First Date (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 14)

The main thrust of this episode is discovering whether Principal Wood is a good guy or a bad guy.  Along the way, he asks Buffy out on a date.  Xander also finds a date, falling, as usual, for a demon-woman, who abducts him to the Seal.  Meanwhile, Andrew begins to integrate into the Scoobies and tries to get the First talking, without much success.  (She — I tend to think of the First in feminine gender — discovers Andrew is wired and the rest of the Scoobies can hear their conversation.)  The Potentials continue to gather and train, and a new arrival from Southern China is shown around by Giles.  Giles takes her for ice cream, but Chao, the new arrival, is lactose intolerant.  Later, when she cannot sleep, he offers her a glass of milk.  Like Episode 9 (Never Leave Me) then, this episode also features a ST/SP CD issue. In this case, it is Chao’s lactose intolerance.

The Stomach Channel Divergence is used to treat food allergies.  ST and SP CDs symptoms sometimes overlap, as TaiYin fluids support YangMing in its efforts to address pathogenic influences.  However, the ST Channel divergence is affected first.  Its symptoms include IBS, colitis, and hives from food allergies.  As the Stomach heats fluid, the fluid congeals, misting the orifices with phlegm.  Cataracts are one symptom of this pathogphysiology, but so are more acute conditions like conjunctivitis, or ‘milder’ chronic conditions like sinusitis.  In contrast, by the time the pathogen has reached the Spleen Channel divergence, fluids are already quite dry, and thus SP CD symptomology  evinces a dryness of fluids, including dryness of blood, and complicated by phlegm.  Neurological symptoms begin to appear, as the body harnesses phlegm to keep wind from moving to the head.  Nodules may appear along the neck.  The SI-HT Channel Divergence is the next channel into which the pathogen would enter, and in the previous episode I described how neurological symptoms really come to the forefront once the SI-HT CD becomes involved.

The Stomach Channel Divergence trajectory begins at ST-31 or ST-30, the upper transporting point of grains and fluids.  The point treats food toxicity, food allergies, food poisoning, and food stasis by circulating qi through the organs.  In the case of food toxicity, wei qi sometimes clumps in the interior, giving rise to inflammation and heat.  This point also happens to be a Chong Mai point, and therefore also relates to emotion associated eating patterns:  food becoming toxic by being used improperly.   ST 30 is the lower confluence of ST-SP CD.

From ST-30, the channel moves to CV-12, the mu point of the ST.  This point has an intimate relation to fluids, as it is the root of SP-1.  In the primary meridian cycle, the Spleen is responsible for bringing fluid to cool pathogenic heat.  The Spleen circulates fluids through draining and transforming, aided by the Stomach.  This point combines the features of both the ST and SP as they relate to fluid and heat.  The channel divergence, in fact, moves from CV-12 to the Spleen.  CV-12, as root of SP 1, can disperse into SP organ.  The Spleen stores the ying qi, the nourishing qi, and transforms food into post-natal essence.  If it malfunctions, it can send its pathology outwards through TaiYin, to the Lung and skin, leading to hives.  Or it can move the pathogen to the blood.

From the Spleen, the channel divergence then moves to CV-14, the HT mu.  The Stomach masters masters the blood, according to the Ling Shu, represented in this case by the movement from ST-30 (sea of blood) to CV-12 to CV-14.   From CV-14, the channel continues to CV-17, where it penetrates the Heart.

From the Heart, the channel divergence connects with the two Yin Wei Mai points, CV-22 and CV-23.  The Yin Wei Mai affects posture, and persons with colitis or IBS often have a slight crouched posture.  The Yin Wei Mai also treats accumulation, and this would include the development of phlegm nodules.

From the Yin Wei Mai, the next point in the sequence is the Window to the Sky point, ST-9.  This point has a strong effect on the sensory organs.  It also can be used for treating thyroid problems, particularly those which respond to or are influenced by food.  Remember some thyroid conditions cause a person to rapidly gain or lose weight.

The next points are ST-4 (Earth Granary) and the Nose (BiTong and BiYan), the orifices by which the body takes in substances in the form of breath, fragrance, and food.  Li Dong Yuan, the Master of the Earth School, discusses how the Heart can be brought back to joy through these three methods.  Raising the head will also have a natural effect on changing the posture, the outward form of the organs concerned.

After the nose, the channel goes to the next upper orifice, BL-1.  As mentioned in the previous post, BL-1 activates ST-42, ChongYang.  ST-42 is the source point of the Stomach.  It has a close relationship then, to yuan qi.  However, because it also guides or impels the ascension of pure yang to the upper orifices (mouth, lips, throat, nose, eyes), it is closely related to the yang and upward-outward moving wei qi.  BL-1 is the upper confluent point of the channel divergence.

To treat, carefully assess whether the patient has enough fluids to bring the pathogen to the exterior.  This includes assessing the state of blood.  If the patient has neither enough fluid nor enough blood, then treatment should build those up first, using a deep-shallow-deep needle technique on the ST and LV channel divergences first.  Treatment is three days on, three days off, for 18 days.  Carefully explain to the patient the importance of this schedule.  This is important, as the pathogen may start to come out, and as it does so, inflammation will ensue.  Continued treatment will hasten the resolution of the pathogenic process, while discontinuation will likely mean the pathogen goes back interior, and continues to consume the patients humours.

