Dr. Lori Horan Soule, ND, LAc

Soule Health Care

3526 SW Corbett

Portland OR, 97239


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Newsletter Archive

A special kind of acupuncture

September 29, 2011

Most people in America don't know that there are different styles of acupuncture. Most of what is practiced in the U.S. is a modern style of Chinese Medicine, which developed after the influx of Western medicine into China. Consequently, much of the historical diagnostic and therapeutic principles of the older Classical Chinese Medicine were lost to the newer form of acupuncture. Classical Chinese acupuncture, also known as the Five Element Tradition, retains the old ways of understanding the origin of illness. It is based on the observation of nature, reverence for the spirit in all things, and returning people to a balanced state of functioning. The tradition was preserved by an elderly British gentleman named J. R. Worsley who studied with many of the masters of the old ways.

The ancient Chinese observed nature and based their understanding of the body, health and disease upon it. Underlying the changes of the seasons they saw five basic elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). Based on a broad picture of associations, each element corresponds with a color, two body organs, a tissue it governs, a sound, an odor, and an emotion. Because human beings are a part of nature, they contain all of the elements within them. Ideally, all of the elements are balanced within us, but with illness, characteristics of one element are more excessive or deficient than the others. The out-of-balance element predisposes the body to specific illnesses, behavior, and mental-emotional weaknesses.

For example, Cindy had migraines she felt mostly at her temples. She had also been depressed most of her life. She noticed that her headaches were much more frequent when her depression got worse. At first she tried the modern style of acupuncture, which treated her migraines as a condition called blood stasis. She had some success at pain relief, but no lasting results. Her depression continued in spite of the temporary pain relief. In Five Element Acupuncture, depression can result when the wood element is blocked or imbalance, much the same way the shape of a new plant in springtime would suffer if its growth pathway was impeded by a ceiling. Also, Cindy's headaches were located on a wood organ pathway. Balancing her wood element was the focus of treatment for her, done by strengthening her liver and gallbladder meridians. After six treatments, her headaches are better, she isn't depressed, and has a calm sense of detachment to what would normally send her spiraling downward. This is just one of the ways that Five Element acupuncture addresses illness at the level of spirit.

According to the Five Element Tradition, the 12 organ-system pathways form an energetic chain. A person's weak element is the weak link in that chain. The weakest link must be addressed, or nothing will make the chain stronger. With Five Element acupuncture, the focus is to strengthen the weakest link so the other organs can stop compensating. By strengthening the weakest link in the chain, mental, emotional, and physiological well-being is restored.

If you have a chronic illness or pain and have tried almost everything, or you have noticed that your mental and emotional stressors play a large role in the severity of your physical symptoms, then you are a great candidate for Five Element acupuncture. Call for an appointment with Dr. Lori Horan Soule for a Five Element diagnosis and treatment plan.

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