1 Short description of the book:
The DAO of ACUPRESSURE
Dr. med. Achim Eckert
The psychosomatic qualities of acupuncture points
352 pages, 80 drawings, 66 of them coloured
Medizinverlage Stuttgart, Germany
Third Edition, ISBN 3-7760-1528-4, Euro 79,80
The Dao of Acupressure and Acupuncture represents a new step in the literature on acupuncture and acupressure. So far, the indications of the points have been mostly confined to illnesses and disorders. In this book the emphasis is on the positive effects of the points: to maintain health and vitality, to maintain emotional balance and to enhance mental capacities and spiritual power. Especially the energetic, emotional and psychic effects of the individual points are described in detail for both acupuncture and acupressure. In connection with traditional medical indications, this book offers a broad and colourful picture of the psychosomatic foundation of common illnesses and dis-eases. Thus, this manual, for the first time, contains a key of how Chinese Medicine can be an important contribution to modern psychotherapy. It is to be hoped that it will be soon recognized that acupressure and acupuncture are capable of being an important tool in healing the cleft between body, mind and soul, and that acupressure and acupuncture will be integrated into psychotherapeutic methods to a much larger extent than it has been done so far.
The emotional and psychic indications of the various acupuncture points can be seen as a map of mind and soul on the surface of the body. Thus, this book contains a lot of information that is not only useful for acupuncturists and for Shiatsu practitioners, but also for all kind of body workers, doctors and physiotherapists.
The reader finds an exact description of the 361 classical acupuncture points. There is also an appendix of the 25 most widely used extra points. The Chinese names of the points have been translated anew with most accuracy. The drawings show, besides the internal courses of the meridians, the external courses on the surface of the body as well as in their anatomical setting: much care was spent on showing the exact anatomical location of each point. Also, the drawings can be looked upon from an aesthetic as well as diagnostic point of view: they show men and women who represent characteristics of the corresponding organ and element.
The Dao of Acupressure and Acupuncture is a lively and comprehensive manual of acupuncture and acupressure. The description of the points has a poetic quality that reflects the spirit and the depths of the Tao.
The copyright for the translation into foreign languages is held by:
Dr. Achim Eckert
Josefstädter Straße 43/1/25, A-1080 Vienna, Austria
Phone: 0043 / 1 / 405 23 28
homepage: www.taotraining.at, e-mail: email@example.com
2 Table of contents:
THE DÀO OF ACUPRESSURE
PHYSICAL FUNCTIONS OF
ALL THE CLASSICAL POINTS
By Achim Eckert, M.D.
(published in German by Medizinverlage Stuttgart, fourth edition 2009)
1 The Dào of Medicine
The seven steps of healing
2 Organs and Meridians
2.1 The Chinese concept of the organs
2.2 The Meridian System
2.3 Feeling the points
2.4 The meridians as energy ways
2.5 The Twelve Zàng and F˘u
2.6 Jing – Luò: the Meridian System in an overview
2.7 The organ clock and the big energy circuit
3 Xué Wei: Acupressure and Acupuncture Points
3.1 The categories of the points
3.1.1 The points on the meridians and the extra points
3.1.2 Á Shì Xué - painful points
3.1.3 The categories of the points on the meridians
126.96.36.199 Yuán Xué or source points
188.8.131.52 Luò Xué or connecting points
184.108.40.206 Mù Xué or gathering points
220.127.116.11 Shu Xué or conducting points of Qì
18.104.22.168. Shu Xué or command points of the elements
22.214.171.124.1. Jing Xué or well points
126.96.36.199.2. Yíng Xué or spring points
188.8.131.52.3. Shu Xué or stream points
184.108.40.206.4. Jing Xué or river points
220.127.116.11.5. Hé Xué or sea points
18.104.22.168.6. Tonifying points
22.214.171.124.7. Sedating points
126.96.36.199.8 Horary points
188.8.131.52. Xì or cleft points
184.108.40.206. Jiao Huì Xué or junction points
220.127.116.11. Ba huì xué - the master points of the Eight Organ Systems and Tissues
18.104.22.168. Ba Mài Jiao Huì Xué - the master points of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels
22.214.171.124 The master points of the Eight Regions
126.96.36.199 Tian Chuang Xué - the Windows to the Sky
4 Finding the Points
4.1. The body measurement or cun
5 Meridian Massage and Acupressure
5.1. Forms of acupressure
5.2. Therapeutic possibilities of acupressure
6.1. Direct moxibustion
6.2. Indirect moxibustion
7.1. Therapeutic possibilities of acupuncture
7.2. Acupuncture according to the Five Elements
8. The Twelve Organ Meridians
8.1. The Gall Bladder Meridian
8.1.1 External course
8.1.2 Internal course
8.1.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.1.4. The main points
8.1.5. Index of the points
8.1.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Gall Bladder Function
8.1.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Gall Bladder Meridian
8.2. The Liver Meridian
8.2.1 External course
8.2.2 Internal course
8.2.3 Massage and acupuncture
8.2.4 The main points
8.2.5. Index of the points
