Following on from his experience with at-home allergy testing, our grooming expert Thomas Swallow continues on his wellness journey. In this edition of Tom Tries It, it’s all about rebalancing yourself from within. Read on to find out about his experience with Five Element Acupuncture.

Carry on reading below, to hear about Tom’s experience having Five Element Acupuncture. Missed any of the other instalments in this series? Click here to find out about Tom’s previous adventures, where he decodes the enigma of male grooming.

To get things started, I just wanted to thank the entire team at the Kite Clinic and my amazing acupuncturist Johnny Childs for making this feature possible. If Five Element Acupuncture is something that interests you after reading this article, I couldn’t recommend Johnny more. Apart from the fact that the knowledge held by the Kite Clinic team is unparalleled in their field. Johnny’s empathetic and caring approach to each of his clients helps deliver an effective and tailored treatment plan, that really does make a difference in his client’s lives.


So what is Five Element Acupuncture?

Five Element Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of acupuncture, that originated from China. However, due to its perceived elitist nature by Chinese officials, it is now banned within the country. A few practitioners of this ancient art thankfully escaped communist China into Taiwan and other eastern countries to continue the tradition. Gerad Kite (the founder of the Kite Clinic) learnt the art from his Master teacher, JR Worsley – a practitioner from the UK that travelled to the East in the early ’50s and learnt this ancient tradition from two Chinese Masters. Gerad established his own clinic in London in the ’90s. Johnny Childs is one of Gerad’s mentees and is now his right-hand man within the clinic. Safe to say we were in safe hands for this feature.

What makes Five Element Acupuncture different from other forms of acupuncture is that it is not based on the alleviation of symptoms. Practitioners of Five Element Acupuncture do not adopt a symptomatic approach to treating their patients. Instead, these practitioners focus on restoring the balance of the five elements that produce and maintain every part of us. This includes our internal organs and all our physical and mental activities. This approach is rooted in the belief that all things are made of energies derived from the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal. By understanding ourselves as human beings are no different and we are part of nature. We can then look into which of these energies is the cause of imbalances within our bodies and begin the process of restoring this balance. As this balance is restored, there is a knock-on effect for all other elements within this body and a general rebalancing and improvement in health is the outcome. 

How can they tell which element is imbalanced?

When determining which element is imbalanced within our bodies, Johnny explained to me that although clients may be experiencing symptoms of ill health. These symptoms are simply an alarm bell from the body, telling us something has gone wrong. Instead, Johnny focuses on the distress presented by our bodies. They do not tell us the cause! Instead, Johnny focuses on the distress call coming from the causal element which presents as a distinct colour in the face, a particular sound in the voice, an odour emitted from the body and an inappropriate emotion.

Initial Treatment:

On the day of my initial treatment, Johnny sat me down and discussed with me the physical, emotional and mental characteristics that I was wanting to change about myself. He explained to me that this initial discussion and getting to know his client’s wants and needs was essential in establishing an effective treatment plan. Apart from helping him get to know his client’s better, it gave him the chance to see the distress signals our bodies display subconsciously.

Following this initial discussion, he then went on to check my pulse before asking me to sit in a slouched position on his treatment table. Whilst in this position, he went to mark out points on my back that corresponded to organs with an aspect of fulfilment (for example our lungs and the taking in of air/oxygen). Once these marks were outlined on my back, Johnny told me he was going to insert needles to just break my skin at these points. All of which was painless I assure you. He explained to me, that by doing this step he could see which of my organs were housing ‘stagnant’ energies. These negative energies embody themselves in a reaction around the impact site of the needle. At this stage, Johnny also placed needles at random points within my back to test for a skin reaction and in doing so, ruled out the chance of false positives. He then left the needles in for 5 minutes, which passed like a dream with Johnny’s charming company. Following this 5 minute window, he went to check if any reactions had taken place. If no reaction would have occurred, he would have simply removed the needles and we would have gone on to the next stage of treatment. However in cases where a reaction does occur, which for me was at the site of the point corresponding to my right lung. Johnny explained to me that we needed to leave the needles in for longer, in order to drain off the ‘stagnant’ energy attached to that organ. Although this took quite a while, Johnny kept showing me the progress through pictures he’d taken on his phone. It was really astonishing to see this reaction happen and then dissipate as the needles drained out the energy.

