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TCM or Five Elements?

by May 25, 2017

Three weeks ago, I flew to Baltimore and attended another acupuncture seminar. The training was focused on facial rejuvenation and cosmetic acupuncture. It wasn’t my first cosmetic acupuncture seminar so I was more excited about the facial cupping and guasha trainings. We’ve all seen, learned, or even done it on our patients, but most of us are scared when we hear about facial cupping.

Most of us think about fire cupping, about bruises, and then we get scared to try it on our faces. I was quite impressed with the natural glow that only a couple of minutes of facial cupping can give you.

Besides the facial rejuvenation, I also enjoyed the half-day presentation about Five Elements acupuncture. When the instructor asked about our background and realized that half of us were trained in TCM and half of us were trained in Five Elements, she decided it would be easier for all of us to speak the same language and she explained the basics of Five Elements acupuncture.


I can’t say I know enough about Five Elements style so I will not start explaining their theories. What I understood and liked, is that similar to the Japanese style, they look for a root cause and don’t just jump into a standard protocol. Even if you look at the patient and you see it looks like SP QI XU, you first do a clearing treatment and then move forward with the actual treatment.

Before addressing any chief complaint, most patients get the Aggressive Energies clearing treatment.

What does Aggressive Energies mean?

“The aggressive energy block is another foundational block in the sense that, if present, it is likely that other treatments will be unsuccessful until it is cleared. This treatment is usually performed after the Internal or External dragons are cleared, if they were present or suspected in the patient.

Symptoms: Aggressive energy is considered when a patient has experienced strong psychological and/or emotional stressors. If suspected, it will be confirmed by the appearance of an erythema or redness around the needle insertions.”

We’ve all had a patient that no matter what we do, they don’t get better. This is where I think these clearing sequences would come in very handy.

If you’d like to learn more about Five Elements acupuncture, you can check this link and maybe you’ll decide it’s worth trying.

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About the Author

Iuliana Lixandru

Iuliana Lixandru

Hello! I'm Iuliana and I'm a student at National University of Health Sciences in the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) program.


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