Crush (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 14)

Buffy learns that Spike has a crush on her.  Buffy learns of this mind-twisting phenomenon through Dawn.  Buffy had seemed clueless up to that point.  As the season progressed, of course, we saw Spike’s obsession with Buffy grow.  It began innocuously enough, with a dream.  The quality of sleep is intrinsically related to the blood, and what dreams may come are often considered brought by the wanderings — or pathologies — of the hun-ethereal souls.  In this case, the hun and blood seem to indicate something is happening in the Spleen collateral.  No surprise given Spike’s diet the past season and a half has likely consisted of pig’s blood rather than human blood.  His Spleen system must be rebelling against such a poor diet.

Generally in Chinese Medical theory, the Earth phase of qi is characterised by a gathering and mulling movement.  Emotionally, this manifests as pensiveness, and pathologically as obsession.  It should come as no surprise then, that the SP luo also treats obsession.  However, it does so through a slightly more nuanced differential diagnosis.

In the Jia Yi Jing, depletion of the Spleen collateral shows up as ‘drum distention’ of the abdomen.  In Kanpo, this phenomenon is termed fuku man (or chikara naku), and we will return to Kanpo approaches below.  What is abdominal drum distension, and how can its physical properties be turned metephorical?  Drum distention, in which the stomach is bloated outwards, is often due to gas trapped in the intestines.  It is an insubstantial filling out of reality.  Likewise, Spike’s obsession with Buffy is founded on unsubstantiated fantasies, not on reality.  It is a depletion form of obsession.

In repletion, lancing pain in the abdomen is seen.  This can be caused by biomedical disorders like hepatitis, but taking the description emotionally, we can say that the gut is twisted around a topic that the person can’t assimilate and cannot let go.  This is not quite Spike’s obsession, but it is a type of obsession and ‘hanging on’ often seen in the clinic.  Ordinarily, I would think of using the Dai Mai to help resolve the issue.  Because I am sticking solely to luo vessel treatments, however, bleeding Gong-Sun, SP-4 is the tactic I would use in cases of ‘replete obsession’.

In counterflow and inversion of the Spleen luo vessel, choleriac disease results.  This is blood and pus in the stool.  Psychologically, the person cannot keep in what is needed (blood), and good emotions are trying to force out those emotions which are corrupted in some fashion (pus).  The result is an emotional hemorrhaging which needs to be stopped.  It is an obsession akin to attempting to address ‘frenemies’ and passive-agression, crazy-makers, and even more acutely serious emotionally destabilising events.  It is an obsession which is trying to fix something that is still breaking.

All the above are treated by lancing SP-4, along the arch of the foot.  The trajectory of the channel ascends upwards to connect with the stomach and intestines.  Thus, bleeding from the intestines is considered an attempt to relieve congestion and repletion in the channel.  I would not recommend trying to bloodlet spider veins inside the intestine; looking for spider veins around ST-25 and CV-12, however, as well as ST-37 and ST-39, because these points are all associated with the Stomach and Intestine organs, is clearly indicated.  Back shu points may also be checked and bled where appropriate.  In cases of depletion, follow with moxa.

I used to joke that in TCM acupuncture, the tendency is to always locate pathology in the Liver, and in CHM (Chinese Herbal Medicine), the emphasis is on Spleen pathologies.  To an extent, this reflects the difference in the aspect of the body with which each method interacts:  acupuncture works first on wei and ying qi, manipulating the body’s processes through that medium — and the LV is responsible for regulating wei qi and ying qi in the body.  Herbal medicine must be assimilated by the body, and often the body’s problems result from improper assimilation of food — all of which concern the Spleen and Stomach first and foremost.  CHM therefore has a range of medicines which treat the Spleen.  But what formulae relieve obsession, as differentiated by the collateral vessels?

Da Fu Pi is a good choice to relieve abdominal distention.  It also happens to expel tapeworms and other parasites eating away at one’s energy.  Therefore, Da Fu Pi would be my choice for treating depletion of the Spleen luo, added as an envoy to Si Wu Tang.

Mu Xiang is useful for choleriac diseases and is often used to help regulate the qi of the middle burner.  Therefore, it may be useful in cases of inversion of the SP luo, where patients are obsessed with fixing something which is perpetually broken.  Si Ni Tang is a useful formula in cases of choleriac disease, and the formula is able to rescue devastated yang due to such a condition.

Lancing pain in the abdomen due to repletion of the SP luo can be treated with Xiao Jian Zhong Tang, in which Yi Tang (maltose) is used to relieve intestinal spasms and release adhesions following surgery.  This is a formula often applied in Kanpo when the abdominal conformation reveals a tight surface, but a lack of force in the depths.  For a tight abdomen which is full beneath, often accompanied by constipation, the formula of choice would be either Da Chai Hu Tang or Yin Chen Hao Tang.  Yin Chen Hao Tang, of course, is most well known for its ability to treat jaundice — the yellow colour of the skin betraying the Splenic associations of the diagnostic criteria.  For those patients whose obsession revolves around a situation they can’t quite let go despite their desire, Yin Chen Hao Tang, in small doses, may be useful.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you feel you may benefit from the traditions of Chinese Medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!




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