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Five Element Acupuncture: What Is It & Which Element Are YOU?

Five Element Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine that focuses on balancing the five elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water—within the body. Each element is associated with specific organs, emotions, seasons, colours, and many other attributes.

The philosophy behind Five Element Acupuncture is that health is achieved when these elements are in harmony, and illness arises when there is an imbalance among them.

In Five Element Acupuncture, practitioners diagnose and treat patients based on their predominant elemental imbalance. The approach is holistic, considering not only the physical symptoms but also the emotional and spiritual aspects of the patient's health to find the root cause of the issue. This approach means everybody is treated as an individual so, rather than being protocol acupuncture - using certain points to treat certain conditions - in Five Element acupuncture how one person is treated for migraines, for example, might be with a completely different set of points to how we treat another person.

Here's a brief overview of each element and its associations. Which one might you identify with?

  1. Wood: Associated with the season of Spring and the blossoming of the trees and flowers around us, as well as the Colour Green. It represents new growth, flexibility, and development. It’s associated emotion is Anger but remember this can also be a positive energy when used for forward-thinking, planning, assertiveness and controlled ambition. Like the ever-growing bamboo shoot, they are always moving forwards. They are a great and loyal friend to have that will act selflessly towards you, but they don’t need or depend on your friendship.

  2. Fire: Linked to the emotion of Joy, the season of summer when everything around us is alive and in full bloom, and the Colour Red. It symbolises warmth, enthusiasm, and transformation. Its life will flicker and ignite in excitement and joy but like the flames themselves it is impossible for them to be sustained and can succumb to sadness. They bring laughter and want to be your friend, giving and receiving love. They might not be the one dancing on the tables at the party but they will be having a fantastic time connecting with people more one-to-one in the kitchen, craving the intimate spark of friendship that brings their eyes and contagious laughter alive.


  1. Earth: Corresponds to the emotion of Sympathy, both in requiring and in giving. Earth relates to the season of Late Summer, when the harvest arrives, and the Colour Yellow. It stands for the providing of nourishment, stability, and support – Earth people want to provide for us and have strong maternal vibes so are often the mother within a group of friends or colleagues.

  2. Metal: Connected to season of Autumn, and the Colour White. It represents structure, organization, and clarity, like the precious minerals within the ground. It is concise, can speak matter-of-fact and why say in a hundred words what can be said in a few? But those few words will be considered and pertinent. Cold Metal can be hard and brittle but when heated can radiate and warm all around. The emotion of Grief resides in Metal, associated with the knowing of when to hold on or to let go of objects, friends or our dreams. It is often the rock star of the Elements, living for today for we can’t predict what ills will happen tomorrow.

  3. Water: Associated with the emotion of Fear, Water people can freeze in the moment or, in contrast, run headlong into facing their fears. They can be more prone to extreme sports, racing cars, or shark diving. They might be bubbling and alive on the surface like ocean waves or still and calm on the surface like a canal whilst their waters flow deep underneath. Water belongs to the season of Winter, when we store and preserve in case of hard times ahead, and the Colour Blue. It symbolises fluidity, adaptability, wisdom, and the essence of life.

Esteemed Five Element acupuncturist Nora Franglen summed it up thus:

Wood likes to tell

Fire desires to share

Earth likes to involve

Metal likes to observe

Water wants to make sure. 

Blog by Darren Haines. If you'd like to book an appointment today, please contact us.


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