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Acupressure Healing: Secrets of Longevity

Acupressure Self Healing Treatments

Part 1 of a series
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
(Excerpted from Secrets of Longevity Acupressure Healing)

The first record of acupuncture was found in the nearly five-thousand-year-old Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, considered to be the oldest medical textbook in the world. This renowned volume was compiled from earlier observations and theories made by ancient Chinese masters. These wise masters observed that the human being is a small universe of the larger cosmos, which mirrors the nature surrounding us. As the basis of acupuncture, they theorized that the body had an energy force running throughout it, just as water flows in a river.

To help you visualize this theory in motion, think about melting snow packs on mountain tops: originally created by evaporation and condensation from the ocean, the snow melts and the resulting springs feed alpine lakes high up in the mountains. The water then courses its way from brooks into streams and rivers. As it makes its way downward to ultimately rejoin with the sea, it nourishes the land, giving rise to vegetation and living creatures. Water perfectly embodies the symbol of life-force energy on our planet. In the same way, what flows within the channels of our body is the life force that provides nourishment and function to our entire organism. The goal of acupuncture and acupressure is very simple: to reconnect us to the flow of energy that permeates our body and the entire universe.

 

How Acupressure Works

 

Ancient physicians observed that illness often produced painful areas on the skin, pain that would disappear when various points in the body were stimulated or sedated. They noticed that these various points on the body also impacted the functioning of internal organs. For instance, stimulating a point on the thumb might affect the lungs, and a point below the knee might affect the face. After countless years of observation and experience, these physicians created a systematic order of these sensitive points, which were then classified into twelve main groups and two minor groups. In the same way that you draw a line to reveal a connect-the-dot puzzle’s image, all the points of a specific group can be connected by a line that represents the pathway the energy of the body follows as it circulates throughout the organism.

Modern science has begun to put the research spotlight on the inner workings of acupuncture. Here’s what has been suggested so far: Every part of the body, including every cell and molecule, forms a continuous, interconnected semiconductor electronic network. Each element of the organism, even the very smallest part, is immersed in and generates a continuous stream of vibratory information. This information records and feeds back all the events that occur within the body. Whole health requires complete connectedness to flourish; physical strain and emotional turmoil can damage the links. When this occurs, the body’s defenses and repair systems become weakened, paving the way for illness down the road. Acupuncture and acupressure reestablishes and balances the electronic circuitry, helping to jumpstart the body’s innate self-healing mechanism.

 

Qi: The Vital Energy of Everything

Ancient Chinese physicians discovered that a subtle energy circulates through the body, permeating every tissue and cell. Likewise, this subtle energy flows through everything in nature. From the inner workings of the smallest cell to weather patterns and planetary movements in our solar system, all existence is regulated by the same cosmic principles, which are expressed through subtle energy. This energy is called “qi” (or “chi”), which is often translated as “vital energy” or “life force.”

Qi is all around us and inside us. Like a fish that is completely unaware that it lives in water, we are unaware of the inexhaustible sea of energy that supports our lives. Most of this energy can’t be seen, which is why we call it subtle energy. Your qi is also comprised of all your life activities, including the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical aspects of life. Qi embraces all things, circulating through them and sustaining them. To sum it up: qi activates and maintains all life.

Qi energy travels throughout the body along special pathways called channels or meridians. This flow of qi in your being influences your health. When qi flows, there is well being. When qi is blocked, there is sickness and disease. Acupressure works on an extremely subtle level with this circulating energy.

 

 

Yin and Yang: Complementary Opposites

Qi is comprised of both yin and yang, which are the opposing poles of all things. In nature, these opposite aspects complement one another: summer’s heat and light are counterbalanced by winter’s cold and dark. Yin is representative of the moon, feminine attributes, destruction, negative characteristics, and contraction. Yang is signified by the sun, masculine attributes, creation, positive characteristics, and expansion. Yin and yang express the polar aspects and interrelationships of all things in existence and the balances of yin and yang are in constant fluctuation. Generally speaking, in the human body, yin energy flows downward and yang energy flows upward. The front of the body corresponds to yin, the back to yang. So the yin channels flow toward the front side of the body, meeting in the chest, and the yang channels move toward the back of the body.