8.2.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Liver Function
8.2.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Liver Meridian
8.2.8. The Wood type
8.3. The Lung Meridian
8.3.1. Internal course
8.3.2. External course
8.3.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.3.4. The main points
8.3.5. Index of the points
8.3.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Lung Function
8.3.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Lung Meridian
8.3.8. The Metal type
8.4. The Large Intestine Meridian
8.4.1. External course
8.4.2 Internal course
8.4.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.4.4. The main points
8.4.5. Index of the points
8.4.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Large Intestine Function
8.4.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Large Intestine Meridian
8.5. The Stomach Meridian
8.5.1. External course
8.5.2 Internal course
8.5.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.5.4. The main points
8.5.5. Index of the points
8.5.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Stomach Function
8.5.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Stomach Meridian
8.6. The Spleen Pancreas Meridian
8.6.1. External course
8.6.2. Internal course
8.6.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.6.4. The main points
8.6.5. Index of the points
8.6.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Spleen-Pancreas Function
8.6.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Spleen-Pancreas Meridian
8.6.8. The Earth type
8.7. The Heart Meridian
8.7.1. Internal course
8.7.2. External course
8.7.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.7.4. The main points
8.7.5. Index of the points
8.7.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Heart Function
8.7.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Heart Meridian
8.7.8. The Fire type of the Conscious Heart
8.8. The Small Intestine Meridian
8.8.1. External course
8.8.2. Internal course
8.8.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.8.4. The main points
8.8.5. Index of the points
8.8.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Small Intestine Function
8.8.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Small Intestine Meridian
8.9. The Bladder Meridian
8.9.1. External course
8.9.2. Internal course
8.9.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.9.4. The main points
8.9.5. Index of the points
8.9.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Bladder Function
8.9.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Bladder Meridian
8.10. The Kidney Meridian
8.10.1. External course
8.10.2. Internal course
8.10.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.10.4. The main points
8.10.5. Index of the points
8.10.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Kidney Function
8.10.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Kidney Meridian
8.10.8. The Water type
8.11. The Heart Cover Meridian
8.11.1. Internal course
8.11.2. External course
8.11.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.11.4. The main points
8.11.5. Index of the points
8.11.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Heart Cover Function
8.11.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Heart Cover Meridian
8.11.8. The Fire type of the Loving Heart
8.12. The Sanjiao Meridian
8.12.1. External course
8.12.2. Internal course
8.12.3. Massage and acupuncture
8.12.4. The main points
8.12.5. Index of the points
8.12.6. Diagnostic criteria of the Sanjiao Function
8.12.7. Diagnostic criteria of the Sanjiao Meridian
9. The Great Rivers Du Mài and Ren Mài
9.1. The Great River Du Mài
9.1.1 Internal course
9.1.2 External course
9.1.3 Massage and acupuncture
9.1.4. The main points
9.1.5. Index of the points
9.2. The Great River Rèn Mài
9.2.1. Internal course
9.2.2 External course
9.2.3. Massage and acupuncture
9.2.4. The main points
9.2.5. Index of the points
10. Extra Points
11. Anatomical Overview
Index of Frequent Complaints and Diseases and the Points Commonly Used to Treat Them
It is a matter of concern to me that in a book about acupuncture and acupressure the positive, revitalizing effects of the points come first. In my estimation it is insufficient to define acupuncture and acupressure solely in terms of illness. I find it important to emphasize the fact that meridian massage, acupressure, moxibustion and acupuncture, as well as physical exercises which stimùlate the flow of Qì in the meridians, are remarkable tools for the maintenance and f˘urthering of our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. To the general public it is known that acupressure and acupuncture ease our symptoms and cure some of our illnesses, but it is also important to recognize that they both are capable of preserving our health, providing us with moments of deep relaxation and happiness, and helping us to discover various parts of ourselves which are normally hidden from our conscious life. Consequently, this book, on the one hand, contains information on the symptoms and diseases that can be bettered or cured by patterns of specific points, but, on the other hand, emphasizes the positive effects, the wellness aspect of acupressure and acupuncture, especially on the emotional, mental and metaphysical levels.
