A classical Five Element Acupuncturist doesn’t just look at your list of symptoms (tension headaches, fibromyalgia, pain, anxiety etc.) and pick your treatment from and a prescribed list of acupuncture points.
Your symptoms are seen as clues to your underlying dis-ease and the practitioner considers the overall picture of how your body is (or isn’t) working. The Acupuncturist uses all the information gathered to assess which of the Five Elements (and we all have all five) and which of the corresponding channels are the most in need of rebalancing. She then works out an individual treatment plan to alleviating your symptoms.
As an acupuncturist it is a bit like being the Chinese Medicine version of Sherlock Holmes. You follow the clues to find the culprits and then neutralise the 'threat'. It’s a totally fascinating process.
During your session there are many ‘clues’ that the Acupuncturist will be looking for in order to assess the root cause of your problem. Amongst these she will be assessing your colour, sound, odour and emotion. So don’t be surprised if she asks you to attend your appointments without wearing makeup or strong smelling products such as perfume, aftershave or body lotion. She will also be interested in aspects of your work and everyday life that don’t necessarily centre just on how you came by your symptom.
As strange as it seems this idea of using all the senses to diagnose isn't a totally alien concept to Western Medicine. As just two examples, a yellow skin colour (jaundice) is recognised as an indication of possible liver problems and a sweet odour is seen as a possible indication of uncontrolled diabetes. A GP would never ignore these obvious symptoms and your Acupuncturist is just using a more practiced and sensitive sense diagnosis system to help her work out the best treatment for you.
In actual fact diagnosing the root cause of your problem can be a lovely rewarding process for the patient and the Acupuncturist especially when it’s in a calm and relaxing treatment space, with the time you need to explore all the issues together.
So there are no set in stone acupuncture point prescriptions for certain symptoms. Each person is treated as an individual with a unique diagnosis and treatment plan. That doesn’t mean that there are no general rules and order to treatment. As sure as night follows day and Spring follows Winter our bodies change, grow and decline according to patterns set by nature. A Five Element Acupuncturist will just be detecting and rebalancing (via acupuncture points and channels) how you respond to these inevitable changes.
And don't worry, during diagnosis and treatment you are free to talk as much or as little as you want and everything you do say is totally confidential. Making sure your Acupuncturist is a member of The British Acupuncture Council will ensure she is bound by and follows the Code of Professional Conduct and Code of Safe Practice. Further details can be found here at www.acupuncture.org.uk
Gaynor Hollis is a Classical Five Element Acupuncturist with a thriving practice in Birmingham. She is interested in all things healthy and life style related not just Chinese and Japanese acupuncture.