five element acupuncture for spring + summer

In five element acupuncture there are five seasons that correspond to five elements, five emotions, five tastes, five colours and five odours. We all have each of these precious elements within us and we can see them manifest in nature. I work in a way that honours the five elements each year, and in treatments, I diagnose where my patient’s elements may need support.

Although we are all of the five elements, it is said that we have a certain CF (Constitutional Factor) assigned to us. Once we know our CF it becomes easier to navigate our world as our understanding about self is viewed through the lens of nature. Getting to know the elements also helps us better understand others and greatly increases our ability to feel compassion.

In this blog I want to take you through the elements of Spring and Summer. I am going to write about the Wood and Fire element and how we can nourish them.

Spring is associated with the Wood element with the corresponding organs of:

  • The Liver (the planner)
  • The Gall Bladder (the decision maker)

Wood symbolises the “get up and go” feeling we need to spring clean. We may need to spring clean our home, our mindset, our body or our spirit. The emotion is anger or lack of anger. In Chinese Medicine anger is viewed as an important emotion, not to be swept under the carpet. Anger directs us to change and we see this manifest in Wood CF Dr Martin Luther King. In order to make important change in this world, the benevolence of the Wood element needs to feel the wrath of injustice in order to access its power. This anger  helps manifest our world into a kinder and more just place to live. If you are feeling the frustration of injustice of any kind, I invite you to consider the source of your anger whilst punching a pillow. Anger and frustration want to find release. We can help this by chanting, by stretching (especially the area at the sides of our ribcage), by stamping our feet on the ground; and most effectively, by finding an outlet to rally for a important cause that we care about deeply.

Summer is associated with the Fire Element and the emotion of joy and lack of joy with the corresponding organs of:

  • The Heart (the emperor)
  • Small Intestine (organiser)
  • Pericardium (the heart protector)
  • The Triple Burner (the regulator)

Laughter is very important to the Fire CF, but when imbalanced can produce inappropriate laughter to help mask the vulnerability of the Heart. Many comedians are Fire CF’s or have a Fire imbalance. Comedian Ian Cognito famously died of a heart attack on stage. In five element acupuncture, the Fire Element is the performer, the jester who craves the roar of the crowd or the love of the audience. Fire CF’s can also become imbalanced when their Fire is burnt out and they are unable to manifest the emotion of joy. Bipolar disorder is considered a pathology of the Heart in Chinese Medicine and if a patient was to use Chinese Medicine as part of their treatment plan, we would look at either strengthening or calming the Heart Fire.

The most powerful way (outside of a five element acupuncture treatment) to nourish the fire element is taken directly from the book ‘Healing Your Emotions’. Authors Angela and John Hicks tell us to think about something heartfelt that elicits a smile, allowing yourself to smile internally and then allowing the smile to shine out of your eyes and letting that smile travel down to your internal organs. This exercise is perfect if you are feeling low as it helps to spark our Fire Element just in time for Summer.

Natalie Johnson is a therapist offering acupuncture, massage and cupping at our Ealing centre. Click here to view her schedule.


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