Causative Factor

The Causative Factor (CF) is the heart of our work as Classical Five Elements Acupuncturists. CF is used to describe the imbalance which is the underlying cause within an individual. CF is vital to treatment in Classical Five Elements Acupuncture as it indicates the source of the client’s imbalance. Treating the source of the imbalance is the key to promoting healing. 

Causative Factor is based on the idea that the Five Elements - Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal - exist within all of us. Ideally, we present with each of the elements at the same level and in perfect balance with each other. This ideal is, however, not reality. One of these elements inevitably tends toward  becoming the weakest link of the elements within. This weak link is named the Causative Factor as it is the source of all imbalance. 

There is a great sensitivity to determining Causative Factor and an even greater responsibility as a practitioner to treat each client as unique. The CF must not be regarded as defining who someone is fundamentally or constitutionally. CF only defines the source of the imbalance lying with one particular element. JR Worsley emphasized that the CF isn’t one’s essential nature and encouraged students of his to know their authentic selves and know the authentic selves of clients. 

Everyone has a Causative Factor. The Causative Factor should not produce judgement toward any one element, but rather illuminate that that element within the individual is out of balance and causing any other imbalances. Whether deficient or excess, the element needs attention in order for the individual to flourish within their life experience. The CF shows the areas in which we are not yet enlightened. Causative Factor is not negative or positive, it just is. 

The CF is diagnosed based upon the sensory information provided by the client. These include color, odor, sound and emotion, which present from the body in particular ways when an element is out of balance. As Neil Gumenick reiterates of JR Worsley’s teachings, “In addition, this elegant system recognizes that the health of each unique individual's body, mind, and spirit must be taken into account to fully understand and treat the cause of illness. Thus, no two patients are ever treated the same.”   JR also stated that ”Practicing this system of medicine from your senses is very easy. Coming from your head, it is impossible." Furthermore, JR taught that everything one needed as a practitioner of Classical Five Elements Acupuncture to diagnose and treat clients lied within. 

When we are in balance, all of the colors of the elements are within us. They show on our faces. When we are out of balance, the color of our Causative Factor becomes more evident. The weak element produces color. The more out of balance, the more obvious the color. The color associated with Water is blue, Wood is green, Fire is red, Earth is yellow, and Metal is white. We look for these colors around the eyes of a person. 

Odor is perhaps the most definitive and irrefutable form of diagnosis. Odor is received in our reptilian brain, the most primitive part of our sensory reception. It creates and evokes emotion. The odor used for diagnosis is the general odor emitted from the body. It wafts off of us. We always emanate odor to some extent, even after washing. The more balanced we are, the less pronounced the odor. The odor associated with Water is putrid, Wood is rancid, Fire is scorched, Earth is fragrant, and Metal is rotten.

A well balanced voice has all the sounds and all the sounds occur at appropriate times. Appropriate expression is in harmony. Unbalanced sounds are indicated by disharmony between the emotion and the sound or maintaining one sound continuously or the lack of a particular sound. The sound associated with Water is groaning, Wood is shouting, Fire is laughter, Earth is singing, and Metal is weeping. Sound follows emotion.

When we are in balance, all five emotions will be expressed appropriately. When out of balance, we may not experience all the emotions or may be stuck in one emotion. Emotions may be conspicuously absent. The eyes are the window to the soul; as practitioners, we must look to the eyes to see the truth of the emotion rather than hearing only the words. The emotion that one feels most comfortable with can feel like home and become a shield for the client. The emotion associated with Water is fear, Wood is anger, Fire is Joy or lack of joy, Earth is sympathy or reject sympathy, and Metal is grief. 

Just as in nature, there are boundless variations of colors, sounds, emotions and odors. Each individual is unique and will have a unique presentation of their Causative Factor. We don’t necessarily ever know the cause of the CF, but as Five Elements Acupuncturists, we are able to identify it and treat it. 

Diving deeper into the diagnostics and foundation of Classical Five Elements Acupuncture, we must consider the importance of “distress signals”. Distress signals are subtle cues that the body, mind and spirit share with us so that we take note that there is something out of balance. These distress signals can get louder and more alarming if the source is left untreated. The distress signals can manifest into symptoms. Much of Western Medicine treats symptoms rather than treating the root cause producing the symptoms. This methodology will sometimes palliate symptoms for a period of time, but does not restore balance.

The nature of the body, just like the nature of nature is to maintain balance. The body is always seeking homeostasis, which allows us to infer that the body knows how to heal itself. Intervention such as Classical Five Elements Acupuncture through diagnosing Causative Factor touches the source of the imbalance in such a way that balance can begin to be restored. 

