’i energy and, where this effect is most appropriate, depending on the nature of the imbalance, it may be used instead of needles, but more often prior to needling where heat would be beneficial.
The first benefits noticed vary a good deal, depending on the severity of the disorder and on the state of the patient. Some feel changes right from the first treatment but usually one would expect to feel benefit within four to five treatments. These first benefits are not necessarily improvements in the symptoms themselves. Often a patient feels better able to relax, has more vitality, feels more at peace, or feels more uplifted and generally better in themselves. All these are positive signs that the Ch’i energy is being restored to balance; this will then naturally be followed by improvements in the symptoms.
Acupuncture treatment aims to correct any imbalance in the energy of a person and restore it to its natural state and flow, and to re-establish its rhythm with the natural cycles of day and night, the seasons, the time of day. As the energy imbalances are corrected, the person’s body, mind and spirit start to heal.
For further information on acupuncture and coming for treatment, please visit Richard's website: www.naturalbalanceacupuncture.co.uk