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Episode 58:

Balance the Nature Within You with Five-Element Acupuncture

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Intrigued by the idea of the energetic body and how an age-old practice like acupuncture can move energy? But not so sure about the idea of having a bunch of needles stuck in you? Five-Element Acupuncture might just be for you! In this episode, we learn all about Five-Element Acupuncture from Melissa Farran, a board certified and licensed Acupuncturist. She walks us through this healing modality that is rooted in nature and natural law and is believed to be the most ancient practice of acupuncture. Melissa describes what to expect in a treatment session as well as talks through the actual needling process, which involves inserting and removing hair-thin needles in targeted acupuncture points. She also shares with us her advice on staying in rhythm with nature and the seasons to maximize your well-being.


In the “You Want Me To Do What??” section, Shanna details out her experience with Five-Element Acupuncture. She compares it with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture and concludes that, while she misses the nap she could take with TCM, she prefers Five-Element.

Episode Recap:

Interview with Melissa Farran - 2:31

“You Want Me To Do What??” section - 52:57


  • Five-Element Acupuncture is believed to be the oldest form of acupuncture ever practiced

  • Five-Element is based on the idea that humans are part of nature and that we experience changes with the seasons

    • Whatever we notice in nature, we start noticing in people

  • The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water

  • In this system, practitioners are trained to hone their senses so they can use them to diagnose their patients

    • Senses focus on color, sound, odor and emotion

  • Training to become a Five-Element Acupuncturist is a four year Masters program that includes:

    • 2 years of study/schooling

    • 2 years of clinical, supervised practice

  • In Five-Element Acupuncture:

    • Practitioners diagnose and plan treatments by identifying imbalances as it relates to the five elements

    • The focus is less on treating symptoms and more on identifying the root cause and bringing that into balance

    • The needling practice used is tonification which means a needle is placed in an acupuncture point and then removed

    • While a needle may be left in for a few minutes, the Acupuncturist does not leave the room and the needle does not typically stay in as long as they do in TCM Acupuncture

    • Work with the herb Moxa which is heated on the acupuncture point before the needle is placed

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) vs Five-Element:

    • The acupuncture points are the same

    • Both systems are working with the energy in the body

    • TCM will put needles in and leave them in while practitioner leaves the room for 20-30 minutes -- This does not happen in Five-Element

  • What to expect in a treatment session:

    • Start with clearing energy in the body by placing needles superficially in the back

    • Observing with the senses, taking pulses, and feeling for energy blocks

    • Not a lot of needles used -- focus on very targeted acupuncture points based on energy and imbalances

    • Finish with grounding points on either the legs and feet or arms and hands

  • Melissa’s Top Tips for Optimum Well-Being:

    • Prioritize sleep

    • Move your body

    • Focus on hydration



Where to find Melissa Farran:


Books that Melissa recommends: