Student Early Bird: A Top-Down view of Five-Element Constitutional Diagnosis

The upper class of medicines . . . govern the nourishment of destiny and correspond to heaven. . . . If one wishes to prolong the years of life without aging, one should [use these].

The middle class of medicines govern the nourishment of one’s nature and correspond to man. . . . If one

The lower [class of] medicines . . . govern the treatment of illness and correspond to earth. If one wishes to remove cold, heat and [other] evil influences [from the body], to break accumulations, and to cure illnesses, one should base [one’s efforts] on [drugs listed in] the lower [class of this] manual.


       Clearly, for the author of the Shen Nong Ben Cao, China’s oldest herbal text, the highest aspect of healing involves helping the patient fulfill destiny in order to live out the years as allotted by heaven. 

        Five-element constitutional type comprises the unconscious tint on the lens that we see the world through. It filters how we create meaning and come to embody it. Knowledge of constitution imparts a vision that alows us to see patients creating themselves in real mime with anunderstanding of the conscious, and unconscious, forces at work.

         In this course constitutional diagnosis will be examined as an organizing framework that yields deep insights into each patient's destiny and path of healing. The imagery contained in the acupuncture point names  will be discussed as it relates to the points inner functions. We will cover the functional dynamics of the ­sheng and ke cycles to understand Chinese medicine as a fully holistic/integral science. Participation in this class is suitable for practitioners from any tradition and level of training who wish to deepen their perspective on their art.

Topics include:   

  • Chinese medicine as a science of conscious awareness.
  • Emotion, Virtue, and Vice of the Five-elments
  • Destiny and Constitutional Type. 
  • The Relationship Between Chinese Cosmology & Physiology.             
  • Inner Functions of Acupuncture Points, Herbal formulas, and Point Combinations.  
  • The Suggestive Process in treatment and the therapeutic relationship.
  • Diagnosis by Color, Sound, Odor & Emotion.
  • The Relationship between the Five-elements and Eight-Principles.
  • Practical exercises in diagnosis.

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