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  Traditional Acupuncture
       Qi        Yin/Yang        Five Elements        Channels        Points
       Diagnosis        Zang-Fu Organs        Chinese Syndromes
 
  QI Next   Back to Top
The concept of Qi (sometimes spelled "Chi", pronounced "chee") is a central concept in Tao teaching that lays the foundation of Chinese Medical thought and acupuncture.
Qi is commonly interpreted as the vital energy that gives life to all living matter. There is nothing comparable in allopathic (conventional Western) medicine. While human physiology in allopathic medicine is organized according to specialized function, Chinese medicine is more concerned with the dynamics of the interrelationships, especially the patterns of vital energy.

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  Yin/Yang Next   Back to Top
Yin and Yang are counter poles; they are each other's opposite in which life is searching for harmony and balance.
Health in this philosophy means balance between Yin and Yang. Illness means that one of the two is too strong or too weak.
The theories of Yin and Yang and Five Elements that exist in dynamic balance and are organized in the systems of cyclic autonomic regulation, by its essence represent the Confucian ideology.
Within this philosophy, all aspects of the invisible and visible world exist in mutual dependence. This view, in turn, explicates the teachings of "Yin-Yang" and of the "5 phases of transformation".
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  Five Elements Next   Back to Top
Another basic concept of acupuncture is the teaching of the Five Phases of Transformation (also known as the Five Elements, more common term and less accurate).
According to the Five Elements philosophy, everything, including energy, passes through cycles. In nature, this can be seen in the four seasons and in the body it is evidenced by the interactions between the main organs.
The Five Elements theory assumes relationships between Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.
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  Channels Next   Back to Top
According to Chinese medicine, the invisible Qi circulates along a system of conduits. They form a complex network of main channels, minor capillaries and collaterals. There are 14 main interconnected pathways called "meridians" through which this energy circulates, and surface to about 400 acupuncture points. Each meridian is intimately connected with one of the viscera of the body, and each manifests its own characteristics and bears the name of the organ related to it. For example, there's a Liver channel, Heart channel etc.
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  Points Next   Back to Top
The 14 main meridians (channels), through which Qi circulates, emerge to the skin surface at the precise locations called acupuncture points. Local stimulation of different acupuncture points (needling, laser, electricity, etc) can influence the activity of corresponding meridian in specific and predictable manner.
361 Points on the meridians described in the classical ancient Chinese medical manuscripts. They are complimented by 171 Extra-Meridian Points with their specific features. Over the last fifty years, 110 "New" Points and 142 Auricular Points discovered.
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  Diagnosis Next   Back to Top
In ancient times, laboratory analyses and tests were not available and acupuncture diagnosis relied mostly on observation. Observation of the skin, eyes, tongue, pulse, etc. can tell a seasoned acupuncturist more than you can imagine. Different schools emphasize different techniques. For example, Japanese acupuncturists do not examine the tongue, but instead palpate the abdomen as part of a routine exam and treatment.
 
  More about Diagnosis Next   Back to Top


"By observing the external symptoms, I gather knowledge about the internal diseases."
The Nei Jing - The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine; circa 200 BC

Diagnostic methods in traditional Chinese medicine are founded on the notion that the pathological changes of the internal organs may reflect on the body surface. They are based on observation and include four basic methods: inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiry and palpation.
Specific diagnostic techniques of particular importance are tongue observation and pulse diagnosis.
These diagnostic methods are indispensable and important steps in the differentiation and treatment of syndromes.

Pulse diagnosis

Pulse Diagnosis is indispensable part of Traditional or Classical Acupuncture. Many acupuncturists believe with almost religious fervor that this is the only way to practice acupuncture. It is said that it takes a lifetime to become a master of pulse diagnosis.

In a pulse diagnosis, the index, middle and ring fingertips of the acupuncturist are placed over the patient's radial artery at the wrist. A sensation underneath each finger is representative of the energy in a specific meridian. (Many acupuncturists look for an overall quality average impression of superficial and deep pulses.)

The table below, originally compiled from the most relevant sources, demonstrates discrepancies in terminology of Pulse analysis among different schools of TCM (as we could see with terminological inconsistency in the description of the forms of Qi).

This, in part, explains why this remarkable diagnostic method meets difficulties in standardization and remains considered by many as subjective.