Spending time with the Causative Factor reveals that while it is the source of the dysfunction, it also serves as the source of activation and harmony. There is a vast duality which can easily be misunderstood and perceived negatively. Turning our attention to the source gives us access to the greatest range of healing and possibility that exists within the individual. 

New Year, New Perspective

I got a taste of Oriental Medicine back in 2007 when I went to massage school. There was always something that drew me back to the Oriental Medicine Philosophy. It captivated my mind and my heart in a way that no other medicine did. About 2 years ago, I met Ken Koles, an acupuncturist teaching the Application of Acupuncture Principles to Craniosacral Therapy. Since then, I’ve been studying under Ken’s guidance and my love and fascination with Eastern Medicine was undeniable.

After a few heartfelt conversations with my husband and nearest and dearest friends, I decided to go back to school for a Master’s Degree in Classical Five Elements Acupuncture. This decision brought up such vulnerability and curiosity in my spirit. I immediately felt connected to the way this program would not only impact how I work with clients, but also my own spirit and approach toward life.

So far, I’ve experienced one weekend intensive and instantly knew the way I think, process and live would be challenged. And through those challenges, I have rapidly found myself living a life closer to my heart and seeing a wider perspective.

So that’s my start to 2019! What are your big VULNERABILITIES in 2019?

Getting Organized, Getting Healthy

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a visionary. Often in motion with loads of ideas, projects and creation in process. This year I'm settling into the quiet, becoming comfortable with the vulnerability in the space between and being with myself. At times, it's mucky and yucky and the thoughts in my mind cycle to no end and without much relief. 

The easy way out, is to go back to busing myself so that I don't hear the chatter and tune myself into the task at hand. But the reality is, I'm working too hard in that space. Ideas don't flow quite so easily and I find myself unable to find my footing. The quiet and the being ground me and it feels so good to have my feet planted here on earth. So, I'm going with it, muck, yuck and all.

With the start of the new year, I have had tons of clients coming in deep in the muck as well and trying to be with the quiet. Witnessing their silence, their expansion and their energy has been so beautiful. The rawness right now and marvelous and I am so honored to be an observer. As I apply that same concept, WITNESSING, to myself, I am curious and quiet.

I've found that getting pulled away from this space is pretty easy, but staying with it, staying with myself as I unfold is where I need to be. I've gone back to my old school girl organization tricks and expanded upon them in order to stay present and stay in the zone of healing.

  • Completing tasks pertinent to wherever I find myself. Many of you know, my hubby and I also own a latin dance company. I used to squeeze in dance tasks throughout the day whenever I had time. It felt like I was doing dance stuff all day and had no time for anything else. Now, in the half hour to an hour before we teach together, I get those tasks done. AND let me tell you in 15 days of the new year, I've probably done more and done it well with salsa than the last 3 months. 
  • Scheduling the really important things and sticking to the schedule. I love writing, but the time I allotted for writing in the past was the first thing I'd let go if I needed to squeeze in a client or a meeting. It made me sad. I agreed to stick with the scheduled items that are FOR ME, which is all of them because they nourish me so much!!
  • The on paper phenomenon. I am so in love with Danielle Laporte's Desire Map. Every single evening I write in preparation for my day ahead. Sure I have an online schedule, but this hand written schedule with space to reflect, prompts for my soul purpose and things I want to shift, is such a joy. When I wake up, I line myself up with the day and expand my thoughts. 
  • Limiting the to-do list. Seriously, the mile long to do list? Are you ever going to get it done? I prided myself on being a powerhouse for years and never got it done. The list is constantly, evolving and expanding and so are you. Each day I ask myself, what needs my energy today for the expansion I seek within me? This fuels my short and sweet to do list.
  • Being okay with being in process. I still have hundreds of ideas floating around, some will become, some won't, but I've found that checking in with myself and allowing the ideas that are meant to expand to expand makes me excited to share, write, and release them.
  • Dropping the concept of perfection. Everything is perfect, just the way it is. There's no really end or beginning, science allows only transformation. I'm working toward becoming more and more okay with the idea of asking when something is ready. When it's ready, even if I still want to fix and correct and adjust, I stop myself. Creation is telling me its time for expansion and time for release. It was never about how others perceived it, but rather the process of creating it. Therefore, it comes down to me, seeing the perspective of highest self, rather than ego and being with it. 
  • Finally BEING, being, not doing, at least 30% of the time. 

So, what does this have to do with getting healthy? Well, if health is the integration of our mind, body, spirit and emotion, we must consider that our mind and our emotions need nourishments just as much as our physical body. Asking our mind to work overtime for all these years isn't cool! Finding a way to let the mind serve us as it's meant to rather than through the overstimulated environment we produced is healing. With a little patience, some release work and the idea of facing oneself, we can improve the health of our mind and our being.