About Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine has been practiced for nearly 5000 years, which makes it one of the oldest forms of medicine. It originates with the Taoists in China. By observing nature, they became aware of certain laws of nature. They came to realize these same laws, from the external environment, apply to our internal landscape, which is our internal health.
In all forms of Chinese medicine we are working with "chi/qi" (pronounced "chee"), the life-force energy of the body. This energy flows throughout the entire body. Just as we have nerve pathways, a lympathic system, and a network of blood vessels, we also have meridians - a system of energy channels. It is through these pathways that the chi flows, reaching deep within the different organs and superficially to the skin. There are twelve primary meridians: Heart, Small Intestine, Bladder, Kidney, Heart Protector*, Triple Heater*, Gallbladder, Liver, Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, and Spleen.
In Chinese medicine, we often speak of balance. We work to increase deficient chi, release excess chi, and unblock stagnation. One of the basic principles of Chinese medicine is the idea that there is no beginning nor end. One meridian leads to the next. The end of the last meridian connects back to the first. Allowing this energy to continually circulate allows the vital energy to nourish all parts of our being. If the chi is obstructed, pain and/or disease results. By working with the different modalities of Chinese medicine, we help a person to re-establish equilibrium.
* Heart Protector and Triple Heater are very Chinese concepts and require more space to explain than is available here. If you are curious I would be pleased to explain them further.
Classical Five Element Acupuncture
Five element theory has its roots in the earliest recorded teachings. Classical Five Element Acupuncture (CFEA), a lineage form of education, is traditionally taught master to apprentice. I was fortunate to have studied with JR Worsley, a world-renown authority on Classical Five Element Acupuncture, up until his death in 2003.
In CFEA a practitioner takes into account a patient's body, mind and spirit when determining the course of treatment. In this current age, a person's health is rarely dependent upon not being sheltered from the rain and wind or not having enough food to eat. Often it's the stress of life, not external conditions that are causing dis-ease. This stress can often show up first on the spirit level. Therefore, the fact that a person cries easily or easily angers is just as important as the fact that he or she has a migraine or is experiencing constipation.
The five elements being balanced are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Just as elements arrive at balance in the external world, so too is it with our internal world. …water puts out fire, fire turns water to steam, metal chops wood, wood feeds fire, earth holds water…
Each element has a corresponding organ systems. The term "system" is used because an organ is far greater than its physical mass. Its influence includes the entire length of its pathway as well as attributes specific to each. Fire includes Heart, Small Intestine, Heart Protector and Triple Heater. Earth consists of Spleen and Stomach; Metal is Lung and Large Intestine, Water is Kidney and Bladder, and Wood is Liver and Gallbladder. The five elements must be in balance in order for a person to be healthy of body and mind. For example, if a person has too much fire, they might experience fever, constipation, and/or agitation. Just as easily however this might be due to not having enough water to control the fire. Therefore, it is clear that a simple list of symptoms can be misleading. Once an appropriate diagnosis is determined, the five elements can be balanced and a person's health restored on all levels: body, mind and spirit.