I’ve been spending more time in my schools student clinic doing “observation” time. During this time I shadow the current student interns and supervisors. Witnessing the treatment and progression (the best part!) of a variety of patients. It’s definitely a fruitful experience which helps put into more tangible perspective all the things I’ve been learning in class.
In-between patients I noticed on the wall a writing from my successor, J.R. Worsley. It’s a great summary of our Law of 5 Elements chart as well as a basic overview of the unique (in comparison to Western medicine especially) view we have of health and diagnosis. Because I couldn’t find the text anywhere else than on that wall AKA it didn’t come up in a google search or in my main books, I typed it up…there is a copyright. That’s okay, I hope.
“From health stems harmony, balance and unity. From disease we suffer discord, chaos and disunity. The Body-Mind-Spirit of every man, woman and child desires health so that we may be at one with the energy of the cosmos, both within us and without. When there is disunity the human Life Force signals its distress. We see this as many different symptoms- continual anger, migraine headaches, sexual problems, emotional instability, ulcers and arthritis, pain, anguish and indecision. These Life Force signals tell us that our balance is disturbed, that the Energy is blocked and must be released, to flow smoothly throughout the human system. Our drug-oriented and suppressive attitudes towards illness often create additional imbalance because we have not yet learned to place the emphasis on health as the unity which brings wholeness to the human condition. Health is not a medicine cabinet. It is a way of life.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing known to mankind. It originated in China nearly five thousand years ago. The fact that it is still being practiced today, thousands of years later, speaks much for the efficacy of this treatment and for the laws and principles on which it is based. These are the laws and principles of the creation and they underlie the whole of Chinese culture, including all Chinese medical thinking.
Their application to the health of the human body was first written down about 400 B.C., a golden age of Chinese thought, in a book (Nei Ching) that remains the foundation of all Chinese medicine, of which Acupuncture is an important part.
The Ancient Chinese, learning of life from Nature, discovered the Law of the Five Elements – the basic Law of Acupuncture. The cycle on the Five Element Chart follows this basic law. Beginning with Fire ( the large red circle), Earth (the yellow circle), Metal (the white circle), Water (the blue circle), Wood (the green circle), it returns to Fire. This existence is part of this Ch’i Energy which is characterized by its dual aspects of Yin Yang. Yin is the passive force- the negative in us, the night, the moon, never separated from Yang- the active, the positive, the day, the sun- the two are like the poles of a battery. Without both poles the battery will not function.
The Yin Yang is further subdivided into the Five Elements as a way of classifying and refining the understanding of Ch’i Energy and the whole of Nature. Like Yin Yang, the Five Elements never stand alone. Each one governs and is governed by another. Fire creates Earth and rules Metal. Earth creates Metal and rules Water. Metal creates Water and rules Wood. Water creates Wood and rules Fire, while Wood creates Fire and rules Earth.
The Charts white circles within each element circle represent the organ system or pathways of Energy which are called meridians. Along these pathways of the human body are the Acupuncture points. It is into these points that a needle is manipulated to bring about a flow and balance in the Ch’i Energy.
Associated with Fire are (I) the Heart, a Yin meridian, (II) the Small Intestine, a Yang meridian, (V) Circulation Sex, a Yin meridian. (VI) Three Heater, a Yang meridian. The emotion associated with Fire is joy, the sound is laughter, the odour scorched, the season summer, the climate heat, the fortification of the arteries, the power to mature, taste bitter.
The organ systems associated with Earth are (XII) the Spleen-Pancreas, a Yin meridian and (CI) the Stomach, a Yang meridian. With the Earth is associated the emotion of sympathy, the sound of singing, odour fragrant, the season of late summer, the climate humid, the fortification of the muscles, the power to decrease and the taste sweet.
The organs associated with Metal are (IX) the Lungs, a Yin meridian, and (C) the Large Intestine, a Yang meridian. The emotion greif, the sound is weeping, the odour rotten, the season of autumn, the climate dry, the fortification of the skin and hair, the power to balance, the taste hot and pungent.
The organs associated with are (IV) the Kidneys, a Yin meridian, and (III) the Bladder, a Yang meridian. The motion is fear, the sound groaning, the odour putrid, the season winter, the climate cold, the fortification of the bones, the power to emphasize, and the taste salty.
Associated with Wood are (VIII) the Liver, a Yin meridian, and (VII) the Gall Bladder, a Yang meridian. The emotion is anger, the sound shouting, the odour rancid, the season spring, the climate windy, the fortification of the ligaments, the power for birth, and the taste acid-sour.
The Law of Husband-Wife shown in the lower left-hand corner of the chart is the balance of the left hand pulses with the right hand pulses. The pulses are the basic diagnostic tool in Acupuncture. There are six pulses on each wrist, 12 in all, corresponding to the 12 organ systems in the body. Each pulse indicates the state of the Ch’i Energy within the meridian and correlates with the information given by the Body-Mind.
Often the symptoms expressed by one element direct the Acupuncture practitioner to observe the function of the preceding element. This is the Law of Mother-Son. Each element is nourished by the one proceeding it and nourishes the one following it. Thus, it may happen that if the Mother (eg Water) is in trouble the Son (Wood) would show symptoms of distress.
The Law of Midday-Midnight is based on the natural body clock discovered by the Chinese. Each meridian has its own 2 hour period during the day when it is at its peak of Energy. The segmented circle within the Law of the Five Elements represents the daily cycle. For example, 11pm-1am is the time during which the Gall Bladder has slightly more Energy than any other meridian. A person with and imbalance in the Water element often finds that their Energy wanes during the late afternoon beginning at about three o’clock, reaching a low level at about 5pm. This is due to the bladders dominance from 3pm to 5pm, and the Kidneys dominance from 5pm to pm Everyone has a time of day when they feel at their best or worst, which coincides with their own disorder in the Life Energy.
These many aspects are all part of the Acupuncture practitioners fund of information for diagnosis and treatment. They are all necessary in the assessment of the state of the Vital Force of the Body-Mind-Spirit”
1973 JR Worsley, Master & Doctor of Acupuncture M.Ac, Dr. Ac., F.C.C. Ac. (China), F.R.Ac. President: College Chinese Acupuncture (U.K.)