The Water Element and Acupuncture

The Water Element and Acupuncture


The Water Element is associated with Winter in the Traditional Five Element System.

Water is the most yin of all the five elements. In the tradition of Five Element Acupuncture the organ systems associated with Water are the Kidneys and Bladder, which rule water metabolism and maintain homeostasis, a dynamic function in continual rebalancing.

The earth’s surface is approximately 75% water, and water makes up about 60% of our adult body weight, yet it has no shape, taking the form given to it by its container. It is mutable and can become solid as ice or manifest only as vapor. The most yielding of all the elements, it will break down even the hardest rock over time and find the path of least resistance to move around any obstacle.

As we age, we lose water, and our bodies begin to dry out. This in women is enhanced in peri – menopause and menopause. Our bones and hair become more brittle, our skin loses its elasticity, our minds may lose their accustomed flexibility. While acknowledging these changes, traditional five element acupuncture gives us numerous mental, physical, and nutritional tools to help slow and steady the progression of the apparently inevitable by offering ways to extend and enhance the water reserves within us.


Fear is the emotion associated with the Water Element. In a healthy way, fear is an emotion that moves and directs us to remain alert and attentive to our surroundings and situation. When confronted with danger, constructive fear can guide us with a message of caution and restraint and fill us with a sense of readiness and courage to face whatever situation might present itself.

When Water is out of balance, fear becomes an obstacle to movement. It might manifest as chronic anxiety or as an intense phobia, but in either case it often signifies a deficiency in the Water energy and a corresponding lack of grounding, causing the energy to be trapped in the chest. Physiologically, fear increases adrenalin production, which accelerates the heart rate; we begin to perspire, our muscles tighten, and we hold our breaths. These physical reactions feed our fear and create a vicious cycle: Traditional five element acupuncture says that excess fear injures the Kidney energy while a dysfunction in the Kidney energy, in turn, further increases our fear.

Symptoms Associated With Imbalances in Water

  •  Lower back pain—chronic or acute
  • Knee pain and weakness
  • Problems with urinary retention
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Sexual problems, including lack of excitement, premature ejaculation, vaginal dryness
  • Inability to conceive or sustain a pregnancy
  • Anxiety and excessive fear
  • High blood pressure and/or occipital headaches
  • Inflexibility and resistance to change

We are all made up of all the Five Elements, though we all have one element that is our ‘Causative Factor’ or our ‘Gaudian Element’. If you recognise some of the above signs your Gaudian element may be Water. Traditional Five Element Acupuncture could help you overcome these barriers to your health and wellbeing. 

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