One of the major systems of thought within Chinese Medicine, are the 5 Elements. Based on the five elements of nature: fire, earth, metal, water and wood, 5 Element Acupuncture has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a method of diagnosis and treatment for over 2000 years. It is believed the five elements represent our controlling and creative energies. Ideally, all five of these elements should be in balance.
The theory is that we develop symptoms or diseases when these elements become unbalanced. Treatment involves transferring energy from one element to another, creating balance again. Classical 5 Element Acupuncture can be a very effective system to use in conjunction with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
How Five Element Acupuncture Works
Acupuncturists begins assessing the patient’s condition by evaluating sense organs, tissue, colour, taste and emotion. This will enable the acupuncturist to determine the particular element an individual represents and to formulate a personalized treatment plan.
As far as nature allows, this ancient Five Phase system aids the mind, body and soul in healing itself. Rather than merely sweeping symptoms under the rug. 5 Element Acupuncture deals with the underlying causes of a disease, aiming to prevent recurrence in the future. Acupuncture deals with your condition by restoring the overall balance of your energy. In this way, it may also be used as a preventive measure.
The world around us is governed by the same universal force that governs our mind, body and soul. The same cycles of change manifested in the seasons of the year influence us. The ways in which the elements and their associated components interact is explained by the cycles within the Five Element theory.
The five elements work closely together and have their own set of characteristics. The following is a chart illustrating these characteristics:
Being unbalanced would mean having too much or too little of one element. The tastes represent the food you either crave the most and also the food you should eat for that season. For example, if you are wood, you may crave a lot of sour foods but also means that it’s a good idea to eat more sour and green foods in this season, such as green apples.
Here are some examples of foods that are recommend for each element and most beneficial to eat during the season of the colours.
Consuming food that is red in colour is good for your heart, small intestine, and brain.
Foods that fall into this category include carrots, tomato, sweet potato, strawberry, chili, red beans, red pepper, jujube, goji berry, dragon fruit, apple, brown sugar, and anything else that is a shade of red.
If you consume green-coloured food, it’s good for your liver, gallbladder, eyes, muscle, and joints.
The list of green foods could be endless. Some of the main ingredients used in Chinese food include mung bean, Chinese leeks, wasabi, and all the green vegetables and fruits.
Yellow/Earth/Spleen Food/late summer or between seasons
According to this theory, yellow food is good for your digestive system and spleen.
Again, yellow is a common colour in food. You can eat things like sweet or baby corn, yellow sweet potato, taro, oats, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow pepper, soybeans, egg yolk, bean curd, ginger, orange, star fruit, lemon, pineapple, papaya, peanut, walnut, honey, and more.
White/Metal/Lung Food/ Fall
If you eat white-coloured food, it is supposed to benefit your lungs, large intestine, nose and respiratory system, and skin.
Common white foods include rice and noodles, both of which are staples in Chinese cuisine. The list also includes lotus seed, daikon, onion, garlic, bitter melon, winter melon, broccoli, bamboo shoots, white wood ear, milk, tofu, soymilk, Asian pear, banana, almond, white sesame, rock sugar, and more.
Black and blue foods are reportedly good for your kidneys, bones, ears, and reproductive organs.
Look for ingredients like wood ear, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms eggplant, black beans, raisins, blueberry, black berries, black grapes, black sesame, black vinegar, tea, sweet bean sauce and more.
Nicole Stallard~ R.Ac. D.Ac.
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