5 elements in acupuncture
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The 5 elements or five phases is one of the most important theories in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. It lays down the fundamentals of energy flow within the body.
5 element theory is thought to have originated around 200BC (Han Dynasty) when the Chinese were observing Nature and how Nature could be related to the internal flow of energy and disease within the body. It is different to 5 element acupuncture which is a modern invention.
For example, the heart is fire and generates earth, the spleen. Earth in turn generates metal, the lung, thus the spleen is the mother of the lung as well as being the son of the heart. In practice, this can be seen when a person has too much anxiety (fire-heart), which weakens the digestive system (earth-spleen)
Within five phase theory is the controlling sequence. Here each of the five phases controls the next, see below. For example, water controls fire, fire controls metal, metal controls wood, etc.
The insulting cycle is shown below. Here, the controlling sequence is reversed, so wood insults metal, metal insults fire, fire insults water, etc.