The teachings of the Five Elements and energetics of the organs, meridians and their points are concepts which have been empirically substantiated for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese teachings understand the human being as part of the natural elements - and not as ruler of nature, as well as a unity of soul, body and mind - and not divided into body and soul. As the meridian system is a bioenergetic reality that interacts with both body and mind, acupressure and acupuncture are therefore methods that are capable of healing the dichotomy between body and mind - and between allopathic medicine and psychology. The split between body and mind in occidental culture seems to be the foundation of „civilisation and its discontents.“
The cited passages in the descriptions of the individual points offer perceptions from people who have a heightened body and mind awareness, either by natural talent or acquired by the practice of meditation and bodywork training. I formed two research groups consisting of people who are sensitive to subtle energies and re-tested all the classical acupuncture points over a period of two years. As the experimentees did not know about the points that were to be tested beforehand or about the meridian system at all, I was able to avoid results influenced by preconceived ideas about the points. The individual images and feelings described show the range of possible effects that the respective points can have, as well as depict the domain of activity more colourf˘ully and with more depth of field. The emotional and psychological indications are thought of as a guide to the discovery of our inner world. They are to be understood as a map whose purpose is to illustrate the relationship between the surface of the body and the depths of the emotional, mental and metaphysical dimensions of the human being.
The map is not reality itself, and, as scientific research in this area is only beginning, it cannot claim to be any more accurate than the nautical charts of the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. It is hoped that this work will encourage other researchers to draw more accurate guides to the relationship between acupuncture points and the imagistic world of the soul.
The degree to which someone feels an effect of the various acupuncture points in the emotional, intellectual and spiritual realms depends on the person’s powers of perception and sensitivity. An individual´s perceptional capacity can, by means of meditation, sensory awareness and a number of body-oriented therapies, be trained and developed to the point that the relation of the acupuncture point to the emotional core of the personality as well as to the imaginary and archetypal layers of the soul can be experienced.
The noted psychological effects of the individual points can help us to better understand the emotional and mental background of many illnesses and disorders. As a result, we can better discern the subtle variations in the individual form of a symptom or a disease which gives us a new tool for differential diagnosis and, thus, widen our possibilities for treatment. When an acupuncture point is painf˘ul under slight pressure, this book allows us to better understand the emotional causes and psychological qualities of the existing symptoms. To give an example: forty to fifty points are generally used to treat menstrual disorders. In treatment, the descriptions of the emotional and psychological effects of the points, along with thorough knowledge of the patient, can help to select those points which are in accord with the patient’s personal history and which best correspond to his or her individual character.
Vienna, January 1996
1 The Dào of Medicine
If one comprehends the process of healing as becoming whole again, it is clear that this process occurs largely as a result of coincidence - a fortuitous combination of the various aspects and dimensions of human existence. As a healer and doctor, you soon become aware of how mùch you do not understand of the complexity of life. Before attaining this insight, however, you perhaps only vaguely sense, every now and then, that healing also depends to a great extent on something inexpressible and numinous.
The more primary a healing system is, the more its methods involve the presence of the numinous. The Chinese call it the Dào: ”the nameless” or „the way.“ In former times, the more aboriginal a medical system was, the more numerous were the duties which a healer had to f˘ulfill in order to meet the demands of a little specialized and less civilized world.
The care and treatment of the ill was not the main concern of the barefoot doctors in ancient China. Their main duty was preventive medicine. If they gave bad counsel or began treatment only after the person was already ill, their payment was withheld. In some cases the healers were even cursed at and shamed out of the village. It is understandable, therefore, that they had the greatest possible interest in the well-being of their patients.
In this manner, as early as two to three thousand years ago, a medical system was developed which included all areas of healing, from nutrition to prayer and meditation, from psychiatry to internal medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine was and still is holistic medicine in the purest sense of the word, because the Chinese world view does not know a separation of body and soul and therefore always treats physical, emotional and mental symptoms together - as symptoms of a disturbed equilibrium of the elemental forces at work within us.
1.1 The seven steps of healing
Traditional Daoist medicine distinguishes between seven levels of healing, each of descending levels of importance. The spirit plays a superior role. Religiousness, in the sense of the Latin word „religio,“ which means connection to the root or to the origin, was viewed as the highest and most important level of Daoist healing. One of the most important tasks of the healer was and is to help the patient find a way to his or her inner world, to find an access to religiousness and spirituality which includes knowledge of the meaning of life, illness and death. In almost all primitive cultures the medicine man or shaman has this Function.
In the language of Daoism this level is called the contemplation of the Dào. Meditation is the tool that provides insight into the nature of the Dào.
