Qi and Life Energy
Qi in Chinese is literally “air” or “gas”; in the broad sense it means life force, as in life energy. The “way”, or “Dao”, the form, of it is such that one can definitely feel but not see it. An image applicable here is that indeed you see the leaves of trees being moved by the breeze, and you can also feel the breeze, yet you can not directly perceive the breeze with your eyes, with your sense of sight. The wind energy is there to make the leaves move, and your life energy is there to enliven you and to make your body function as needed. It is desirable that your life energy should flow as freely and smoothly as the gentle wind blowing through the tree branches, as forcefully as the wind that clears away the fall leaves, as the energy should clear away the old, tired cells in your body, and as regularly as the four seasons in following their specific rhythm. Acupuncture is one of the highly effective ways for regulating the life energy flow to meet the body’s needs. It works with the body meridians (the acupuncture “channels”) and their collateral systems, which may be likened to a map of criss-crossing roads and streets. The acupuncture needles, inserted at known, strategic points on this map, are like traffic conductors, not only controlling the red and green lights but also solving traffic jams and clearing away the debris of accidents.
Yin Yang and Balance
The concepts of Yin and Yang are very broad, both in their denotations and connotations. While in certain fundamental ways they are “opposites”, in other ways they are interrelated and even interchangeable and rooted in one another. They relate directly to such universal phenomena as sun and moon, winter and summer, day and night, fire and water, male and female. Here, the sun, summer, day, fire, male are yang elements, while the moon, winter, night, water and female gender are yin elements. In any such pair, one aspect cannot be recognized as such without the other; they are rooted in each other. The striving to promote and reinforce the balance of such opposites, including of the yin and yang factors in the human body and psyche, is the core and foundation of Chinese medicine. For example, we shall live in all these elements and not be harmed by the extremes of any of them: we need sunlight, but not to be burned by it; in winter the cold yin element is predominant, therefore we need to protect ourselves by adding warm clothing or using an alternative yang element, fire, to balance the cold temperatures. The organs of the human body, too, are categorized according to their predominantly yin or yang properties; for instance, the five parenchymatous viscera, also called the five solid viscera: lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys are yin organs, whereas the six hollow viscera are yang organs.
The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water; they form gendering and otherwise controlling cycles. Thus wood will make fire stronger (gendering), water will dissolve the fire (controlling). The ancient Chinese physicians in turn applied these elements to component parts of the human body, also according to their properties. The heart thus corresponds with fire, the liver with wood, the kidneys with water.
The Meridian Network
Meridians and their collaterals are the traffic roads wherein the Qi travels. There are 12 regular meridians (channels), eight extra meridians, fifteen collaterals, twelve bypass collaterals, twelve tendon collaterals, twelve skin areas and innumerable micro- collaterals, superficial collaterals and blood collaterals. They are distributed all over the body and are interconnected with each other. Some of them are deep within the body, some are on the body surface. Again, one may conceive them as though viewed on a (road-)map, with many linkages connecting the highways and country roads, and allowing them to criss-cross each other. Acupoints are the points anatomically arrayed along these energy pathways that connect to interior organs and all parts of the body. By virtue of these pathways, the “acupoints” affect the nervous system and brain functions, as well as the endocrine, digestive, reproductive, musculo-skeletal and cardiovascular systems.
How TCM works
Acupuncture and moxibustion involve inserting needles and, respectively, burning rolls of moxa (a Chinese herb) on or over the acupoints or along the meridians. The purpose of so doing is to stimulate the body’s own ability to regulate homeostasis and enhance the vital forces; in other words, to call the nerve, endocrine and immune systems into action in order to restore balance, to dissolve bioenergetic “traffic jams”, to clear up toxic “debris” in the organism. It is a holistic way of healing, one whose processes hew close to those of nature itself and leave no side effects.
Acupuncture serves to regulate essential biological functions and has been proven to be a remarkably effective form of adaptogenic treatment. Adaptogenic treatments or healing substances are those whose effects are not monolithic or one-directional but can vary according to the individual organism’s needs in a given time or context. Thus, for instance, acupuncture can correct either hypertension or hypotension; tachycardia or bradycardia; or can alter the proportions among various constituent elements of the blood. The effects, in other words, are to correct imbalances of the organs, glands and metabolic and neurological functions and redirect the body toward its own original, innate condition of homeostasis.
Acupuncture’s anti-inflammatory, fever-reducing, immune- response-promoting actions strengthen the defense functions of the human body, prevent the occurrence of necrosis and promote the renovation of tissues. Acupuncture and moxibustion have analgesic effects and are commonly applied to pain syndromes such as: trigeminal neuralgia, neurogenic headache, migraine, sciatica, stenocardia, pain in internal organs, toothache, joint pain, and musculo-skeletal pain.
The scope of application of acupuncture and moxibustion is expanding. In addition to being the primary treatment for many disorders, acupuncture is also used as a supplementary treatment to many other therapies. For example: acupuncture helps to reduce the side effects of certain standard cancer treatments, to reduce the pain and discomfort after dental and other kinds of surgery, and to promote and enhance the body’s response to IVF and ART procedures for infertility.
We are informed in the use of both ancient and modern methods:
As modern TCM physicians, we have backgrounds in both eastern and western medical disciplines, and understand the terminologies and underlying concepts of both western and eastern medical thought and practice.
As native-born speakers and readers of the Chinese language, we have direct access to Chinese research regarding acupuncture and herbal treatments for a wide range of both common and rare ailments. We access authoritative medical websites and media in both English and Chinese to develop our professional expertise on an ongoing basis, which helps us to deliver the best possible clinical benefits from our treatment plans.
Your own understanding of TCM is a key element to successful treatment:
We provide you with case studies and explain your ailments in TCM language, discussing and devising treatment plans with you and applying the best of our knowledge to a carefully calibrated course of appropriate treatment.