So I thought for my first blog I will sit down and give each of you a bit of insight into the workings of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I will try to keep it as basic as possible so not to lose anyone in the Chinese philosophy behind this ancient healing method. However along the way there will be areas that need to be explained using some of the correct terminology before I can then simplify it using real world examples, so I apologise in advance if at any stage it gets a little muddy.
Ancient Chinese therapists believed each person to have a system within that enables its vital energy, or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), to move throughout the entire body. This system is made up of twelve main meridians (channels) as well as two extra meridians (there is in fact eight extra meridians, but the other six are linkages within the twelve main meridians). Each of the twelve main meridians has a direct link to each of our major organs and is therefore named accordingly, for example the Lung meridian, Stomach meridian, and so on. One of the twelve main meridians is however named after a separate system called the San Jiao meridian, otherwise known as the Triple Energiser or Three Heater meridian. The San Jiao Meridian is said to connect the three Jiao of the body, being the upper, middle and lower jiao. This is relating to the functions of your organs and the connection between them in order to carry out the digestion, absorption, distribution and excretion of water and food. The upper jiao is made up of the heart and lungs, and controls the functions of dispersion and distribution (like their functions of providing blood and oxygen to the skin, muscles, tendons and bones). The middle jiao consists of the spleen and stomach, controlling the digestion of water and food. The lower jiao includes the kidneys, bladder and intestines, controlling the functions of separating the good from the bad and then excreting the waste. Each of the meridians connects to another, allowing the smooth flow of qi throughout your entire body. Qi is like a carrier of nourishment, providing the organs, skin, muscles, tendons and bones with all they need in order to function at their full potential. Think of it like the many river systems that run throughout the land, each of the rivers represents a meridian, and the water that flows through it being the qi that brings life and nourishment to humans, animals and plant life throughout.
As a qualified acupuncturist, it is my job to then correct the flow of qi throughout the body when it becomes blocked, deficient or excess. It is when these complications occur that your body begins to show signs of ill health and unbalance. Again using the example of river systems, what do you think happens if a dam is placed at a certain point within one of the rivers? Basically you end up with a blockage in the river causing a lack of water flow beyond this point. The areas located after this dam therefore become deprived of the nourishment they need to sustain life. In terms of qi and the body, this means that the organs, skin, muscles, tendons and bones located after the blockage will be missing out on the vital energy and life they need to continue functioning at their full potential and keep your body balanced and in harmony. There can also be problems with the areas of the body prior to the blockage, caused by an excess syndrome. For example, if there is a blockage that is associated with the digestive systems energy, this can cause your digestion to become sluggish and retain food and fluids for much longer than it usually would. This could lead to signs such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and so on.
Through the use of acupuncture techniques at certain points along the meridians related to persons illness, I am able to assist the body in trying to correct the flow of qi to remove the blockages, restore energy to the areas that have been deficient and calm those areas that have been in excess. As an acupuncturist I not only look to help with a persons presenting signs and symptoms, but rather search deeper, looking to find the root cause of their problem so to help in preventing future recurrences.
The modality of acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine looks not at a person simply as a physical being, but takes into account your physical, mental and emotional state when diagnosing and treating. This is known as a holistic approach, and in my opinion, it is one with much merit. It is not always something physical that causes someone ill health and trouble, as your mental and emotional state can affect your health just as much. Which brings me to remind you about the list of disorders in which acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine can be of assistance (at the end of my previous post, “The Beginning of Good Health”), helping not only with physical conditions, but also those related to your mental and emotional state.
So if you think that acupuncture might just be the thing that can help you, why not give it a try, as it may make life that little bit easier.