The completion of an inner or outer ritual is not essential for meditation in the Daoist sense. Here, meditation means opening yourself to life in all its apparent contradictions, flowing with the continually changing, pleasant or unpleasant events in life. Someone who meditates in the Daoist sense does not use mantras or prayers to attain an ideal state which differs from the reality of everyday life. Daoist meditation does not mean striving toward a valium-like state of piety. Meditation is not the exclusion of the world or your own personality conflicts in order to attain an illusion of wholeness, peace and harmony.
Immersion in the Daoist sense means diving into things as they are, without wanting to change them, without resistance to what they are. This, however, does not mean that you are released from your social and political responsibilities. Meditation means learning to act without losing yourself in these actions.
The wise meditate on doing nothing
And teach without words. They observe how
All things burst into life
Give birth without wanting to possess;
Act without placing demands;
F˘ulfill duties without dwelling there.
No dwelling, no loss.
L˘ao Z˘i, Dào Dé Jing
In contrast to the Daoist view, Western medicine separates religiousness and spirituality from the natural sciences. The intensive care units of our hospitals are an excellent example of how high-tech medicine tries, in some cases almost cruelly, to "swim against the current of life and death" and to force healing under any circumstances - without consideration for human dignity and integrity. Following the Dào, however, means surrendering to the flow of things which are larger than yourself and wiser than your reasoning.
Following the Dào means diving into the stream in which healing can happen - or also not happen, in which the non-healing of the body can lead to the healing of the soul. Following the Dào means trusting your inner voice, letting go of the desire to rationally understand every detail of life and, thus, relinquishing constant control.
The second level of Daoist healing is conscious breathing. Breathing links the different levels of existence within us, even if we are not aware of it. It not only keeps us physically alive, but is also a constituent of the way we think and feel. The various feelings, emotions, mental states and behavioural patterns can only exist in connection with corresponding respiratory patterns: with a particular quality, a specific rhythm, a specific depth and a particular frequency. Try to be hysterically anxious, while inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply through your open mouth. It will not work. As thoughts and feelings are so closely linked to our breathing, it is natural to conclude that by changing our respiratory pattern we can influence our feelings and thoughts. Thus we can utilize the relationship between emotions and breathing either to bring frantic and extreme thoughts and feelings under control, or, on the other hand, to release emotions which have long been suppressed which now cause weariness, depression and various diseases. This is significant, as traditional Chinese medicine is essentially psychosomatic - the Chinese do not recognize a cleavage between body and soul. In Chinese medicine the treatment of a physical disease generally includes some psychological counseling or advice, because, as I mentioned before, the Daoist world view considers physical, emotional and mental symptoms and illnesses as originating from the same source, namely a disturbed equilibrium of the elemental forces. Therefore, to really understand Chinese medicine, you need to grasp the theory of the Five Elements.
The teaching of the Five Elements distinguishes between five major emotions which need to be more or less equal in strength to form a healthy and vital personality. If these five major emotional forces are balanced within us, the immùne system will be healthy and body and soul will be in harmony. The five major emotions of the elements are:
The element Wood - self-assertiveness and anger
The element Fire - joy and love
The element Earth - sympathy and concern
The element Metal - withdrawal and grief
The element Water - fear, awe and sexuality
The teaching of the Five Elements also names the organs and tissues which become chronically damaged and eventally sicken as a result of the weakening or repression of a major emotion.
Daoist medicine views the five emotions as elemental forces which are equally important for our health and well-being. This makes Chinese medicine a revolutionary method for us because our culture only acknowledges ”positive” feelings and impulses; feelings like empathy, gentleness, love and romance are highly respected and idealized, whereas, already as children, we have been taught not to cry or to be afraid and that anger and sex are basically bad. As Western culture attributes very different values to the five major emotions, many forms of suffering, neuroses and illnesses are continually being created. The moral condemnation of anger, for example has led to an exaggeration of the Wood element in our culture. It has created military super powers, criminal violence and the pervasiveness of blood and mùrder on TV. The moral condemnation of sex also caused the opposite: an obsession with sex in the mass media and marketing and a flourishing porno industry.
The third level of healing is movement. Inner movement means the movement of Qì - the Chinese term for life force - in the meridians through breathing and imagination. Outer movement stimùlates the energy flow in the body as well. Tài Jí, Aikido, Gong F˘u and related martial arts are important in the prevention of illnesses which result from lack of movement, being overweight and a weak or impeded energy flow.
The fourth level of healing is proper nutrition. In the Daoist sense this means nourishment according to the laws of the Five Elements. The individual nutrients and spices are distinguished according to which element - in addition to a general Yin or Yáng effect - they tend to empower or subdue. Included in this level are the internal and external application of herbal extracts and essences and, more recently, the application of allopathic medicines, which often combine well with Daoist medical procedures.
