Anatomy of Acupuncture Channels

In western thought the most important question is typically “what is it?” This question has been asked of acupuncture channels since the West first became aware of them. Various ideas and theories have come out to explain the physical basis for channels, to try and tie them into western anatomical structures. However, all of these theories miss something. The fact is that there are multiple different types of channels that are considered to exist at different levels of the body, and most of these theories are looking at only one level, the level of the primary channels. In fact, not including cutaneous regions, there are five different types of channels.

Headaches in Chinese Medicine

Who doesn’t love a good headache? If you’ve ever been to the doctor about a headache, you might have heard of the different types of headaches according to biomedicine. However, headaches can also be understood through Chinese Medicine, which can often be a more helpful way to approach these dreaded occurrences. Chinese Medicine allows for more individualization with both diagnosis and treatment, and has good models for completely resolving many types of headaches.

Premenstrual Syndrome – Not Necessary

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is common but not a necessary part of having a period. PMS in Western terms is due primarily to a hormone imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. In Chinese Medicine the Liver plays a significant role, though the other organ systems are part of the picture too. It can be treated with diet, herbal formulas, acupuncture, homeopathy, stress reduction, and exercise.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 5, Chronic Disease

The Stomach in Chinese Medicine is responsible for the suppression of indigestible toxins, chemicals, emotions, and experiences. The digestive system is a major source of inflammation and plays a major role in the development of chronic inflammation, and thus chronic disease. Treating chronic disease must involve restoring the microbiome, regulating inflammation, and releasing stored trauma.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 4, the Microbiome

The microbiome, the community of microorganisms living in our guts, is an integral part of us. They aid in digestion, regulate immunity, produce important vitamins, regulate behavior, and influence the brain. Some have argued that the merging of human and microbes is what makes someone complete, and chronic health issues can result from a faulty merge. The Stomach in Chinese Medicine explains and accounts for much of what we know about this microbiome.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 3, Nervous System

In American popular culture neurotransmitters are known as brain chemicals, since many mental health issues have been ascribed to an imbalance of these substances in the brain. What many do not know is that the nervous system in the gut – the enteric nervous system – uses all these same neurotransmitters. It is helpful to examine how they influence the gut as well as the mind, giving biomedicine a way to talk about integrated organ function as it is understood in Chinese Medicine.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 2, Hormones

By expanding the concept of the stomach to encompass the functions of the entire digestive tract connections can be made with the idea of the Stomach in Chinese Medicine. The organs of the digestive system secrete a variety of hormones, many of which have effects on major endocrine glands or in the brain. Similar to how the Stomach functions in Chinese Medicine, these hormones control things like appetite, blood sugar, cardiovascular function, weight gain, muscle mass and bone density, mood disorders, and more. Understanding the digestive system from the more functional perspective of Chinese Medicine allows for greater flexibility in diagnosis and treatment.

Chronic Inflammation: Heat in the Blood

In the world of conventional medicine it is becoming common knowledge that inflammation underlies many, if not most, of the chronic diseases afflicting so many people today. It has been understood for a long time that inflammation plays a critical role in acute infections but only more recently has evidence pointed to the importance of inflammation in chronic conditions. In Chinese Medicine the concept of heat in the Blood plays a similar role in the development of the many chronic conditions in modern society.

Different Types of Insomnia – Part 3

Insomnia can be caused by stagnation of various substances, such as qi, blood, food, or phlegm. Each type of stagnation creates a different pattern of insomnia, and it is crucial to differentiate these patterns before trying any treatment. Qi stagnation in the Heart can be correlated with reduced circulation in the chest, and often results from shock or trauma. Blood stagnation, a more localized obstruction, can present as coronary artery disease. If there is stagnation of food in the digestive system the parasympathetic nervous system can be under-activated. Insomnia that presents with other mental health issues is considered to be phlegm, or mucus, that is obscuring the Heart and effecting consciousness. The phlegm often comes from the digestive system, and there is a link between digestive function and mental health issues.

Different Types of Insomnia – Part 2

Insomnia is often due to a state of deficiency. There can be qi deficiency, where the person wakes frequently without agitation or restlessness, and is able to fall back asleep easily. This corresponds with issues around electrolyte regulation by the kidneys and adrenals. The next is yin deficiency, with frequent waking along with restlessness, corresponding with sex hormone imbalance and more frank adrenal fatigue. Yang deficiency, where the person must sleep in an upright position, presents biomedically as heart failure. Blood deficiency is where the person wakes after 3-5 hours of sleep but is able to fall back asleep after 30-60 minutes. This corresponds to problems with liver glycogen storage.

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