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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.
  More about Five Elements Next   Back to Top

" Nature has four seasons and five elements..."
The Nei Jing - The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine; circa 200 BC

The Five Element Theory is complementary to the Yin-Yang idea. It usually attracts a lot of attention in Western books on TCM, perhaps because it is complicated and allows plenty of opportunity for mathematical and systemic analysis as well as mystification. Modern Chinese books on TCM, at least in Western languages, usually say little or almost nothing about it. However, emphasis on Five Elements Theory in diagnosis and treatment strategy is a predominant feature of modern European school of acupuncture.
"Elements" is a misleading translation of the Chinese term, which as usual has a dynamic implication. "Five phases" would be better, because the so-called elements change into one another.

Their names are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, and they are related to the various organs and to one another in a complicated manner. The interplay of the phases or elements has implications for treatment in the traditional system.

Direction East South Center West North
  Extends Out Raises Stabilizes Inward Downward
Stage of Development Birth/Germination Growth Transformation Harvest Storage
Yin - Yang Lesser Yang Utmost Yang Center Lesser Yin Utmost Yin
Season Spring Summer None Autumn Winter
Color Green Red Yellow / Brown White / Black Black / Blue
Zang Organs (Yin) Liver Heart Spleen Lungs Kidneys
Fu Organs (Yang) Gall Bladder Small Intestine Stomach Large Intestine Urinary Bladder
Tissue Tendons / Sinews Vessels Muscles Skin Bones
Disease Nose Bleeding Chest Illness Diarrhea Malaria similar illness. Rheumatism or Palsy, cold type
Body Part Head Chest Vertebrate Shoulder & Back Waist Down
Sense Sight Words Taste Smell Hearing
Sense organs Eyes Tongue Mouth Nose Ears
Nourishes Muscles Blood Vessels Fat Skin Bone
Liquid emitted Tears Sweat Saliva Mucus Urine
Body smell Rancid Scorched Fragrant Fleshy Putrid
Emotion Anger; Depression Joy; Up/Down Pensiveness; Sympathy; Obsession Sadness; Anguish; Grief Fear
Expands into Nails Colour Lips Body hair Hair
Taste Sour Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty
Climate Wind Heat Dampness Dryness Cold
Number 8 7 5 9 6
Planet Jupiter Mars Saturn Venus Mercury
Animal Fish Bird Human Mammals Shell-covered
Domestic Animal Sheep Fowl Ox Dog Pig
Grain Wheat Beans Rice Hemp Millet
Spirit Hun Shen Yi Po Zhi
Tone Jue Zhi Gong Shang Yu
Sound Shouting Laughing Singing Crying Groaning

The Five Shu Points of Yin Channels

CHANNEL / POINT Jing-Well (Wood) Rong-Spring (Fire) Shu-Stream (Earth) Jing-River (Metal) He-Sea (Water)
Liver Liv1 (H) Liv2 (S) Liv3 Liv4 Liv8 (T)
Heart H9 (T) H8 (H) H7 (S) H4 H3
Pericardium P9 (T) P8 (H) P7 (S) P5 P3
Spleen Sp1 Sp2 (T) Sp3 (H) Sp5 (S) Sp9
Lung L11 L10 L9 (T) L8 (H) L5 (S)
Kidney K1 (S) K2 K3 K7 (T) K10 (H)

The Five Shu Points of the Yang Channels

CHANNEL / POINT Jing-Well (Metal) Rong-Spring (Water) Shu-Stream (Wood) Jing-River (Fire) He-Sea (Earth)
Large Intestine LI1 (H) LI2 (S) LI3 LI5 LI11 (T)
Urinary Bladder UB67 (T) UB66 (H) UB65 (S) UB60 UB40
Gall Bladder GB44 GB43 (T) GB41 (H) GB38 (S) GB34
Small Intestine SI1 SI2 SI3 (T) SI5 (H) SI8 (S)
Triple-Warmer SJ1 SJ2 SJ3 (T) SJ6 (H) SJ10 (S)
Stomach S45 (S) S44 S43 S41 (T) S36 (H)

  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.
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  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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  This page last updated: 14-Mar-2015 Back to Top
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