Pulse terminology according to different TCM books and manuals
Chinese phonetic translation. (Mo may be spelled as Mai) Mann Porkert Essentials Cheung & BellJomini Bensky Kaptchuk
Fu Mo Floating Superficial Superficial Floating Floating Floating
Chen Mo Sunken Submerged Deep Sinking (Deep) Submerged Sinking (Deep)
Chi Mo Empty Slowed down Slow Slow Slow Slow
Shu Mo Rapid Accelerated Rapid Rapid Quick Rapid
Shi Mo Empty Exhausted(Deficiency) Xu Deficiency Weak Empty
Hua Mo Slippery Slippery Rolling Slippery Slippery Slippery
Se Mo Choppy(Rough) Grating Hesitant Difficult Rough Choppy
Chang Mo Long Long - Long Long Long
Duan Mo Short Brief - Short Short Short
Da Mo - Large - Large - Big
Hong Mo Overflowing Flooding Surging Tidal Huge Flooding
Jin Mo Tight Tense Tense Tight Tight Tight
Huan Mo Slowed-down Languid String-taut Leisurely (Relaxed) - Moderate
Xian Mo Bowstring (Wing) Stringy Wiry Bowstring Wiry Wiry
Hou Mo Hollow Onion Stalk - Leek Stalk - Hollow
Ge Mo Leather Tympanic - Leather - Leather
Lao Mo Firm (Hard) Fixed - Prison - Confined(Prison)
Ru Mo Weak-floating Frail Soft Soft - Soggy
Ruan Mo - Soft - - - -
Ruo Mo Weak Infirm Weak Weak - Frail
San Mo Scattered Dispersed - Scattered - Scattered
Xi Mo Fine Minute Thready Small Fine Thin
Xia Mo - Small - Small Fine -
Fu Mo Hidden(Buried) Recondite - Hidden - Hidden
Dong Mo Moving Mobile - Agitated - Moving (Spinning Bean)
Cu Mo Hasty Agitated Short; Abrupt Accelerated Hasty Hurried
Jie Mo Knotted Adherent Knotted Nodular Knotted Knotted
Dai Mo Intermittent Intermittent Regularly Intermittent Replacement Intermittent Intermittent
Ji Mo Fast (Harried) Racing - Rushing (Swift) - -

Sources:
- Felix Mann, Acupuncture - the Ancient Chinese Art of Healing and How It Works Scientifically (Revised);
- Porkert, Essentials of Chinese Diagnosis;
- Essentials of Chinese Acupuncture
- Cheung & BellJomini, Jornal of ACTCM, 1982, Vol.1;
- Bensky & O'Connor, Acupuncture - Comprehensive Text;
- Kaptchuk, Web That Has No Weaver;

Also, this table reflects analysis of the overall quality of pulse.
The Pulse Diagnosis of Zang-Fu (Main Organs) and Five Elements (5 Phases) requires differentiation of the quality of pulse by 12 positions.


Superficial or light pressure would relate to three Yang meridians and. If the radial artery were pressed harder, the energy state of three Yin meridians would be discerned.
Thus there are three superficial Yang pulses/meridians on each wrist and three deep Yin pulses/meridians, which brings total 12 positions of Pulse Diagnosis.


Position on the hand Left hand Right hand
Superficial pulse Deep pulse Deep pulse Superficial pulse
Tsun' Men Small intestine Heart Lungs Large intestine
Women Large intestine Lungs Heart Small intestine
Guan' Gall bladder Liver Spleen Stomach
Chi Urinary bladder Kidneys Pericardium Triple warmer




 
  Zang-Fu Organs Next   Back to Top
The zang-fu theory explains the physiological function, pathological changes, and mutual relationships of internal organs. Zang and fu consist of the five zang and six fu organs. In traditional Chinese medicine the zang and fu organs are not simply anatomical substances, but more importantly represent the generalization of the physiology and pathology of certain systems of the human body.
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  Chinese Syndromes Next   Back to Top
The basic syndromes of traditional Chinese medicine provide foundation for understanding of the nature of disease; signify the location of pathological changes, the condition of body resistance and pathogenic factors.
There are different methods for differentiating syndromes based on a variety of concepts: "the eight principles"; the theory of zang-fu organs; the theory of six channels; the theory of wei, qi, ying, and xue; the theory of the sanjiao; the theory of qi, blood, and body fluids; according to etiology, etc. Each of these methods has its characteristics and emphasis, while in clinical practice they are interrelated and complement each other.
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