Why choose 5-Element Acupuncture for your health

Miguel Andrango – backstrap-loom weaving

In order to weave silk into a beautiful pattern, you must know what each individual thread is doing. However, if you stay focused on the individual threads, you will never see the pattern that these threads create. By favoring pattern recognition over individual signs and symptoms, 5-Element Acupuncture occupies a unique place in the healthcare universe that sets it apart, not only from Western medicine, but also other forms of acupuncture.

You have choices in acupuncture

We are blessed in this modern age to have lots of choices when it comes to acupuncture, TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine), Japanese Eight Principle, Auricular Acupuncture, Korean Hand Acupuncture, and individual techniques like Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, and the NAET allergy elimination protocol.

Choices can cause confusion

This profusion of styles is also a curse. You now have to educate yourself to make a wise choice. It would take an entire book to explain all the different types of acupuncture, and since I am only an expert in one style, 5-Element Acupuncture, it would be presumptuous of me to speak for other traditions.

What makes 5 Element Acupuncture unique

However, I can tell you the unique features of 5-Element Acupuncture and the benefits of its approach. If you find yourself bored and uninterested, move on and find another practitioner (or style). However, if you find yourself drawn in and intrigued, schedule yourself a consultation to find out if 5-Element Acupuncture is for you.

A person and her health is not simply a matter of biochemistry, or internal energy flow for that matter. She constantly adjusts and responds to her environment. She also is an expression of her past. Just like thousands of threads are woven together to make a dress, time weaves the physical, mental and spiritual threads of our lives to make us what we are today.

Heart disease as an example

For example, let’s take a look at heart disease. In modern medicine, the first sign of heart disease might be raised blood pressure. In response to this finding, a doctor might prescribe several blood pressure medications and advise the patient to exercise, lose weight and make a follow-up visit in 6-12 months.

Similarly, in the TCM acupuncture model, a patient might present with a tight pulse and a tongue that is slightly purple. The TCM practitioner would have a similar response to the Western doctor and use needles and a herbal formula like “Relaxed Wanderer” to ease “liver stagnation” and advise the patient to practice yoga or meditate.

These are essentially the same interventions which address the mechanism of increased blood pressure, but completely ignore how the patient’s past and environment might be influencing her entire quality of life and not just the blood pressure. Put that thought on the shelf. We will come back to it.

Laughter is linked with heart health.

Laughter and your heart

A study just came to my attention that linked laughter and heart disease. To a Five Element Acupuncturist this is 2,000 year old news, but it’s always nice to get validated by rigorous modern research. In 5-Element theory, the heart is associated with the Fire Element whose sound is laughter and whose emotion is joy. Score one for the old Chinese dudes.

The researchers started by asking the patients if they would laugh if they showed up at a party and someone else was wearing the same outfit. Those who had a sense of humor, were found to be 40% less likely to have markers for heart disease, including high blood pressure.

One could make the case, in fact I am making the case, that the cause of these patients’ heart disease symptoms was a lack of joy in their lives. No joy, no laughter. No laughter, no healthy heart.

If you simply relax the cardiovascular system and reduce the blood pressure, the main cause of stress, a joyless life, is left running rampage through the person’s life and will continue to cause physical damage.

In 5-Element Acupuncture, we are trained to observe a patient’s emotional state as well as their physical state. If we find a person does not laugh easily, we get curious and look for the reasons why. While this may sound like we are trying to be junior psychologists and go all Doctor Phil on our patient’s, you have to take my word that we are not.

The 5-Element System is a tool for identifying large patterns, the meta-patterns, if you will, that give rise to smaller patterns of disharmony, like high blood pressure, or constrained liver qi.

Treating the overall pattern

Anybody over the age of 30 has many of these small patterns or symptoms. Trying to address them individually is like trying to use chopsticks to eat a bowl of rice one grain at a time. If you can identify the meta-pattern influencing the person’s life, what 5 Element Acupuncturists call the causative factor, you can then treat the entire landscape of health physical, emotional and spiritual.

The individual rice grain approach is why patients end up with a shelf full of medications if they go to a doctor, or a shelf full of supplements if they see an alternative health practitioner.

Please don’t mistake my drawing distinctions for disdain. I’m not dismissing this approach out of hand. There are times when concentrating on an individual symptom or disease is critical. However, this is not the strength of the 5-Element System. An individual practitioner may have an expertise in an area, but  has created that expertise outside the 5-Element System. For example, I have specialized in treating Lyme Disease. I uses the 5-Element System, but also use other techniques from various disciplines to focus on helping people with this terrible disease.

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That’s an old Chinese saying “The wise person is sick of being sick.” Don’t let another day slip by without starting your path back to health.


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