The Power of Acupuncture as Energetic Medicine
A different type of thinking is required when embracing acupuncture’s therapeutic power. For example, it’s possible through the use acupuncture to affect the inside of a joint or an internal organ simply through stimulating an acupuncture point on the surface of the skin without needing to go into the joint or organ with a needle. Yes, this is true. Acupuncture is energetic medicine. By stimulating the acupuncture point Liver-3 on the foot we can affect the Liver organ. Sometimes we can even experience this happening: feel a sensation in our Liver when LR-3 is stimulated.
Energy is something that cannot be seen. It can certainly be felt. Modern physics is perhaps the closest way of understanding acupuncture from a Western point of view. The biological way of looking at the body is largely structure-based, while physics concerns itself with energy which is often invisible.
The body is composed of roughly 72 energy channels that travel through all of its exterior and interior. The acupuncture points are located on the external anatomy of the body. However the channels connected to these points delve deep into the interior of the body: into the organs, joints, bones, blood vessels, even the DNA.
There are layers of energy-flow within the body. Superficial energy of the skin and muscles, deeper energy of the blood vessels and flesh and the deepest energetic level of the bone and marrow. Each of the these energetic layers can be accessed through acupuncture points along the skin.
When we are able to shift our thinking from the concrete view of substance into that of energy, the science of acupuncture can be grasped. Chinese scientific philosophy sees the universe as composed of energy that takes on different degrees of density. Modern physics shares much of this view. Energy in its most dense form becomes substance: what we feel as solid. The next subtler form is liquid: we can still see it, yet it is less solid, with the ability to change shape. The most subtle degree of energy is the gaseous state. Gas cannot be seen, sometimes it can be felt.
The body possesses each of these degrees of energy: the bone, flesh and organs are solid, the blood and fluids are liquid, and the energy within the channels of the body are gaseous. The fact that each part of our bodies are interconnected, as well as the law that energy can be transformed (not created or destroyed), shows how utilizing the subtlest substance within the body can effect the less subtle substances. Working with energy within the channels of the body sends messages to the flesh, bone, blood and organs. This energy can be transformed from its gaseous state into the liquid state of blood, or even into the solid state of flesh. The subtle, invisible energy manipulated by acupuncturists can build blood or rebuild the flesh; it can even transform pathological substances within the body into something usable by affecting function of the organs of the body.
Energy, like blood, flows and moves. The respiration process described in Western biological science illustrates how subtle energy flows via the blood to all of the tissues of the body, sending messages, exchanging, transforming, promoting healing and growth. The blood moves from the heart into the lungs via blood vessels: the blood carries the oxygen-gas of the lungs throughout the entirety of the body.
The Chinese discovered points along the exterior of the body where the subtle energy flow could be communicated with. Thousands of years of study allowed the Chinese to document which points communicate with which areas of the body. It was discovered that points on the toes for example, communicate with areas as far away as the sense organs of the face; or a point in the lower leg communicates with the genitals; or a point of the arm with the heart.
Beyond simple point energetics, however, channel energy flow shows how the deeper layers of the body are communicated with. Within the energetic anatomy of the body, there are 12 muscular channels that communicate with the muscles and skin of the body; 16 Blood-related channels that communicate with the body’s blood vessels; 12 channels that communicate with the internal organs; 12 channels that communicate with the joints and bones; and finally 8 constitutional channels that communicate with the brain, uterus, marrow, spine, as well as the DNA.
Each of the body’s roughly 72 channels possess points along the external anatomy of the body. The acupuncturist can access these channels through needling points on the skin. There are various methods of opening the energetic layers of the channels, via needling technique and point combinations.
Through opening the Divergent Channels, which communicate with the joints and bones, conditions within these areas can be addressed. The subtle energy of the channels can be used to clear out or transform any swelling, debris or inflammation within the joints. It can also be used to rebuild the bone and/or cartilage through its transformation into blood and substance, as well as its ability to effect function of the internal organs.
When someone has a problem within a joint, they can go for surgery, have their doctor cut into the joint and remove the debris, or they can take a pill to dampen the fire burning within the joint. Or they can allow an acupuncturist to place a few very thin, painless needles along specific points on the skin, which will send the subtle, gaseous energy of the body into the site of injury to expel the inflammation through urination, rebuild the structure through transforming into nourishing blood, and clear the debris through breaking it down and expelling it.
Addressing the joint problem with acupuncture, however will have very few side-effects. There will be no surgery to recover from, no medication for the body to metabolize, no disruption of the body’s natural healthy functioning. While the problem is cleared away, the body will actually be strengthened. To insure the problem is resolved, and doesn’t come back, the digestive and immune systems will be fortified at the same time the injury is cleared. This is the beauty of systemic medicine like acupuncture: one can treat the site of pain or disharmony, as well as strengthen the body’s health and strength in general.