Classical Five-Element Acupuncture

Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, as taught by Professor J.R. Worsley, is unique among the various types of acupuncture. It doesn't aim to treat symptoms, only the whole person.

Relying on natural laws, it recognizes that the health of a person's entire body, mind and spirit must be taken into account in order to fully diagnose the cause of an illness. Only then can the most effective help be offered so that people can regain their balance and health on all levels. These natural laws and underlying philosophy and wisdom also allow to draw meaningful connections between the symptoms of one's disease and their significance in one's life.

Needling in this acupuncture style is completely painless, and only very few needles are used.

How Five-Element Acupuncture works

Five-Element Acupuncture helps people regain their balance and health on all levels of being, starting with the mental and emotional. It promotes well-being, insights about oneself, personal and spiritual development, and offers support in times of hardship, change and difficulty.

Lonny Jarrett (USA), a remarkable acupuncturist and teacher, has written two books about this style of acupuncture, the first of which is appropriately named "Nourishing Destiny". That's really what a Five-Element Acupuncturist does: Nourish a person's connection to their destiny, or in more contemporary words: helping them live their life to the fullest.

Mindful acupuncture vs. "needle poking"

The great importance of the spiritual aspects of acupuncture is shown by a central line in one of the oldest textbooks on acupuncture. The so-called "Needle Classic" (Ling Shu Su Wen in Chinese) states in Chapter 8: "For every needling, the method is above all, not to miss the rooting in Spirit." Rooting in Spirit, or, as another translation says Rooting of the Spirit means to help a person reconnect with the very best part of themselves - their soul or "higher self".

Acupuncture point have names which tell us something about a point's spiritual, mental and emotional properties. (The numbering system used in the West was invented later.) Some examples of acupuncture point names: Rooting the Spirit, Spirit Path, Spirit Gate, Heavenly Window, Head before Crying, Gate of Hope, Exchanging Pledges, Communicate Faith, Assembly of the Ancestors.

While the simplest form of acupuncture - finding a sore spot and poking a needle in it - does work for pain relief, it doesn't promote true healing. The intention with which each point is needled makes a profound difference on the outcome.

Classical and Japanese Acupuncture

Both of these acupuncture styles are based on the model of the Five Elements and use the same points, even if for different purposes. Thus it is possible to move between the different aspects - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - of an acupuncture point during the treatment. Quite often, I find that points which are useful for a client's physical problem also reflect their current emotional, mental or spiritual issues.

Although I regularly treat symptoms with techniques from the Japanese style of acupuncture, every treatment is based on the premises rooted in the Five Elements.