All of the channels are connected and polarized, allowing the energy to circulate in a constant and continuous pattern.

So how do yin and yang factor into the context of acupressure? Energy is constantly flowing up and down the energy pathways. When the qi meridians become obstructed, deficient, or unbalanced, yin and yang are thrown out of balance and illness is the result. Acupuncture and acupressure are said to restore that balance, helping to maintain health and prevent disease.

 

The Five-Element Network: Nature’s Checks and Balances System

In addition to recognizing yin and yang, the ancient Chinese sages also observed five basic phases of energy transformation: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.

This system, which I refer to as the five-element network, is the complete, systematic symbol for the interrelationships and cyclical transformations that are at play in all that exists.

Life is in constant motion. It fluctuates between complementary polarities (yin and yang), and nature imposes its system of checks and balances (five-element network). For an example of this natural, self-regulating balance at work, look at the ecological cycle. Water energy gives rise to forests of wood energy.

Lightning strikes forests and produces fire energy. Throughout this process, the soil is enriched, which creates earth energy. Over time, glaciers that contain metal energy cover the earth. Finally, the glaciers melt and water is created: the five-phase cycle of energy transformation begins all over again. This is the natural law at work.

All living things have an innate self-regulating system, or else they could not survive. When this system fails, an organism suffers and ultimately dies. In humans, if the normal cycle of energy transformation is disturbed, disease appears. In regards to acupressure, the function of the five-element network is to establish equilibrium of the yin and yang energies and to bring harmony to the entire human being.

 

Five-Element Network and Its Correspondences

In traditional Chinese medicine, each organ represents a specific phase in the cycle of energy evolution that corresponds to many characteristics, including a particular emotion, function in the body, pathogenic influence, and season. A brief word about pathogenic influences: the wind, dampness, dryness, heat, and cold that wreak havoc in the world can also upset the balance within our body by obstructing and weakening qi circulation. A TCM physician would determine which pathogenic influence, such as cold, or combination of pathogenic influences, such as wind-cold, is causing disharmony and disease in the body, and then stimulate a point and/or administer herbs to restore balance.

This diagram, while it captures very few of the correspondences that exist, can still give you a basic sense of how the five-element network correlates to your internal organ networks, associated pathogenic influence, emotions, and major functions.

 

Hopefully, you have gained a basic understanding of how acupressure works to optimize your innate self-regulating system by unblocking qi, balancing yin- yang, and working with the five phases of energy. Now onward to healing territory!

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Main Channels of Acupuncture

By now, you are familiar with the concept that the human body is a microcosm of the universe. Like a small-scale universe, the cyclical, ever-flowing circulation of vital substances through your being—energy and fluids—sustain your health, vitality, and life itself. Qi traverses the body through tributaries and canals that are called channels, or sometimes meridians. Each of the channels circulates along its own specified course. The twelve main channels connect with the organs, and any disorders of the organs will be reflected in their corresponding channels. This means it is possible to determine which channel is affected by observing the location and characteristics of the symptoms. For instance, based on the list below, if you are experiencing a pain in the collarbone, it is a pretty good indication that the issue is in the lung channel.

 

The Twelve Main Channels of Acupuncture and Their Disease Manifestations


  1. The Lung Channel (LU)

    Channel Pathway: Starts at the front of the shoulder and runs down the inside of the arm to the end of the thumb.

    Disease Manifestation: Asthma, cough, coughing up blood, congestion and sore throat, sensation of fullness in chest, pain in the collarbone, shoulder, back, and the inside of the arm.

  2. The Large Intestine Channel (LI)

    Channel Pathway: Begins at the end of the index finger and runs up the outside of the arm, to the top of shoulder, up the side of the neck, and crosses over the upper lip to the opposite side along the side of the nostril.