The fifth level consists of massage and the use of baths. For a Chinese doctor it is clear that with meridian massage and acupressure the flow of Qì along the various energy channels of the organism can be stimùlated more effectively than with acupuncture. The reason for this is that acupressure, meridian massage, Shiatsu, and various forms of deep body work such as Postural Integration and Rolfing, increase the tissue´s permeability for Qì and can thus balance Emptiness and F˘ullness along the individual meridians. Only when the flow of Qì along the meridians is sufficient can it be effectively directed and targeted with an acupuncture needle.
The sixth level of healing consists of ”pricking and burning“: acupuncture and moxibustion - the burning of dried mùgwort leaves (artemisia vulgaris) on acupuncture points. Moxibustion is mostly used to tonify in the case of energy deficiencies in specific organs or in the organism as a whole. It is preferably applied in cold regions and in winter.
The seventh level is surgery.
The seven levels of healing provide insight into the multitude and variety of methods in traditional Chinese medicine. They are also an aid for orienting yourself in the evaluation of Chinese health techniques and healing methods now available in the West. Just as Dàoism in China has included many things throughout the centuries, from the philosophy of Lao Dse and Chuang Dse to superstitions and populr beliefs, contemporary Chinese medicine in the West also offers gems, semi-precious stones and glass.
2 Organs and Meridians
A characteristic of the nature of Dàoism is the fundamental unity and interconnectedness of all things. The various phenomena, structures and events of the organic and anorganic world - geological and weather changes, cosmic influences, plants, animals and people, as well as thoughts, feelings and illnesses - are not viewed in isolation from one another, but always as interwoven with things and happenings in their immediate environment, and, ultimately, as mùtually dependent on everything else which exists.
2.1 The Chinese concept of the organs
Organs and tissues, whether healthy or ill, can also be understood in this way. The inner organs are considered as Functional units or Functional spheres encompassing and connecting the physical, emotional and mental realms of the organism. The anatomical form of an organ is not really important; the dynamic of its Function and the dynamics of its relationship to the other organs take precedence.
In the Chinese view, each organ has, in addition to its physiological task, emotional, mental and spiritual Functions: it creates certain emotions and feelings - and shapes and transforms some of them as well. Sometimes, the emotions that are created by one particular organ limit or repress the emotional expression of another organ. In the mental realm, each organ produces a certain way of thinking, an organ-specific kind of perception and cognition which in turn interacts with the intellectual capacities and mental skills of the other organs.
An organ is viewed as a delicate network of energy flows running through the entire organism - an interplay of bioelectro-magnetic frequencies and the various forms of Qì which circulate in the body. An organ represents a force field - its pole of maximùm density is the anatomical structure of the organ itself. The energetic powerlines of the organ force field consist of countless branches and ramifications - just like the ribs in the stem of a leaf. Many of them directly flow into the anatomical form of the organ. The energetic artery of the organ is its corresponding meridian which leads the Qì of the organ to the surface of the body, connecting it at some points with the energy flows of other organs and meridians.
2.2 The Meridian System
Traditional Chinese medicine views the meridians as a network which connects the interior with the exterior: the internal organs with the surface of the body, the tissue with the spirit, Yin with Yáng, earth with heaven. The main channels of this network run in the longitudinal axis of the body - with the exception of the Dai Mài or Belt Channel which circles the waist like a belt. Western doctors have therefore compared it with the meridian system of the earth whereby the organ meridians correspond to the longitudes, the Luò-vessels to the latitudes and the Dai Mài to the equator.
Dating from approximately the third century B.C., the classical Textbook of the Yellow Emperor on Internal Medicine, the Huang Di Nei Jing, precisely describes the course of the meridians and the effects of their points. In this text, the meridians are compared with the great streams of China which flow through the country, irrigate and fertilize it. The Chinese word for meridian is jing. Jing is the character for a river, a way, a path, a canal and also a blood vessel. Under the influence of Western scientific and analytical thought, a new theory of Chinese medicine developed which considers arteries, veins, lymph vessels, as well as sensorimotor and autonomic nerves as the material base of the meridians. According to this theory, the system of meridians largely corresponds to the various vessel and nerve cords in the body. Mainly the effect on the autonomic nervous system and the release of various neurotransmitters are seen as the material base for the effectiveness of acupuncture. There is mùch evidence favoring this theory: the effectivity of acupuncture and acupressure is inextricably linked to an intact circulation and nervous system. With hemiplegic persons, on parts of the body which are paralyzed or infiltrated by anaesthetics, and also in the case of hypothermia, the effects of acupuncture are discernibly reduced or there are no effects at all.
