How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing practiced for over five thousand years in China. Today there are over three million acupuncturists worldwide. Acupuncture uses needles - gently inserted - to change and balance a person’s energy, or qi (气). The Chinese describe ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) as the life force present in the universe and in every human being. When our energy is flowing well, we are healthy. When this flow is disrupted, illness can set in.

Acupuncture “points” are locations on the body where the energy comes to the surface and can be affected by needles that are thinner than a human hair and moxabustion, or the application of heat to an acupuncture point. The goal of acupuncture is to balance your energy, allowing you to heal with nature’s help and to feel your best.

What makes Five Element Acupuncture unique?

Five Element Acupuncture comes from the ancient Chinese belief that all things in the universe are expressions of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The human body is nothing more than an extension of the universe and the same laws governing the universe also govern the human body. 

The Five Elements within the human body are associated with specific organs, physical and emotional symptoms, disease tendencies, and general ways of being in the world. Within the framework of the Five Element System, both the patient’s physical symptoms and emotional history create a diagnosis for the practitioner. By understanding the physical, mental and emotional life of a person, the practitioner is able to use knowledge of the Five Elements to treat the root of the imbalance. 

The resulting treatments are designed specifically for each individual patient depending on the way energy is flowing and/or being blocked. Ultimately, Five Element Acupuncture aims to treat a patient’s underlying weaknesses and not only presenting symptoms. When acupuncture works effectively, not only will the patient report the disappearance of such symptoms, but will feel better overall. Patients’ energy improves as they feel increased vitality and are better able to enjoy life.  Learn more about the Five Elements and their properties.

What conditions does acupuncture treat?


Acupuncture was practiced in ancient China to prevent disease, which remains an important use of acupuncture today.  Keeping energy balanced helps keep people healthy. However, people often come to acupuncture when trying to treat an illness, sometimes as a last resort after trying many other therapies.

Treating Disease

Acupuncture stimulates the immune system and healing process. It is effective in treating a wide variety of symptoms, including headaches, back pain, GI issues, or stress-related conditions.

The World Health Organization lists many conditions for which it considers acupuncture to be helpful. These include:

  • depression
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • infertility
  • impotence
  • menstrual disorders
  • migraines
  • sciatica
  • skin conditions
  • ulcers
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • neuralgia
  • back pain
  • fatigue & chronic fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • eating disorders
  • tendonitis