The Body (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 16)

This is the episode in which Buffy finds her mother’s body. The lack of a music soundtrack still strikes me, and was a brilliant move on Joss’s part.  I was also impressed by the camera angles and jerky filming in the opening scenes.  The script allowed each character a chance to express different aspects of the confusion and slow movement that follows news of a death. The acting skills of all who participated in the episode were solidly carried through.

Although vomiting featured in this episode, both at the dinner table and after Buffy finds her mother’s body and awaits the paramedics, I will not give an acupuncture prescription for this episode.  The physiology behind Buffy’s vomiting is concerned with the role that the Stomach plays in assimilating experiences as well as food. If an experience is too much to handle, then like having too much food, the Stomach qi will rebel, causing vomiting. Treating it at the time in happens, in a situation such as portrayed in this episode, is not generally appropriate.

However, I will note that the luo vessels in general are effective in treating counterflow conditions of the primary channels.  The physiological mechanism for this regulation relies on the transverse luo vessels, the vessels which connect same-phase (or same-element) yin-yang paired channels together.  Thus, if the Stomach channel were experiencing counterflow, moving upwards towards the face instead of downwards towards the feet, the point ST-40 siphons off the qi into the Spleen channel; the normal movement of the Spleen channel is to ascend to the face.  Likewise, if a person is experiencing counterflow of the SP channel, in which qi is moving downwards at a rapid pace (as in diarrhea, the SP qi failing to ascend), needling or bleeding SP-4 will siphon the downward moving qi into the Stomach channel, where it can once again ascend and restore proper equilibrium.

As for herbal medicines for this episode — since full treatment is not advised — a simple wu wei zi tea may help calm the nerves, or settle the shen. However, even that, I would be hesitant to give someone who never drinks it, since the flavour may become associated with the time period. It is for this reason, perhaps, that certain cultures developed drinks which are only consumed when things are really, really bad.

As always, this post is for educational purposes only. If you feel Chinese medicine could help you, please find a qualified practitioner.  Celebrate life as it is lived.


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