resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
June, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 06
Road Maps of Our Lives: Navigating the Eight Extraordinary Vessels
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
More than pathways of qi, meridians are said to be roadmaps leading us to our destiny. The meridian/collateral system, called the jingluo, includes the major highways, which are the 12 main meridians you are familiar with from charts.Then there are the luo vessels, the lesser-traveled blue highways, which transversely connect the main roads, sometimes paralleling them. The detours are the divergent meridians, keeping pathogens from going deeper into the organs by rerouting them into the joints, thus manifesting as pathologies such as arthritis. There are also cutaneous regions and sinew meridians, connecting in same polarity yin/yin, yang/yang pairs.
Today I will discuss the Indian trails, which are there before any other roads, influencing how the whole system eventually develops. These are the eight extraordinary vessels (EEVs), our original blueprint formed in utero. These vessels circulate essence/jing, our potential. This essence includes not only our genetic make-up, but also the possibilities in our lives on a metaphysical level - namely, what we can be!
The essence contained in the eight extraordinary vessels is the precursor and generator of qi. Qi circulates in a daily rhythm, whereas essence moves much more slowly in cycles of 7-8 years, depending on gender. These cycles mark development points in our lives, such as puberty and the best time to bear children. Thus, essence controls our growth, development and reproduction.
The potential that essence contains can be compared to the packed, dense energy found in a sunflower seed. All of the possibilities, such as that big tall plant and huge beautiful flower, are all there contained in that seed. Just like us, that potential needs to be realized, cultivated and nurtured.
Since they also connect the main meridians, the extraordinary vessels also serve as a bridge between pre-natal and postnatal qi. As the root of yin and yang, essence transforms into qi and blood, which will anchor and support the shen or spirit. Intrinsic in the transmutation from essence to spirit is the knowing that all possibilities do in fact occur.
The extraordinary vessels are formed before any other part of the jingluo network. It is theorized that the Ren and the Du Mai evolve from the first split of the zygote (cell created from egg and sperm), creating the central axis and midline of the body on the front and back. The Chong Mai and the Dai Mai are formed when the cells split into 4. The Chong makes the internal vertical axis and the Dai forms an external, horizontal axis circling around the waist like a belt. When the cells of the embryo split into eight, then 16, the Yang Wei/YinWei Mai are formed, controlling the pathways traveling back and forth interiorly/exteriorly. The Yin Ciao/Yang Ciao Mai are formed at the same time, moving qi in an upward and downward direction.
The eight extraordinary vessels work together as form paired sets, as shown:
There are many different ways of treating the extraordinary vessels, but the most popular is to use the master/couple point combinations presented above. It is interesting to note that accessing them in this way is a relatively modern technique, originating in the Ming Dynasty. (1500s) Previously, it was thought that these vessels were inaccessible.* I personally would not recommend using them in this way until a certain amount of rapport is developed with your client and clarity has been cultivated in attention and presence. I also have a respect for these meridians and don't haphazardly call on their "special powers," unless the condition is serious and long standing.
(*Jeffrey Yuen, lectures from 1994-2001.)
Since you can't hold all four points bilaterally (unless you are Shiva) I recommend holding the master point of the meridian you would like to affect (beginning on the right for women and on the left for men) with the master point of the couple vessel on the opposite side. Then hold the two coupled points, then the opposite master/ couple, then the two masters, ending with the original pair, each time holding for about a minute until you feel a pulse. So for the Ren Mai, use this sequence on a woman:
Using this pattern of an infinity sign has a profoundly balancing affect on the meridian without depleting it. This is something you have to be particularly sensitive to with the EEVs because of the difficulty in replenishing our core essence.
Development and Clinical Uses
When clients come to us with congenital or childhood issues, these are the meridians we want to address. You will notice that Ren, Du and Chong Mai are the first to be activated, as the baby will bond to his or her mother along the path of the Ren Mai. The baby connects first with his or her eyes to Mom's eyes, mouth to Mom's nipples and chest/abdomen to Mom's. Pathologies along the Ren can manifest later in life depending on that initial bond. If the mother was "smothering" this is often seen resulting in asthma, commonly treated with the Ren Mai master point, and the coupled point which helps activate it. (Lu 7/Ki 6) If there was little or no bond, the person might spend their whole life trying to re-create it by nurturing and "treating" that pathway by connecting with others, over and over, from their lips down to their genitals.
The Du Mai becomes more activated when the baby lifts his or her head to look at the world, then moves towards stimuli. A lack of development of that channel will result in someone who, since childhood, holds themselves back, lacking the yang motivation to look around the world and move forward. There can also be an imbalance in the other direction, in someone who is more comfortable "doing" rather then "being." Yang propels them through this world at such a dizzying rate that the thought of stopping, even for a moment, is the most terrifying notion imaginable. Du Mai disorders are commonly treated with the SI 3/ Bl 62 combination.
I have to credit Jeffrey with love and gratitude, for much of what I teach and practice concerning the EEVs. Kiiko Matsumoto and Alex Tiberi have also contributed to this article through their lectures. Circling the waist, the Dai Mai is the "closet" of the body. That's where the injustices of our lives are stuffed until they can be dealt with later. Unfortunately, when the closet starts to bulge from being over full, the channel starts to expand as well, until we deal with the issues that are being kept there. This may manifest as a disproportionately large waistline or as "leaks" oozing dampness such as leukorrea. Treating GB 41/TH 5 helps open that closet and clean it out.
The Yang Wei/Yin Wei Mai link the different milestones in our lives. You may see clients that are investing a lot of energy in re-living those moments or living a fantasy of the future. Being out of the moment can be deeply depleting.
The Yang Ciao/Yin Ciao Mai create our stance in the world. If your client is not clear about where they stand or even worse, would rather be someone else rather than who they are, you may want to address these meridians. Jin ShinDo®
Another way to learn more and work with the extraordinary vessels is to study Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure. Because the intention is to release armoring, thereby opening blockages of qi, rather than to tap into or direct the jing (essence), there is not nearly as great a risk of exhausting these vessels with JSD. One of the functions of the EEVs is to balance the qi in the meridians. JSD uses local points in the areas of chronic tension with distal points along the related EEV. As the emotional holding patterns release, the EEVs carry the qi that was bound in that chronic tension back into the "natural" flow. By allowing the body to do what it needs to do, we can return to our original nature.
Author's Note: the five-element chart that appeared in my previous article (May 2001 Massage Today) was reproduced from the Acu-Coloring Book with the permission from Loren Nelson, (619)280.7786.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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