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5 Element Acupuncture

five element acupuncture

Five Element Classical Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of Acupuncture known today and it was created by intense observation of the laws of nature. This is most clearly seen in the change of seasons.


The fundamental elements (also known as the 5 phases) are:

Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.


These 5 elements represent the makings of the cycle of life.  Our Elders studied the energetics that are present in each element of nature and applied their findings to the human body.  

Nature regulates itself in order for life to thrive. This same regulation happens in our body but sometimes we need a little assistance in order to heal!  

Studying and understanding this relationship is not only the key to the root cause of disease, but it provides a means of prevention!  If the Fire is burning out we need more Wood!

The Five Element theory is one of the most complex systems of thought in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Five Elements are based on the unchanging laws of nature.  These laws bring order to the creation cycle of life.  All living things are meant to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the universe.




The origins of the Five Elements likely date back to some of the oldest records, the second or third millennium B.C.E.

The Elements are balanced. There is no beginning or end.

five element theory

According to the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and philosophy, there are five elements that comprise the trappings of the entire universe, including what makes up our solar system, the planet Earth, and human beings themselves. These elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, and are used to describe and classify the interconnection and relationships between phenomena of the natural world, even those occurring in the organ systems of the human body. The five elements are said to be held in a careful balance within all of nature. As creatures sprung from the natural world, when the elements are at equilibrium in our minds, bodies and spirits, it is then that we are functioning at our highest and best.


When the elements are jostled out of equilibrium, be it from environmental effects, stress, grief, emotional or physical trauma, among many other causative factors, it can manifest in a myriad of ways, including a host of common symptoms such as chronic pain, sleep issues, poor digestion, painful periods, depression, anxiety, and countless others. The beauty of this medicine is that it aims to treat every human being as a whole- a complete set of parts that depend on each piece functioning at its highest in order to achieve the seamlessly self-regulating system we are designed to be.


Each element lends something unique to a harmonious mind, body and spirit. According to ancient traditional Chinese medical wisdom, in practice for over 3,000 years, every element corresponds to an energy type, an organ system in the body, a color, a sound, a season of the year, and almost everything else you can imagine can be classified into one of these five master categories.  


It is when the elements within are deficient or in excess that the body reacts and responds, and it is this imbalance that your Five Element acupuncturist works to assess and treat. They will check diagnosis points such as pulses or the appearance of the tongue, as well as carefully consider details you may not typically classify as diagnostic, such as mannerisms, coloring, and even the sound of your voice. The term Qi (pronounced “chee”) in Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to the vital energy which flows throughout the body, much in the same way blood flows. A trained practitioner can identify where blockages are in the healing channels of the body along which Qi circulates, known in acupuncture as meridians. By stimulating the flow of Qi with needles as thin as a human hair, a practitioner can stimulate,  redirect and correct the flow, restoring and facilitating healing in the body. 


Here is a simple breakdown of what balance and imbalance of the Five Elements may look or feel like:


Fire in balance: excited, happy, inspired, healthy expression,  

Fire out of balance: lack of joy or compassion, inflammation, heart disease, blood pressure issues


Earth in balance: grounded, at peace, stable, safe

Earth out of balance: anxiety, changing direction often, feeling unstable, unsafe, or unsupported 


Metal in balance: healthy boundaries, malleable, self-disciplined, organized, hearty immune system

Metal out of balance: difficulty with self expression and spontaneity, rigidity, skin problems, unprocessed grief 


Water in balance: flexible, mental clarity, optimum reproductive health, introspective, calm

Water out of balance: fear, irrational emotions, sexual weakness, infertility, urination issues


Wood in balance: Yielding, confident, courageous, ambitious, resourceful

Wood out of balance: confrontational, reckless, feeling “stuck” or frustrated, joint pain

Our body, mind and spirit are inseparable and therefore should be treated as one when considering health

  • A healthy Body provides the strength needed in manifesting our purpose.  

  • A healthy Mind provides the clarity to understand ourselves and our environment. 

  • A healthy Spirit provides the will to live, fight, flourish and grow with grace and joy.​

dr. liz roper the medicine tree

Five Element Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine work together to move disease out and re-build your vitality at the same time!

the medicine tree patient room
forest with path.jpg
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