Five Element Acupuncture sees life as a process, always in motion. We move through cycles in our days, seasons, and life stages. This graphic shows the cyclical relationship between the five elements: it turns like a wheel, clockwise.
Like plants, we experience layers of birth, flowering, fruiting, decaying and death. And then we begin again. If the cycle gets blocked at any point, the wheel does not turn. These are the places in your life where you resist change.
Five Element acupuncture offers a way to find out where in the elemental cycle you are getting stuck. This is why it has the potential to heal so deeply for the body, mind and even for your life. It puts your system back into motion.
Today I saw a patient who confessed that she often has a hard time with change. I could feel in her pulses that she was getting stuck in the movement through a particular elemental transition: Water into Wood. This is very common and I see it at least once a week in the clinic with people of all different ages and backgrounds.
What does it mean to get stuck in the movement through Water into Wood? On the Five Element chart, Water is the blue circle. The Water phase is like the seed resting underground. On the surface, it looks like absolutely nothing is happening. But in the darkness of the earth, the seed is waiting for the right time to burst out into the world, unsure of what lies ahead.
In life, this is the time of the unknown, when you do not know what the future holds for you, whether you will have enough resources to survive, and maybe even what the next step might be. For this reason, the Water element is often equated with fear. The unknown can be very scary!
Then the wheel turns—and we move through to the burst of life that happens in the Wood phase. New plans are set in motion. The seed splits open and with great force the little plant pushes through the soil to show itself to the sun. In the Five Element chart, the Wood element is the green circle. Wood is the time for action.
Why do so many people get stuck in this transition through Water to Wood? I think it is common to get frozen by fear when waiting for the next phase in life to begin. You may wonder, am I going to be in this nowhere place forever? Or there may be a hesitation to finally take a leap out into action. You can even paralyze yourself by overanalyzing your plans and options before you’ve even ventured to take the first step.
These are all forms of stagnation and can lead to problems in the body, mind and spirit.
Sometimes a little acupuncture is enough to get the wheel turning again and give you the vision of your next step, or to give you comfort that for now, your spirit is regenerating before it’s time to begin again. All parts of the cycle have their moment.