The Five Elements in acupuncture treatment is determined by using various sequences and the Five Transporting points simultaneously. 

Treatment according to Sequences 

When considering a treatment of a certain Element, one should keep in mind the relationships of that Element through the Generating, Controlling, Over-acting, Insulting and Cosmological sequences. 

  • Is the disharmony caused by another element, and is it causing disharmony in another element 
  • Is the mother element at fault? Or is the child consuming more than it should?
  • Is the element being insulted or is it insulting?
  • What are the symptoms indicating?
The Five Transporting points

Within the joints of the fingers, elbows, toes and knees are points called The Five Transporting points. Each of these points connect to a channel, starting from Yin (Wood) to Yang (Metal) in the Generating sequence.

In the book ‘Classic of Difficulties’ by Nan Jing chapter 69 states: ‘In case of Deficiency, tonify the Mother, in case of Excess sedate the Child.’

If an organ is deficient, the point connected to the channel of the mother element is pressed to tonify the mother. 

  • In the case of Lung deficiency, the point pressed would be the one on the Lung channel connected to the mother element, the Spleen, according to the generating sequence.

If the organ is in excess, meaning it is taking too much from the mother element, the point connected to its child element is pressed to tonify the child.

  • In the case of Lung excess, the point pressed would be the one on the Lung channel connected to the child element, the Kidneys, according to the generating sequence.

Ultimately, the Five Element Points could remove pathogenic factors. Fire is to heat, wood is to wind, Earth is to dampness, metal is to dryness, water is to cold. An element point could be used to subdue its characteristic, such as using the fire points to subdue heat or using a metal point to clear dryness.

Herbal and Diet Therapy 
taste in the five elements

An extensive part of Chinese medicine is diet therapy and is fairly similar to that of herbal therapy. Elements have specific tastes relating to them as does each food and herb. 

The taste considers the intrinsic quality than actual flavor and each has a different impact in the body:

  • The sour taste: creates fluids and Yin that can control perspiration and diarrhea.
  • The bitter taste: removes Heat, clears Damp-Heat and it controls rebellious Qi. 
  • The sweet taste: tonifies deficiency, balances and moderates; Used to stop pain. 
    • The sweetness enhances muscles, but an excess can cause weakness.
  • The pungent taste: scatters Qi expels pathogenic factors, but it should be avoided in Qi deficiency
  • The salty taste: Treats constipation and swelling as it flows down, softens and hardness.
    • Diets shouldn’t contain this taste in blood deficiency because it dries up Blood.
  • The sour taste: goes to the nerves, however an excess disturbs the Liver
  • The bitter taste: benefits the bones, but an excess should be avoided in bone diseases. 

An excess of everything will cause imbalance in targeted areas of the body. 

If an organ is diseased, the taste of it’s controlling element within the controlling sequence should not be eaten:

– The sour taste goes to the Liver –  the bitter taste goes to the Heart, – The sweet taste goes to the Spleen  – the pungent taste goes to the Lungs   – The salty taste goes to the Kidneys 

If the Heart is diseased, the diet shouldn’t contain salty foods because the Kidneys control the heart. Alternatively, to nourish the organ the taste connected to the organ it controls should be consumed. If the heart needs nourishment, the diet should contain pungent tastes because the lungs control the heart.