Patients tend to fall into certain categories when it comes to imbalances in their systems, and we acupuncturists can use this information to enhance treatment results through diet and lifestyle advice. Five-Element theory is a way to categorize the five systems in the body: Kidney, Liver, Lung, Heart, and Spleen. Most patients have certain characteristics that are linked to one of these systems, and this would be their "element."
If a patient doesn't specifically have an issue in one of systems, their element would predispose them to future issues. I suss out which type of element each patient is through a number of strategies: pulse and tongue diagnosis, a thorough intake, and examination of behavior and appearance. Often, people will ask about whether they should be concerned that they are "Livery" or "Spleeny." I explain it like this: imagine a round table with five legs. Imagine that this table is sturdy and strong, but one leg is just slightly weaker than the rest. In everyday life, this wouldn't affect the table. But if something huge came crashing down on this table, the one leg that would give out would be the weakest one.
In human terms, even the healthiest of us have one vulnerable spot, the one area where things will go awry if we let them. So, even if you are not actively unwell, it's best to fortify all the legs of the table before disaster strikes, right? And that is where acupuncture comes in.
As powerful as acupuncture is, patients do their part to amp up their systems with lifestyle changes, as well. Every day, I send out emails to patients detailing suggestions to work with their particular imbalance. And starting tomorrow, I'm going to post ways to build the energy of every system, according to Five-Element theory. Stay tuned!