From the chapter about the meridians of acupuncture...
...The acupuncture points are distributed along these routes, serving as the excitation, or stimulation factor for these energy conveyers. Acupuncture points, which are also energetic entities like the meridians, may treat local problems in their vicinity, or tissues and organs far away from them. In the coming chapters there will be elaboration on this issue.
In clinical practice, a set of acupuncture points is selected for treatment in order to produce a specific effect in the body. Since T.C.M. is an energetic method of therapy, it can only interpret and understand energetic changes in the body. Let us assume that a patient has what we call in modern medicine a tonsillitis condition. By using energetic terminology we may say that the throat is affected by Heat pathogen (there is definitely deep red color inside there), and also by Dampness. This Dampness is characterized by excessive phlegm, or those white dots of pus scattered on the tonsils. There is a considerable amount of pain involved in this condition, pointing out the fact that the Qi is quite stagnant there, and does not move, or circulate freely. In western medicine these signs will probably be interpreted as a Streptococcus infection of the tonsils, and further laboratory tests might be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The Chinese doctor, having established his energetic understanding of the disease, will now choose a set of acupuncture points capable of restoring the energetic balance of the disease site, and the meridian involved. Points, most probably belonging to the lung, stomach and colon meridians will be utilized, in order to affect these meridians which circulate in the throat. The points must be such that have a cooling energetic effect, in order to reverse the pathogenic Heat lodged in the throat. In addition, there must be also points that are capable of drying phlegm, or dampness. No less important is the necessity to mobilize the Qi stuck in the throat, and make it circulate and move freely. Besides the important choice of formula points, the practitioner of T.C.M. needs to know how to manipulate the needles in order to produce these desired effects. Needle manipulation is of utmost importance in order to achieve a desired energetic effect. There are therefore cooling manipulations of needles, heating manipulations, moving or dispersing, and so on.
Having chosen the correct set of points for treatment and applying the right needle technique, The throat will be energetically cooled and dried, and the stagnant energy re-circulated. In medical terms it means that the bacteria lodged on and around the tonsils, will lose its comfortable sympathizing energetic surrounding, and perish.
This way of thinking is typical of Chinese medicine, and marks a substantial gap between eastern and western medical attitudes. While Chinese medicine will try to challenge the energetic supportive environment of the pathogen (i.e., bacteria, virus etc.), and restore energetic equilibrium in the disease region, western medicine will powerfully act directly on the pathogen itself.
Many years ago, I heard from a very distinguished Chinese doctor, John Shen, an analogy describing this fundamental difference in approaches, between these two doctrines of medicine. Dr. Shen said: “let’s imagine that you go to sleep on the second floor of your house at night, and you suddenly hear noises from downstairs. You realize that there is a thief in your house. What are you going to do?” Dr. Shen smiled cunningly… “Basically, you have two options. You can take your gun, go down the stairs and shoot the bastard dead. You have definitely got rid of the problem, but you have also created other problems. The police will come, there will be blood all over the apartment, and may be the thief’s relatives will come and take revenge… But, you may act entirely differently. You may start shouting and making noise upstairs. The thief will most probably get panicked and run for his life. Thus, you have also got rid of the problem, and the only problem you are left with, is to make sure you shut your doors better next time”.
The analogy here is clear. While antibiotics do kill the bacteria involved in tonsillitis, it poses many new problems. The major one of them is the weakening of the defensive system of the body, and an open invitation for new attacks by the “relatives”… Chinese medicine on the other hand, will scare the pathogens off, by changing the nature of the inviting surrounding, and securing the defensive (Wei Qi) system of our body, i.e., lock the doors…
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