Modern research in China as in the West has shown that acupuncture and acupressure are based on a complex principle of effect. On the one hand, acupunture influences the transmission of signals in the central and peripheral nervous systems and regulates the Function of the autonomic nervous system at every level of organization, from the autonomic ganglia to the cerebrum.
On the other hand, acupressure and acupuncture stimùlate the production and release of neuro-transmitters such as endorphins, enkephaline, serotonine and acetylcholine 1). Other studies have also shown that the meridian system corresponds to anatomical structures. Some meridians - tiny channels mainly in the connective tissue - could be made photographically visible after a radioactively marked gas had been injected.
All of this research lays the scientific foundation of acupuncture and acupressure, according to the principles of Western natural science. This does not mean, however, that all effects of acupressure and acupunture - above all in the emotional and spiritual realms - can be explained by natural science, since each measurement taken under laboratory conditions significantly changes the holographic context and coherence. The discoveries in the field of nuclear physics reveal that the expectations of the physicist influence and shape the outcome of the experiment - which often leads to highly variable results at the subatomic level. This means that the mental attitude of the researcher - his or her own force field - determines to what degree he or she can approach the object of observation without changing the pattern of bioelectro-magnetic frequencies and, thus, falsifying the result.
It is not very likely that the more subtle effects of acupressure and acupuncture will be revealed within the sober, sterile and non-biological environment of our test laboratories. We would better approach the more delicate realms of the soul and psyche with an attitude characteristic of Dàoism and Zen Buddhism: that is, in order to recognize a thing, you mùst become it, you need to put aside your own identity and become free of preconceived ideas, opinions and expectations. The painter who has been trained in Zen spends days and months standing next to the reed, swaying in the wind with the reed, getting wet from the rain and drying off in the sun, tasting and sensing day and night when he is rooted in the earth, becoming the reed inhabited by ants, bugs and birds. Only then, with a few strokes of his brush, he paints it.
To summarise, it can be said that there are many indications of the anatomical correlations to the meridians; however, these correspondences need not necessarily be found in the entire body and with all the meridians. The meridian system can be viewed as an energetic phenomenon which cannot be depicted and photographed in all its details, because parts of this system might be too fragile to measure it with Western scientific methods.
Future research may lead to the conclusion that a mechanistic concept of the meridians is not required in order to explain the obvious transmission of energy from one cell group or cluster to another. Nevertheless, the traditional conception of the meridian system is a viable hypothesis which has clinically proven itself for about four thousand years - longer than allopathic medicine has existed.
2.3 Feeling the points
As difficult as it is to objectively and scientifically pinpoint the meridian system, it is still possible, with sufficient practice, to palpate the course and the flow of the individual meridians. The picture which can be drawn from the practice of acupressure and acupuncture looks like this: on the one hand, the course of the meridians follow the large arteries, veins and nerves, on the other hand, the Qì flows through thin crevices and canals of the connective tissue. These crevices are mostly formed by the various fascia of the individual mùscles and mùscle groups as well as by the layers of tight and tough connective tissue which covers entire body parts- for example, the fascia lata or the fascia thoracolumbalis.
The warmth and the energy flow which you can feel when you rest a finger on an acupuncture point for a moment, originate from many components: first, from an increase of peripheral circulation of blood and the consequential warming of the neighbouring tissue; second, from the electromagnetic fields which primarily come into being as a result of the transmission of nerve impulses (with acupuncture, there is an additional effect: the respiratory rhythm causes a slow and tiny, but nevertheless existing up and down movement of the needle, thereby inducing an electromagnetic field); and third, from the vibrations and frequencies which are described in Chinese texts as various forms of Qì and cannot be explained exclusively by the electromagnetic spectrum. These frequencies and vibrations can, just like electromagnetic waves, spread more easily through the system of channels and cavities - which are known as meridians and Luò vessels - than through the denser structures of muscle, fat or connective tissue. As the tsubos - the Japanese name for acupressure or acupuncture points - are tiny f˘unnels that lead from the surface to the channel system, you can feel the Qì more discernibly at those points, and along the course of the meridians. The system of channels and cavities can be compared to the complexities of a subway network in a major city, whereas the acupuncture points can be considered the individual stations along the route.
2.4 The meridians as energy ways
In the Chinese texts the meridian system is called jing-luò. The character jing means to conduct and to pass through, and it refers to a specific type of chain-like thread which is used as the longitudinal thread in cotton and silk cloth. The character luò means to connect, to tie, to link, and network. Jing is the name for the meridians or energy channels which run along the longitudinal axis of the body, and luò refers to the connecting branches between the longitudinal meridians.
