Completion of Eight Constitutions Acupuncture

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Middle Elements and Alternate Five-Element Gives A Comprehensive Understanding

By David Lee, L.Ac.

In Eight Constitutions Acupuncture (ECA), the middle organ (element) was considered neutral, neither at an excess nor a deficient state. Therefore, ECA did not select it as an acupuncture point for stimulation.

However, the middle element was clinically verified as being either excess or deficient. By tonifying or sedating this middle element using Saam Four Needle Technique (SAAM), there was a marked improvement in diseases.


Table 1 below displays the five-element layout according to ECA:

Taeyangins are rare. Consequently, they were not tested for their middle element states.

Table 2 below displays the middle elements clinically verified as either excess or deficient:

Table 3 below displays the SAAM used to verify the element states using Yin and Yang meridians. These acupuncture points apply to 70% of the population:

Perhaps the reason Dr. Dowon Kuon’s eight and Dr. Jema Lee’s four constitutions were not unified was the lack of significant data. It may be that the other 30% of the population had to be accounted for in addition to the 70% in Table 3. In this way, there is a higher statistical relevancy to the SAAM in accordance with the Eight and Sasang constitutions.

This other 30% of the population has an alternate five-element layout. DongWoong Lee, a Korean scholar in 2000, proposed that the Yin and Yang meridians can have both types of five-element sequences. For example, a Large Intestine meridian can be LI1 Metal, LI2 Water, LI3 Wood, LI5 Fire, LI11 Earth. Alternatively, a Liver meridian can be LR1 Metal, LR2 Water, LR3 Wood, LR4 Fire, and LR8 Earth. This new pattern holds correct with other Yang and Yin meridians.   

Table 4 below displays the SAAM used to verify the element states using Yin and Yang meridians. These acupuncture points apply to 30% of the population:

These excess and deficient states of the middle elements correlated with both Sasang diagnosis and herbal medicine.   

Table 5 displays the interchangeable names of the eight and four constitutions:

For example, an Earth Yang as a Taeeumin did well with Sasang formulas Ge Gen Jie Ji Tang 갈근해기탕 and Tai Yin Tiao Wei Tang 태음조위탕. SAAM in sedating the Wood, Fire, and Earth meridians and tonifying each of the Metal and Water meridians relieved diseases.

The same acupuncture and herbal medicine pattern also worked well for Soeumin 1, Soeumin 2, and Soyangin constitutions.

Using the middle elements and alternate five-element layout gives a comprehensive understanding of the five-element states. Sasang herbal medicine confirms the diagnosis. As a result, the unification of acupuncture and herbal medicine is accomplished.