    Disease Manifestation: Congestion and sore throat, watery nasal discharge, nosebleed, toothache, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery,

    noisy intestines, pain in the neck or front part of the shoulder and upper arm.

  3. The Stomach Channel (ST)

    Channel Pathway: Starts just below the eye, runs down the cheek, down the front of the neck, down the chest through the nipple, stomach, abdomen, front of the thigh, knee, and shin, to the end of the second toe.

    Disease Manifestation: Abdominal distension, noisy intestines, stomach pain, vomiting, excess hunger, swelling, nose bleed, congestion and sore throat, pain in the chest, abdomen, and outer part of leg, fever, mental disturbance, Bell’s palsy.

  4. The Spleen Channel (SP)

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the inner side of the big toe, up the inside of the ankle, up the inside of the lower leg, knee, thigh, lower abdomen, and up to the side of the rib cage.

    Disease Manifestation: Belching, abdominal distension, vomiting, stomach pain, loose stools, jaundice, sluggishness and general malaise, stiffness and pain at the back of the tongue, swelling and coldness in the inner thigh and knee.

  5. The Heart Channel (H)

    Channel Pathway: Begins in the armpit and runs down the inner side of the arm to the end of the little finger.

    Disease Manifestation: Chest pain, rib pain, palpitations, insomnia, night sweat, dryness of the throat, thirst, pain in the inside of the upper arm, feverishness in palms.

  6. The Small Intestine Channel (SI)

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the little finger, runs up the backside of the arm, crisscrosses through the shoulder blades, up the side of the neck and the side of the face, to the front of the ear.

    Disease Manifestation: Deafness, yellow in the whites of the eye, swelling of the cheek, sore throat, distension and pain in the lower abdomen, frequent urination, pain along the back and outer parts of the shoulder and arm.

  7. The Urinary Bladder Channel (UB)

    Channel Pathway: Starts at the inside corner of the eye, runs up the corner of the eyebrow straight over the head, down to the base of the skull and neck, down along the muscles around the spine to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, the back of the knee, the back of the calf, to the outside of the ankle and of the foot, ending at the outside of the small toe.

    Disease Manifestation: Urine retention, bedwetting, malaria, headache, teary eyes, nasal stuffiness or runny nose, nosebleed, pain in the upper and lower back, buttocks, and back of the lower extremities, mental disturbance.

  8. The Kidney Channel (K)

    Channel Pathway: Begins from a point in the center of the sole of the foot, runs up the inside of the foot to the inside of the ankle, up the inside of the leg, the knee, the lower back, through the body to the lower abdomen, up alongside the navel, along the center of the chest, ending at the collarbone.

    Disease Manifestation: Bedwetting, frequent urination, nocturnal emission, impotence, irregular menstruation, asthma, congestion and sore throat, dryness of the tongue, swelling, lower back pain, pain along the spinal column and the inner thigh, weakness of the legs, feverish sensation in soles of the feet.

  9. The Pericardium Channel (P)

    Channel Pathway: Starts near the outside of the nipple, runs down the inside middle of the arm down to the end of the middle finger.

    Disease Manifestation: Chest pain, palpitations, stifling feeling in chest, flushed face, swelling under the arm, spasm of the arms, burning heat in palms, mental restlessness.

  10. The Triple Warmer “San Jiao” Channel (SJ)

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the ring finger on the side that is next to the small finger, runs up along the outside center of the arm, up the shoulder to the ear, around and behind the ear and to the outside of the eyebrow.

    Disease Manifestation: Abdominal distension, swelling, difficulty urinating, bedwetting, ear ringing, deafness, pain in the outer corner of the eye, swelling of the cheeks, congestion and sore throat, pain in the back of the ear, shoulder, and outer part of the arm and elbow.