In the Huáng Dì Neì Jing the courses and functions of the 44 jings are described. These are the external courses of the twelve organ meridians and their twelve corresponding deep branches or internal courses which run in the depth of the body. The deep branches connect the external course of each organ meridian with its source organ and with other internal organs as well, especially with its coupled Yin or Yáng organ. F˘urthermore, there are twelve Jingjing or tendinomùscular meridians which begin at the hands and feet and run to the trunk and head: they supply mùscles and tendons with Qì from the organ meridians.
Finally, the Emperor’s book on internal medicine discusses the Eight Great Rivers or Qì Jing Ba Mài. These are also often referred to as the Eight Extra Meridians. Two of them - the Rèn Mài (the Vessel of Conception) and the Du Mài (the Governor) - run along the midlines at the front and back of the body. They are also called the “Sea of Yin” (Rèn Mài) and the “Sea of Yáng” (Du Mài). Du and Ren Mài represent the heart of the meridian system.
The twelve organ meridians form pairs: each Yin meridian is paired with a Yáng meridian of the same element. In connection with this, it is said that the energy of the coupled meridians is balanced between each other by way of two channels or sluices - the Luò vessels. Each organ meridian has its own Luò vessel which leads from its Luò point to the Yuán point of the coupled meridian.
Acupressure, meridian massage, and acupuncture use almost exclusively the aforementioned meridians and Luò vessels. These are the main powerlines of the organism. In addition to these, however, are countless medium, small and tiny energy vessels and branches, similar to the arterioles, venoles and capillaries in the blood vessel system.
2.5 The Twelve Zàng and Fu
Chinese medicine differentiates between six Yin and six Yáng organs. The Yin organs are called Zàng. The character Zàng means firm or solid. The six Zàng have a firmer consistency than the six F˘u. They are also called storage organs because in addition to their physiological Functions they take up and store, produce and transform the various forms of Qì. The six Zàng are the Heart, the Heart Cover, the Liver, the Kidney, the Lung, the Spleen and the Pancreas (in traditional Chinese medicine, these latter two organs are viewed as a Functional unit: as the Yin Organ of the element Earth).
The six Yáng organs are called F˘u, which means hollow. These are the hollow organs: Stomach, Duodenum, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Gall Bladder, Bladder, and the Triple Warmer. Stomach and Duodenum are also seen as a Functional unit: as the Yáng organ of Earth. The main task of F˘u is the reception and digestion of nutrition, the absorption of nutrients and the excretion of waste. The duties of the Triple Warmer are the regulation of temperature in the body and the coordination of the Functions of the chest, stomach, and pelvis: breathing, blood circulation, metabolism, digestion, exretion and sexuality.
Each Zàng organ is linked to a F˘u organ of the same element. Their physiological, emotional, spiritual and intellectual Functions are closely connected - each Zàng embodies the power of Yin, each F˘u the Yáng force of the corresponding element.
In addition to the Zàng and F˘u there are several extra organs which are referred to as the Wonder Organs in some sources. The most important are the Uterus and the Brain. Because the Brain is considered a substratum of the Kidney, many of its dysFunctions are treated via the Bladder and Kidney meridians. However, the activity of the central nervous system is associated with the element Fire, and especially the Heart, and is therefore “governed” by the Fire meridians and the Du Mài.
The Uterus is closely linked to the Kidney and the Spleen-Pancreas and to the Great Rivers Rèn Mài and Chong Mài.
8 The Twelve Organ Meridians
8.1 The Gall Bladder Meridian
The Gall Bladder Meridian is the Yáng Meridian of Wood.
Coupled Yin Organ: Liver
Tissue: mùscles and tendons
Expression of power: nails
Sensory organ: eyes
Bodily fluid: tears
Facial colour during illness: olive, greenish cast
Odour during illness: sour, rancid
Behaviour under stress: composure and control; explosive
Timbre of voice: clear, loud, distinct; commanding, screaming
Mental Function: goal-oriented, strategic thinking
Climate which enhances vitality when the Gall Bladder is lacking Qì and that causes illness when the Gall Bladder is full with Qì: wind, storm
Direction of elemental power: expansion
Along the course of the twelve organ meridians, Qì flows from the San Jiao Meridian to the Gall Bladder Meridian and from there to the Liver Meridian. Together with the San Jiao (Triple Warmer), the Gall Bladder forms the middle layer of the energy of Yáng, the Shao Yáng.
8.3 The Lung Meridian
The Lung Meridian is the Yin meridian of Metal.
