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the philosophy of five element acupuncture

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Introducing Five Element Acupuncture

You may be here because you have discovered that Five Element Acupuncture can offer a unique insight into our health and wellbeing. Let us take some time to understand what the Five Element theory is and how it can help you.

The theory of the Five Elements is an ancient one. The theory can be applied to everything in the Universe and aims to describe the cycle of energy and how it moves in all living beings and the natural systems that support them. It is a circular, never ending cycle of creation, growth, maturation, decline and death.

This theory can be applied to our bodies, the systems within our bodies, the seasons, our lifetimes, the environment, pretty much everything.

The cycle never ends and is in constant motion.  Change is constant. The cycle is constant. Moving from phase to phase. One giving way to the other and then the next.

When we observe and understand this cycle of the Five Elements it can help us see that we are part of a much greater cycle that unites life. Understanding the gifts of these Elemental phases can enable us to work with them to best effect and optimise our health and wellbeing.

Let’s first briefly explore each Element and see the associations and gifts that lie within them.  Starting with the Element of Wood…


We often start with the Element of Wood when describing the Five Element theory.  Truth is, we could start anywhere as they all repeat in the cycle of life.

Wood represents Spring & new life. Also, strength, power, upward and outward movement, flexibility, progression, force and vision.

Within our bodies the organs of the Liver and Gall Bladder are represented by Wood. 

Emotions are linked to the organs within this theory. The emotion of Wood is Anger.  


After Wood comes Fire. A nice analogy as wood is needed for fire to exist! 

Fire represents Summer & passion. Also, communication, sex, connection, maturity, warmth & laughter.

It is the organs of the Small Intestine and Heart.

The emotion is Joy. 


After Fire is Earth. Fire creates ashes that give way to become Earth in our cycle.

Earth represents Late Summer, a sacred time of stillness, the pinnacle of the cycle, before it gives way to Autumn. Earth is the harvest. The height of achievement.  

The Stomach and Spleen are the Earth organs. 

The associated emotion is Sympathy or Worry. 


In our cycle, Metal comes from Earth.

Metal is Autumn, a decline in energetic power. It represents release, decline, judgement, respect, reflection, slowing and the emotion is Grief.

The associated organs are Lung and Large Intestine.


After Metal is Water.  Water is contained by Metal, think of the metal bucket! 

Water is Winter, loss, death and stillness. It is time to take store and draw within and protect our energies.

The Water organs are Bladder and Kidney.

The emotion for Water is Fear.

In our cycle, it is now time to return round to Wood. As in nature, Water creates Wood by nourishment.

'The Five Element Theory has nature as it's inspiration'

A template for diagnosis

Now that we see these subtle energies exist in the cycle of everything, how do we apply them to ourselves and our health?

One of the keys to understanding the Five Elements is recognising everything is made up of and controlled by energy. Again, this is an ancient idea that stands true today. When scientists break life down into its constituent parts, they describe it by the very building blocks such as atoms, molecules, all of which are tiny structures with electrical or energetic charge. We are all big blobs of chemical energy. This energy within us exists in everything throughout the universe.

As beings made up of energy, the Five Element theory sees this energy moving through the five stages of the cycle, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal then Water. This energy flows through a continuous cycle in our bodies called the meridian system. The meridians move the energy through the Element cycle with Wood energy moving to Fire energy, then Earth, then Metal and then Water, starting the cycle again with Wood on this continuous loop.

Should one of these phases of the energy cycle have a weakness or a propensity to go out of kilter, then this can show up as specific traits in us. We all have a phase in this energetic cycle that is prone to disruption. This is called our Constitutional Factor (CF). This can cause very subtle or very noticeable signs. These signs can be interpreted by an experienced practitioner of the Five Element theory and treated to help restore balance.

Five Elements & Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one method of interacting with our Five Element energies. The use of points along the energetic paths or meridians has been used for millennia to help influence energy. Once a patient has been diagnosed according to their Constitutional Factor, the constituent meridians of the CF can be supported to enable them to be ‘balanced’. By tuning the energies and balancing them the patient can achieve their optimum energetic health and wellbeing. This process can be anything from a slight tweak to many visits to the acupuncturist depending of the level of disharmony that may need correcting.

Acupuncture is not the only method of restoring balance. General self-care, Qi Gong, Acu-pressure and learning to live by the Five Elements and the seasons can all contribute to enabling balance. This can be a fascinating process of self discovery, learning to make the most of our individual energetic patterns and work with them.

Interested? Want to discover more? Please feel free to get in touch and ask questions. Or, if you feel ready, book in for an Initial Consultation and let’s get the energy moving!

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