In this page, we are going to talk about Acupuncture in its nature. It is irrelevant for people that wants to practice acupuncture or receive acupuncture. (Just like one really don’t need to know how combustion engine work in order to drive a bus or take a bus.) If you would like to know more about how acupuncture like and what to expect in clinic, please visit my acupuncture FAQs here.
How dare I explaining acupuncture. All true followers realize that the more you study Chinese Medicine, the more questions you found about it. So let’s be playful here. I am not here explaining acupuncture as any sort of authority. I am not. I am here to share some interesting perspective where my believe in the system is found. Let’s get nerdy.
What are we?
Before we find answer, we need a context. In medicine, the context will always be us, well and diseased. So what are we? Again, that opens to infinite possible answer. In the context of understanding Chinese Medicine, we are the by product of Heaven and Earth.
Qi Bo answered, “Man born on Earth, ITS life hang under Heaven. The exchange of Heaven Earth, is what we so called Man” – Yellow Emperor`s Classic Internal Chapter 25
What is that mean? One way to put it is, as a life form existed/survived/prosper on Earth, our existence/ survival/prosperity are bounded by the circumstances between the Heaven above us and the Earth below us. If we recreate an environment that share the same parameter as the space between our Heaven and Earth, we will be prosper equally in such. However, if these parameter change, our existence in the space between will have to change as well. If the change is minimal, we may evolve/compensate and adapt accordingly. If the change is significance, then we will no longer able to exist in the space in between.
To put it in perspective, let’s say the axis of earth have moved significantly relative to the angle sun light radiate to Earth, The ecology on Earth will go through significant changes. Some species may evolve and survive while the other may go into extinction.
In Chines Medicine, they like to use the phase that we are the children of Heaven and Earth. Just like what nourish your mom and dad have a fair chance to nourish you. (And if they are allergic to certain things/situation, and you may have your share of adverse reaction to such as well) We come to the conclusion if we follow the rhythm of our parent (Heaven and Earth), we will prosper. Otherwise, we will not (prosper like our parent do.)
Conclusion #1: Subsystem that inherit its design from its mother system will likely prosper in the same condition that the mother system prosper and being ruined in the same condition that the mother system is ruined.
Other pointers to think about: There are wiggling rooms of what may happen when we are not following our inherited rhythm. Death and sickness is only one of the many possibility. You may as well thrive in a very different way from your original design. Or perhaps you are meant to evolve and create a new set of parameters. Also, don’t forget, death and sickness itself is actually good part of nature. (depends on your definition of self and life) But in the case when we have no better idea, at least we know that following how our original design will serve our original purpose or fulfill our original destiny.
So What IS the order of heaven and earth?
I wish I have the answer for that. But let’s take a look what expert thinks
Okay, not exactly answering the questions, except they also share the opinion that the more you study the more questions you got. Lol,
Okay, here is the picture from NASA which according to google, I can simply re-use. Salute NASA, Salute Google, Salute Internet!! (https://www.nasa.gov/specials/60counting/universe.html)
So that’s what our galaxy looks like. It has a spiral nature and it looks is a vortex if you perceive it on its side.
And here is a Chinese tripod archaeologist dig up from China. On its front, on the left hand side there is the picture of “He Tu” and on the right there is the picture of “Luo Shu”. I jump to the conclusion that the “He Tu” on the left is an illustration of the galactic spiral now we can observe using advance telescopes.
And along with the diagram, there is the 5 elements theory elaborating the understanding of the galactic rhythm our ancestor perceive.
Conclusion #2: Ancient Chinese use the five element theory to describe the complicate spiral of our galaxy.
So What IS disease?
Disease, originated from old French, means lack of ease or inconvenience. Fits quite well to the story I am trying to portrait here. Disease, by nature, is an inconvenience because an existences has loss of its original orbit/rhythm.
we applying the logic we conclude earlier – Whatever works (make prosper) for the mother system will works (make prosper) for its subsystem (because the subsystem largely inherit its design from the mother system.)
