How is Classical Five Element Acupuncture different than other types of acupuncture?
We treat the causative factor (CF).
In nature there is a law that when a baby is sick, we look to the mother. If the mother is sick, the baby will never be strong because the source of the food is unhealthy or weak. If we cure the mother, the baby will be happy and healthy. It is the same way with people. We all are born with all elements in order, and as we develop, one primary imbalance develops in each of us. This imbalance is called the causative factor, in acupuncture. It is the weakest link, or our Achilles heel and is always the same causative factor throughout our life. When this gets out of balance, through some type of stress or trauma, it effects all of the other parts of us. If we only treat the parts of us, and not the causative factor, we are only treating the baby and not the mother.
In nature there are certain processes which are always repeated. We can see the order in the seasons for example, spring always follows winter, which always follows harvest, which always follows summer, which always comes after spring. But within those seasons the weather can be quite unpredictable. This is the same in people. There are certain processes which happen in a sequence, but each individual person is very different. This is what makes CFEA treatment so unique. It is common in some types of acupuncture to treat patterns of symptoms. A practitioner in CFEA will only treat an individual based on their causative factor, and not for any other reason. Once again if we treat the mother when the baby is sick, the baby will regain health.
Body, mind, and spirit-
In ancient China, body, mind and spirit were considered to be one word. It is in modern times that we have separated them out- as a culture. Even in medicine we have mental health, cardiovascular health, etc. Some people consider themselves physical people, or intellectuals, or people of faith. However it is understood during a CFEA treatment that everyone contains all three of these. It is the interplay of them that is important for overall health. In ancient times most imbalances were physical in nature, from working long days out in the fields, or in extreme conditions. The most common imbalances we see now are spiritual. This happens when we have lost the wind in our sails. Our spirit is what animates us. Losing this can lead to many types of physical and mental problems. In CFEA, all three levels of a person are addressed.
What is the origin of CFEA?
Originally in Chinese medicine, a person was a doctor through lineage. Now, anyone can train to become a doctor, but being a healer is a calling. Traditionally, if you were in this lineage of healers, you were either in a line of acupuncturists or herbalists. It is only in modern times, that herbs and acupuncture is combined in practice. Many Taoists had to flee China, including five element acupuncturists. This was because the old style of medicine was banished, and all of Chinese medicine was becoming more westernized. Since the 1970s, there is a resurrection of this medicine in the West, which was led by J.R. Worsley, and now is led by Judy Worsley. J.R. was an osteopath in the war, which led him to Taiwan and other parts of Asia where he learned this forbidden medicine. He started a school in the 1970s in England for Classical Five Element Acupuncture, and now another school is run by his daughter and students in Colorado.
What are acupuncture points?
There are over 360 points located on the meridians, where a practitioner can access the chi at a certain depth and at certain location. Each point has a certain quality or a spirit. Each spirit is responsible for a different function. In CFEA a practitioner will not leave a needle in for very long, so as to not disturb this spirit of the point. We only ask for what we need from the point, and move on. Each point is located at a certain depth and in a hole which is usually the size of the tip of a pen. When a practitioner has accessed the chi, a person will feel a certain dull ache, a sensation of heat, or a tug on the needle.
What is Chi?
Chi is the energy flowing through all of life. In humans, it flows through tiny energetic pathways like an irrigation system in our bodies. It is unseen, but responsible for life. It is the substance right before energy turns into matter. You cannot see it, but you can feel it. Many have said the more it is discussed, the further you get from understanding it. In Chinese the character for chi is a grain of rice with vapors coming off. Chi is at once matter, like the rice, and also energy like the vapors.
What are meridians?
Very tiny garden hose like pathways that carry the chi, and go everywhere the blood flows. Meridians make up a holistic network often times passing through a specific organ, and always responsible for a certain process or function of the body. The meridian network makes up a person, by carrying the chi, or life force. Meridians are called the Officials in CFEA, because they are even more than just their function, they are beings. The Officials work together like a team when none are sick. The Officials give us our level of health.
What is pulse diagnosis?
Pulse diagnosis is very integral in CFEA treatments. A practitioner will check the patients pulse many times during a treatment. This is because the energy of 12 of the the patient’s meridians are represented in the pulse. A practitioner is checking the flow from one meridian into the next, just like how the seasons flow from one to another in an order. The meridians have a certain direction of flow they must follow. If this flow becomes blocked, it is like when a garden hose is kinked. No water can come out. By using acupuncture needles on certain points, a practitioner can open the flow like a garden hose, and allow the person’s energy to become unblocked. Blocks can cause all kinds of symptoms in a person, and can sometimes last in a person for years. These blocks in the chi can have a snowball effect. They can start small and eventual become giant boulders blocking many important processes, preventing a person from getting healthy. When these blocks are cleared not only is a person’s system functioning better, medications can work better, and person can recover from trauma, surgery, or illness faster.
What is moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a process involving light and heat. A dried and ground up herb called mugwort or artemisia vulgaris is burned on the skin during a session to amplify a treatment, and prepare for a needle.
What are symptoms? Does CFEA treat symptoms?
Symptoms are like a light going on in our car. They are warning signs that tell us something deep in the engine is not right. We all know our cars require maintenance. However we are not used to thinking of our bodies needing maintenance. They are the same in fact. When a light goes on in the car we are alerted to some problem in the engine. The oil light has come on, so we go and check the oil and see it has become low. We do not only replace the bulb to the oil light. If we do not fill the oil tank with the correct type of oil, we know this could end up with much bigger (and more expensive) problems. When a symptom is present, it alerts us that there is a problem. CFEA is best used as a preventative medicine, to maintain our health. This medicine was originally intended to keep people healthy. Doctor's in the olden days were charged money by patients if they became sick! However, what motivates most of us to seek help is when the warning light has already come on, or worse. Many people's health can be restored, especially when the symptom has only been on for a short time. However once the symptoms have been around for a while, or many other symptoms have snow balled, restoration might only be partial, and definitely treatment will be a work in progress.