Sunnydale has a chance of winning a sports event for once. The swim team has rocketed to the top of its league. Unfortunately, the area in which Sunnydale High most excels (its high death or mishap rate) might keep them from that goal. Luckily for Sunnydale High (or not, considering how the episode resolves itself), Xander decides to step into the rapidly vacating positions on the swim team.
Xander continues to make homoerotic comments in this episode — this time about how great it is to be in a steamroom with a bunch of other guys. Little does he realise what all that quality time can do to a guy.
The problem seems to be that the top swimmers turn into creatures from the lost lagoon, shedding their skin in the process. The secret to their transformation lies in the vapours of the high school steamroom.
This is obviously a case of externally contracted summerheat-damp stagnating on the interior. Chinese medicine could have helped release these external channels so that the swimteam’s skin could have been saved. Alas, for their ignorance of the many uses of acupuncture and herbal medicine!
Aside from the more graphic manifestations of this pathogen (scales, fins, increased ability to swim), summerheat damp can stagnate the collaterals of the Lung leading to irritability, purple face (or purple-green in our case), nosebleeds (Buffy surely wouldn’t have struck a fellow classmate hard enough to cause a nosebleed, would she?), laboured breathing (I guess gills don’t work too well on land), and sometimes muzzy headedness.
The treatment principles are obviously to clear summerheat, drain dampness, cool and invigorate the blood. Since the pathogen has led to a decided change of physiognomy, I would say it has penetrated a touch deeper than the blood level.
The herbal treatment is Qing Luo Yin jia Xing Ren, Yi Ren, Hua Shi Tang. The herbs in this formula are honeysuckle flowers (jin yin hua), lily pad leaf (he ye), watermelon rind (xi gua pi), apricot kernal (xing ren), talcum (hua shi), loofa gourd (si gua lou), job’s tears (yi yi ren), and bamboo leaf (zhu ye).
Since the problem is obviously due to the skin not releasing the dampness (necessitating its removal by the emergent sea monsters), I would start treatment with the sinew vessels, focusing on finding ah shi points along the ShaoYang channel. Then I would use the Gallbladder-Liver divergent channel to cool the blood and access the jing level of the body to clear both the heat-pathogen from the blood and prevent it from lodging in the jing level and causing structural changes to the body.
The Gallbladder as one of the extraordinary organs, has a connection with jing, well the GB-LV channel divergence is responsible for using blood to help make a pathogen latent. The BL-KD channel divergence uses jing to make a pathogen latent, and so it would seem a better choice than the GB-LV CD. However, these are teenagers, and their reserves of jing prone to variability. Other reasons also support the use of the GB-LV channel divergence. In addition to these young men having qi or blood-type bodies (according to the Kanpo method of sorting body types), indicating a reserve of blood, the Channel Divergences are also sometimes seen as the internal trajectory of the primary meridians with which they are associated. Since the Sinew vessels are the externalisation of the primary meridians, by addressing both we will have strengthened the primary meridian system against this pathogen.
Therefore, treatment would proceed as follows: Perform sinew vessel releases using Sotai on Du-4 and Du-14. Find ah shi points along the GB and TH meridians. Needle these shallowly with a chiselling technique. Burn one thread of pure moxa at GB-44.
For the points along the channel divergence, I would use a shallow-deep-shallow needle technique, since we want to bring the pathogen out from the jing and blood levels through the now cleared wei qi level. I would start with one side and angle the needles upwards until GB-1, which I would point towards the other side of the body; then I would needle the rest of the points with the needled pointing towards the jing well point on the strongest side. Needle GB-30, which is the start of the GB channel divergence and CV-3, which is the confluent point of the GB and LV CD. I would also choose to needle GB-25, which connects to KD source qi; PC-1 (or LV-14) which store the blood; ST-9 (“Welcome to Humanity”); and GB-1, the closing point of the sequence. For the weaker side, I would also needle GB-44. Needles should be retained for at least 20 minutes, and up to 40 minutes. Treatment should occur every day for three days on, three days off, over a three week period.
As always, this post is for theoretical purposes only. If you feel you have something stagnating inside you that just wants to break free, and you feel that Chinese medicine may help you, please see a qualified practitioner.