Our solar system (the sun and its 12 little planet) will prosper if it spiral like its mother system, the galaxy. (This is not precisely true, however, the opposite stands firmly on its ground. If the solar system spiral against the rhythm of the galaxy, it can no longer borrow the existing energy/momentum/spiral from the mother system thus shorten its life span/existence.)
If we expand the logic, planet Earth have to share a similar spiral in order to inherit energy from its mother system. And Mankind (puny us) obviously need to share the similar spiral too. So, is that the point I conclude we should all stand up and start spinning to achieve optimal health and prosperity? (CHUCKLE!) That is sarcasm turn out to hold some truth.
NO, YES and NOT QUITE (An answer basically can answer all question in life.) The fact is, we are spinning in the galactic rhythm all the time. And it appears to be not requiring our physical body spinning horizontally relative to the earth’s surface. Following the logic that He Tu is the elaboration of the galactic rhythm. Then we will know that the manifestation of galactic rhythm is not limited to literally spinning.
For example, the four season on Earth has its five element theory implication. Wood element is corresponding to Spring. Fire element is corresponding to Summer. Metal element is corresponding to Fall, Water element is corresponding to Winter. And Earth element is corresponding to the buffer state in between seasons. In other words, riding the four season on Earth is already one way for us puny earthling to spiral according to galactic rhythm.
As a subsystem, we inherit the instinct to exist with harmony with the galactic rhythm. Most of the living things on Earth do not need to learn five element theory in order to live in harmony. That leave us two scenario of ailment.
One, the planet earth (our mother) and heaven – our solar system (our father) is having hiccups thus the galactic rhythm is interrupted. For example, due to other astrological influence (e.g. other planets nearby) we may end up with extreme climates. Natural disaster and epidemic will likely to happen as a consequence of losing synchronicity with the mother system.
Two, as man (and woman of course), aside from the living body which we inherit from Heaven and Earth, we have a third element the spirit which exist beyond the galaxy. At the spirit level, it can play all sorts of tricks to override our instinct to follow the galactic rhythm like all other living things. Thus we can transform positively like alchemy or corrupted by toxic like greed, anger, and ignorance. In order to achieve optimal health and harmony, one has to be careful to not impose our free will to hinder our natural rhythm.
So, how does acupuncture work?
So that basically break down into two smaller questions. One, base on the theory that sickness are our existence losing our circular galactic rhythms, how Chinese medicine able to identify and categorize imbalance? Two, after we identify and label what we find, how Chinese medicine interfere to restore balance?
I certainly again hope that I have answers, but I only have interesting theories. First, Chinese Medicine is taught by saints that have super power (or putting it this way, they are the original version of us that has not loss the power). When they see us, they don’t just see our limping leg, they see a bunch of energy spiraling just like the universe. And to them, it is obvious where the movement is off and they are abundance in treatment solution (e.g. wave his hand in a figure 8 pattern, a star pattern.)
Pitying how mankind corrupted. They leave us method that one can use if they do not have superpower. There is pulse diagnosis basically allow you to have a snapshot of the energy spiral of the body projected in a 1 – 3 dimension illustration, Of course, a lot of detail will be loss when our diagnosis is base on such projection, but it is still relatively reliable tool that serve the purpose.
To compensate the ambiguity in such projection, literature has been written to help classify imbalance through symptoms and other diagnosis method. So that sums up how TCM identify imbalance for the last 2000 years or so.
To the second questions, how can we correct this imbalance that seems so intangible and abstract in nature. The answer is through regular means of existence. Remember the energetic rhythm has translated into all aspect of our existence?
Our food has its energetic nature which can be use to balance imbalance (remember summer is corresponding to the fire element? If you are sick on the fire element, which is the top part of the spiral when you are taking an view from the top of the spiral, you can use some produce that carries the opposite energies to counter your imbalance.) And that is Chinese herbal medicine.
Our breathing inherits the galactic spiral. Our movement inherits the galactic spiral, our actual body also inherit the spiral. That’s why we have Qi Gong, Tai Ji Quan, and acupuncture tapping different layer of the same principle to correct imbalance and promote well being.
Okay, this is all I want to say. It is far from a good article but I just want to have it written somewhere. Please contact me if you have questions and comment. Thanks for reading.