Coupled Yin organ: Large Intestine
Expression of power: body hair
Sensory organ: nose
Bodily fluid: mùcus
Timbre of voice: metallic, nasal
Odor during illness: foul, fishy
Facial colour during illness: pale
Behaviour under stress: refusal, cough
Feelings originating in the lung: sadness, worry, loneliness, coldness and cruelty,
resignation, depression, hopelessness and despair
The climate that enhances vitality when the lungs are lacking Qì and that causes illness when the lungs are full with Qì: dryness
Direction of elemental power: exchange and rhythm
8.3.1 Internal course
The deep branch of the Lung Meridian originates in the solar plexus, the center of the Middle Warmer. It runs downward and winds around the colon transversum. From there it flows upward again, reaches the stomach and transverses the diaphragm through the hiatus oesophageus. Above the diaphragm it splits into two branches, one for the left and one for the right lung. These exit the lungs through the two main bronchia and unite again in the trachea.
The deep branch flows upward to the larynx, splits anew, and both energy channels lead the Qì diagonally downward to the shoulders where the Lung Meridian surfaces in the frontal shoulder furrow, in the connective tissue between the pectoralis major and the deltoid muscles.
8.3.2 External course
The first section of the Lung Meridian flows in the frontal shoulder furrow upward until just before the collar bone (Lu 2). Here the meridian turns outward, leads diagonally across the front of the deltoid and, on the upper arm, along the outer side of the biceps (Lu 3, Lu 4).
In the elbow it runs radially to the biceps tendon (Lu 5), in the forearm along the M. brachioradialis which it then traverses to run, parallel with the nervus radialis, the radial artery
and the radial veins, in the furrow on the radial side of the M. flexor carpi radialis tendon, to the wrist. From there the Lung Meridian flows across the palm to the thumb where it ends at the radial corner of the nail.
8.3.3 Tasks of the lung
The Lung is the organ which maintains the connection with the external world. With each
breath, we take in oxygen and Qì and release carbon dioxide and Qì. The lungs transfer "Qì of the Sky" to the Middle Warmer, where along with „Qì of the earth“ (nutrition) it unites with various forms of energy which circulate through the body.
8.3.3 Massage and acupuncture
Acupuncture of the Lung Meridian helps a person when their contact and exchange with their environment is curtailed or disturbed. This type of dysFunction often leads to excessive worry and a pessimistic attitude towards life, it brings melancholy, sadness and a mùltitude of disappointments. In its chronic form, it leads to resignation and depression on the one hand, but also to loneliness and isolation, a feeling of being cut off, without access to other human beings.
Within the spiritual realm, an impairment of the Lung Meridian’s Function can lead to religious puritanism, rigid moral views and intolerant fanaticism.
Physiologically, a dysfunction of the lungs can lead to asthma bronchiale, bronchitis, cough, inflammation and infections of the nose and pharynx and other illnesses of the respiratory system. Furthermore, weak lungs may lead to acute and chronic skin diseases, such as acne and psoriasis, to disturbances in the course of the meridian, such as muscle and joint pains, paraesthesias and neuralgias, and to arthritis of the shoulder, elbow and wrist.
Massaging the Lung Meridian enhances and deepens our breathing, thereby stimulating a sense of optimism and courage. It relieves sadness and worry, as well as cough and bronchitis. The respiratory volume is increased, more oxygen and Qì are absorbed, and our general level of energy is increased.
Deep breathing facilitates many physiological processes which would otherwise remain problematic or incomplete, for example the excretion of waste material. Furthermore, the necessary level of Qì provided by deep breathing aids the perception and expression of many feelings. The degree of vital energy depends to a great extent on our breathing and the Function of the Lung Meridian. Thus, massage brings a breath of fresh air to our emotional, spiritual and mental well-being: clarity, order and new ideas.
Sometimes during massage or acupuncture of the Lung Meridian you hear a rumbling or gurgling in the belly. This indicates that the Qì in the deep branch of the Lung Meridian has started to flow and stimùlates the peristalsis of the large intestine, thus relaxing the abdomen.
8.3.4 The main points
Lu 7 Liè Que
Luò point (to LI 4)
Master point of Ren Mài
Lu 9 Tài Yuán
Yuán point and Earth point (tonification point)
Master point of the blood vessels
Lu 1 Zhong Fu
Mù point of the Lung
Lu 5 Chi Zé
He point, Water point (sedation point)
Lu 6 Kong Zuì
Xi point (acute lung diseases)
Lu 11 Shào Shang
Jing point (emergency point)
B 11 Fèi Shu
Shu point of the lung
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