Saturday, November 30, 2019

43. The joy of being with other five element acupuncturists

I always return from my seminars in China invigorated by having taken part in another heart-warming seminar there.  I love the word “heart-warming”, a word close indeed to every Fire person’s heart, such as mine, because it does feel as if my heart is indeed warmer after time spent in the presence of a group of dedicated five element practitioners and students.

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, Agressive Energy drain, then source (yuan) points, tonification points, horary points, AEPs (back shu points), interspersed, obviously, by clearing any blocks, such as Possession, 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 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 time spent with my group of five element practitioners and students, all speaking the same language of the elements, is confirmation that 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 five element  acupuncture in a way that helps us all get a real grasp of the elements”.   




  1. Can’t tell you have rich and satisfying it feels to read about our beloved 5 Element approach growing so vigorously in China. Your messages of simplicity, finding the guardian element and letting the points for tx take care of themselves resonate powerfully. As you say, “the heart warms” on reading your words.

  2. I forgot to add how important I believe your comments about the power of being in community with fellow practitioners. It reminds me that each of the Elements in us and around us exist in deep and intimate connection with each other, depending on each other as they do for the balance and health that arises from the passing through and between them of the energy of life

  3. Very inspiring. I am not an active practitioner but it does help to read up on your work and the fundamentals of 5 Element Acupuncture. I was put off by the academic nature of the course at Warwick and never went back to it...hopefully never too late to try again and feel better about it maybe.