Now, this energy was drained and a viable canvas created for treatment with no stagnant energies left to block it, we then went on to the next step. Johnny asked me to lay down on the table, where he checked my pulse once again and then marked out 4 acupuncture points on my body. Two on my hand, one on my arm and even one of my face, he then mirrored these points on the other side of my body. The sensation of the needles activating these points is hard to explain. There’s no pain whatsoever when the needle makes contact with the acupuncture point there is what I can only describe as a release of energy. You’ll definitely know when he hits it and at this point, he rotates the needle 180 degrees and pulls it out. Repeating if necessary to relieve all pressure at each point outlined. He explained to me following this, that he had made an initial assessment of the element he believed was imbalanced within my body and that was the start of treatment for said element. Johnny assured me that he would reveal all soon but for now, he wanted to see how my body reacted to the treatment. As our initial treatment day ended, he asked me to do a bit of homework and write a diary each day for the next week. Just noting down how I was feeling and any changes ‘good or bad’ I noticed in myself. 

Acupuncture diary: Week 1:

So my first week following treatment was a bit of a rollercoaster both emotionally and physically. A rash appeared on my hands and arms and then to top it off, I ended up having sinusitis from out of the blue. This ended up having to go to my GP for antibiotics. Mentally I was just unfocused and felt generally quite tired and down. By the end of the week though, I was pretty much back to full health physically and I was feeling a lot more focused and driven. There was also a greater sense of perspective I had on the true importance of things in my day to day life. Which at the time was a great relief, I definitely had a habit of overthinking things. The only symptom still persevering was the rash on my hands and arms.

Treatment 2:

One week later and I was back with the handsome Mr Childs for the second round of treatment. We started by checking my pulse once again and Johnny enlightened me to the knowledge, that the different pulse also represented different organs within our bodies. So by checking it on a regular basis, he could see if the treatment we were doing was having a positive impact. He then went on to check the point on my back corresponding to my right lung once again. After it had displayed such a large amount of stagnant energy last week, he wanted to make sure it had cleared and sure enough, this time there was no reaction.

We then went on to discuss my acupuncture diary for the week and he didn’t seem surprised by my experiences. He went on to explain to me, that he had diagnosed me with an imbalance in my metal element. This element is linked to the lungs, our skin (the third lung) and our colon and is associated with the emotion of grief. All tying in to taking things in and letting them go. Johnny explained further that in contrast to the imbalance in my metal element, my strongest element was my earth element and the course of treatment today, was intended to give energy from the earth element to support my metal element.

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To do this Johnny marked 5 acupuncture points on the left side of my body, four in my arm and one in my collar bone. He explained energy starts in the left side of our bodies and ends at the right and so by focusing on the left side, he was hoping to promote the flow of energy in my body to my lungs and colon.

After he had activated all 5 points, Johnny asked me to again keep a diary for the following week and focus on the rash on my hands and arms. He assured me this should dissipate by the end of the week and outlined how the rash only appeared along the metal energy line of my arm.

Acupuncture diary: Week 2:

The week following my second treatment was a complete contrast to the first week. There was no downside to this week. Physically I felt great and even ended up smashing a few personal bests in the gym. Also, my rash did as Johnny said and dissipated as the week went on. Mentally I felt focused and I just stopped overthinking. The usual work stresses didn’t bother me anymore and I just felt happier in myself. I did actually feel like a different person compared to the previous week.

Final treatment:

Again one week later and I was back in Johnny’s treatment room for my final treatment. We started as usual by checking my pulse, that he confirmed had gotten stronger for my lungs and colon. Due to this and my general sense of wellbeing in comparison to our initial consultation, Johnny explained that he believed his diagnosis was correct and we were now on the right path to ensuring balance within my body.

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Johnny then went on to explain that following these initial steps of treatment, it was all about maintaining what we had achieved and keeping strength in my metal element. For this, he advised that we activate 5 more points today, in order to promote the flow of energy once more and then to meet around 3 times a year, in order to maintain this balance.

Final thoughts:

It’s been about half a year now since myself and Johnny last had a session together and I’m still feeling the benefits of the time I spent with him. I have held onto a generally more positive attitude throughout the past months and have felt more focused and determined in my day to day life. Physically I have felt more energetic and thankfully the skin issues I experienced at the time of treatment haven’t come back.

I really couldn’t make a single bad point from my experience trying Five Element Acupuncture with Johnny and I genuinely believe more people should explore this form of treatment. The benefits can be truly extraordinary and with minimal maintenance, I think the initial cost of treatment is more than worth it.

If you would like to find out more about Five Element Acupuncture or arrange a consultation with Johnny, please find his Instagram linked below. He’s not too bad to look at either!


About the author: ThomasSwallow
If Carrie Bradshaw lived in London and had a penis, she'd be a pretty close match to myself. Twenty-something journalist making far too many mistakes in love and with a passion for grooming, fitness and fashion.