Why I love treating 5 Element Acupuncture – Kerry Marshall, Licensed Acupuncturist

Are you living in your element?


I will often hear myself saying ‘I was in my element’ or observing someone else in the moment or telling a story of being in their element.  It means to me someone shining or truly expressing their passion.


Studying acupuncture and the 5 element style of practice I learnt a whole new language around how elements are expressed in our body effecting our physical and emotional health that has taught me a  new meaning to living in ones element.


The root of Chinese philosophy comes from Daoism and Naturalism, observing how humans best conform to the laws of nature.  The idea that nature is governed by Yin and Yang and the 5 elements is at the heart of Chinese medicine. Although Chinese medicine concepts can seem abstract in our modern medicine world I have always been attracted to the simplicity of seeing our selves as an expression of our environment and how that effects our behaviour and health.  I’m sure my love of tent camping and my past rain forest fairy days have contributed to contemplating these matters.


Earth, Fire, Wood, Metal and Water are the elements founding the basis of our world. Cyclical yet completely bound to each other. We see them expressed in nature, seasons, climates and through my teachings I have learnt to observe them in the body expressed in health and illness.

Why I love treating 5 Element Acupuncture - Kerry Marshall, Licensed Acupuncturist 3


It is believed that at birth one of our elements will be imbalanced and this becomes our constitutional weaker element.  Although we have all elements expressed to be healthy emotional beings one will be dominant and it is my job to seek it out and then treat accordingly.  I often explain this by using a metaphor of a tree. You may have many leaves decaying or fading and some broken branches.  These are symptoms that can be treated but if we look to the roots, the cause of your health problems and work at correcting those the rest of the plant will flourish in response.


To diagnose ones constitutional element I observe how the elements are resonating in the body.  Each one is linked to two organs, a sense organ, a voice tone, a body odour, a colour reflected on our face, a taste and an emotion revealed in a story. As the seasons and climates are linked often people will prefer or dislike certain ones and this further gives insight into constitutional element.


Lets talk about WOOD and all its associations:

Season = Spring, which has just arrived

Climate = Wind, which has really arrived!

Tone = Shouting

Colour = Green

Organ = Liver and Gall Bladder

Odour = Rancid

Taste = Sour

Sound = Shouting

Emotion = Anger


A wood person for example can be someone who visits anger often, has a loud voice, can be assertive and direct.  They could also be timid type who never raises their voice. In a healthy body a wood type is kind, a good planner, makes good decisions and has a clear vision of their unique path in life. You may be thinking ‘wow that’s me, I’m a wood type’ but It is not always obvious what type we are as we express all elements in our daily life. Detecting ones constitutional element is not always straight forward and requires practiced skills to diagnose.


What I loved about moving from the class room to the college clinic was putting it all together.  Using my observational skills, tongue and pulse diagnoses and questioning I was then able to put a treatment plan together then choose the acupuncture points to effect the root cause.  Still today 15 years later it excites me to feel a positive pulse change and to have some one came back after a treatment reporting improved changes physically and emotionally and often saying ‘ I feel really good in myself.’ I am definitely in my element being an acupuncturist!


I trained in the UK at an integrated college where I learnt both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and 5 Element styles.  I have learnt to combine both and use each independent of each other depending on how the patient presents.  If you are interested in learning more about how you express your element in your physical and emotional health book in with me on a Tuesday or Friday.


Kerry is available for consultation at Mornington Chinese Medicine on Tuesday and Friday.

To book call us on ph: 5973 6886