  11. The Gall Bladder Channel (GB)

    Channel Pathway: Begins at the outside of the eye socket, runs in front of the ear, up the side of the head, up and down in an arc on the side of the head, and comes down to the shoulder, down the side of the body to the front of the armpit, zigzags across the rib cage and the side of the abdomen and buttock, down the outside center of the thigh and calf, and down to between the pinky toe and fourth toe on each foot.

    Disease Manifestation: Headache, pain in the outer corner of the eye, blurred vision, bitter taste in the mouth, jaw pain, swelling and pain in the collarbone, pain in the armpit, pain along the outside of the chest, ribs, thighs, and legs.

  12. The Liver Channel (L)

Channel Pathway: Starts between the big toe and second toe, runs up the inside of the ankle, leg, and thigh, through the genitals and up to the liver in the lower chest.

Disease Manifestation: Headache on top of the scalp, dryness of the throat, hiccups, fullness in the chest, pain in the lower abdomen, hernia, low back pain, bedwetting, difficulty urinating, mental disturbance.

 

The Eight Extraordinary Channels

 

The eight extraordinary channels are considered the regulating mechanism for the twelve main channels. The eight extraordinary channels kick in when there is an excess or deficiency of energy along the twelve main channels. The job of

these channels is to store excess energy or provide stored energy from the kidney network, which includes the hormonal system. This “give and take” reservoir process is a self-regulating function but can also be activated through particular acupoints called control points, which are points where energy converges. Think of them as automatic valves: when you stimulate a control point with finger pressure, your body’s self-regulation mechanism starts up, initiating repair and regeneration.

The eight extraordinary channels have their own distinct pathways, but borrow points by crisscrossing the twelve main channels, except for the governing (DU) and conception (REN) channels, which have their own specific points.

  1. The Governing (DU) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the inside of the lower abdomen, then descends, emerging at the perineum (the area between the external genitals and the rectum), and then ascends along the interior of the spinal column to the nape of the neck, where it enters the brain, ascends to the vertex, and comes down the forehead to just below the nose.

  2. The Conception (REN) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Originates from the lower abdomen and emerges from the perineum, then runs to the pubic region and ascends the front midline to the throat. Running upward, it curves around the lips, passes through the cheek, and enters the region below the eyes.

  3. The Vitality (Chong Mai) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Begins in the lower abdomen, descends and emerges from the perineum, then ascends and runs inside the vertebral column, passes above the genitals, where it splits into two and coincides with the Kidney Channel, running up to the throat and curving around the lips.

  4. The Belt (Dai Mai) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Starts below the lowest rib, runs obliquely downward, and then transversely around the waist, like a belt.

  5. The Yang Connecting (Yang Qiao) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the outside of the heel, ascends along the leg, goes along the outside of the thigh, winds over to the shoulder and ascends along the neck to the corner of the mouth. From there it enters the inner corner of the eye to communicate with the Yin Connecting channel. It then runs further upward along the urinary bladder channel to the forehead where it meets the gall bladder channel.

  6. The Yin Connecting (Yin Qiao) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Begins on the inside of the foot in front of the anklebone and ascends along the leg and thigh to the external genitals. It then rises up the chest to the collarbone, runs upward alongside the Adam’s apple and then along the cheekbone, finally reaching the inner corner of the eye where it communicates with the Yang Connecting channel.

  7. The Yang Regulating (Yang Wei) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Begins at the side of the foot, ascends to the external ankle bone, runs upward along the gall bladder channel, passing through the hip region, and moves upward to just below the ribs and the posterior armpit to the shoulder. From there it rises to the forehead and then turns toward the back of the neck, where it communicates with the governing (DU) channel.

  8. The Yin Regulating (Yin Wei) Channel

    Channel Pathway: Starts from the inside of the leg and ascends along the thigh to the abdomen to communicate with the spleen channel. It then runs along the chest and communicates with the conception (REN) channel at the neck.

acupressure self healing by Dr. Mao Shing NiExcerpt From
Secrets of Longevity Acupressure Healing
Ni, Dr. Mao Shing


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