By AFEA member Tom Collord

There was a time in my life when I thought acupuncture was an old and fixed practice which had not kept up with the times. Western medicine on the other hand was constantly evolving and improving itself. Therefore, what could acupuncture offer beyond local applications for specific, fixed problems, injuries and so on? What about diseases, “modern” ones, and modern people?

But experience has proven the system of Five-Element Acupuncture to be a living art and science. Rather than being static it is constantly becoming richer. It is as current as each person who is a patient of each practitioner – each unique human life. When we are with a patient in the treatment room there is no past or future but only right now, only what they are experiencing in their life, their (problems with) health and well-being, their emotions, mind, spirit and relationships. These movements of life are never exactly the same, nor have they ever been throughout the ages.

Another idea was that for acupuncture you went into a Chinese shop where you would have difficulty communicating and knowing what was going on. Although there were also more and more Western practitioners, they promoted a list of symptoms not very unlike the Chinese shop: headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, sleeplessness, menstrual problems, foot massage… Somehow this seemed limited and again fixed, and with such things just as well if not better to be solved by Western medicine. Some Western doctors even incorporate such acupuncture in their practice.

I would not take away the potential value of any of that, but the classical Five-Element Acupuncture we practice has a very different approach. Based on natural laws, the processes and principles observed in nature, it proceeds from a viewpoint that healing and change occur from the inside out. The question is not, “how can I fix that for you” but, “how can I assist nature, your nature, your body and your spirit, to transform and restore itself from the inside out?” How can we assist what is already there to help you carry on, to change, to grow, and yes, to get better?

Almost everyone has heard that experienced doctors occasionally see things occur with people which are beyond their training. What is it they have seen if not the power of nature and the spirit to transform? Can we even imagine the power of the human being to balance millions of processes within itself and the energy this takes? When one or a series go off course, what is the cause, and what is the course?

As for the Chinese, the ancient Chinese, they saw things even in their diversity as one. Myriad energies are really one energy. They saw a person as one indeed and not as separate “boxes.” Over long periods of time they observed and refined these places on our body where the flows of our natural energies can be accessed. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the many statements of patients of Five-Element acupuncture.

What about chronic or very serious conditions, the effects of things such as stress, or the need to perform in various occupations? If I might borrow a saying from a great Korean martial arts teacher, “the most natural movement is the most beautiful, and the most powerful.” We practice a wholistic system of medicine to access this beauty and power which exists and moves to this day.

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