Part of the treatment is to open the orifices, but before that, to release the exterior in this type of case, induce sweating.  If that has no result, then move to treatments which open the portals — especially with phlegm conditions like chronic sinusitis and  conjunctivitis.  Herbal formulas which release the exterior are quite common — Ma Huang Tang being the first to come to mind for this sort of situation.  Although Ma Huang Tang is generally used for TaiYang or wind-Cold conditions, it is effective as inducing sweating and releasing the exterior.  A milder formula would be Sang Su Yin, which uses mulberry leaf to release the exterior while moistening dryness.  Adding musk to Ma Huang Tang, or Shi Chang Pu to Sang Su Yin would create a dual action exterior-releasing, portal-opening formula.

As always, these posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you or a loved one have food allergies, colitis, or other digestive trouble, and you think that Chinese medicine may be beneficial to you, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

Older and Far Away (Buffy, Season 6, Episode 14)

‘Older and Far Away’.  How apropos, given this post will be published on my birthday…

As Buffy struggles to re-anchor herself in life, Xander and Anya prepare for their wedding, and Willow is in recovery, no one pays attention to Dawn.  Dawn’s pain cries out for attention.  She receives that much needed attention from Anya’s old colleague, the ‘justice demon’ Halfrek (who seems to have obtained a position as guidance counsellor at Sunnydale High).  Dawn wishes people would just stop going away.  Her wish comes true that night.

Meanwhile, it also happens to be Buffy’s (original) birthday, and the Scoobies come over for a little party.  At some point, they discover that no one can leave the house, including Spike, who is trying to bed Buffy despite the presence of a new date for her (a human date).   To complicate matters, a demon whom Buffy killed by trapping it in a sword gets released and starts hunting the party-goers. Finally, Anya discovers that Dawn has been shoplifting from the Magic Shop.

Everyone has necklaces in this episode, interestingly enough.

Dawn wishes people would stop … going away.  The sinew vessel which controls slowing down and stopping is the Yang Ming sinew vessel, which runs from the second toe along the anterior lateral aspect of the leg and up the rectus abdominus muscle to the eye.

Spike references the channel when he mentions he has a ‘muscle cramp’ he wants Buffy to work out of him.   He is referring to his ‘ancestral sinew’, which can refer to either the genitals, or particularly in Matsumoto’s interpretation, the abdominis rectus — in other words, the domain of Yang Ming.

Clem, the demon with a skin condition, might also benefit from a Yang Ming sinew treatment.  Yang Ming is the stage when heat gets trapped in the interior, causing flaccidity.  In Clem’s case, the heat needs to be released through the skin to tighten his connective tissue disorder.  The skin, as an exterior organ governed by the Lungs, is an area which responds well to sinew treatments, as these treatments focus on wei qi.

The Yang Ming sinew vessel includes the arms, not just the legs.  In the Samurai demon who must be disarmed if he is to be killed with his own sword, a quick an-mo massage treatment (or martial application of acupressure) to his Arm Yang Ming Channel at the elbow and wrist might just do the trick of stopping him by over-tonifying the qi of that channel.

As noted before, it was Dawn’s pain which summoned Halfrek.  When wei qi stagnates, dull, achey pain is the result, calling attention to the area.  The Nei Jing says that where there is pain, there is a point.  This is the Ah Shi point, a point discovered by sensitivity to palpation, and an integral part of any Sinew Vessel treatment.

In the case of all the Scoobies, treatment would be cupping around Du 4 and Du 14 to bring yang wei qi to the surface.  The channel is then palpated (maybe Buffy should not palpate Spike’s channel for now) and not more than three ah shi points are needled, using a chisel technique, or if tonifying the channel, use warming moxa cones.  Then the jing-well point of the ST or LI channel is needled, followed by tonification of the ying-spring point, so that the illness does not go into the interior.
At the end of the episode, everyone praises the beauty of the stars in the sky. Points along the CV and Du Mai have been needled as a reflection of the Big Dipper.  Perhaps as a follow-up treatment to restore a sense of beauty in our characters, an EV treatment which needles those points is in order.

As for herbal treatments focused on Yang Ming, Ge Gen is a good carrier herb, as this goes releases the muscle layer and the exterior, like Mu Zei.  Huang Qi and Pu Gong Ying make a good combination not only to nourish blood, but also to secure the exterior while removing heat toxins from the interior — something Clem might benefit from.

As always, these posts are for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel your skin condition may benefit from Chinese Medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

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!

 

 

Goodbye Iowa (Buffy Season 4, Episode 14) Part 2/2

Towards the close of this episode, when Adam is revealed as the Big Bad of the season, Adam makes a statement which leads not so much to a diagnosis so much as to a treatment plan.  “I know what I am, but not who I am.”  Adam, of course, tried to go about discovering who he was by approaching the matter mechanistically:  the vivisection of humans and demons.  He is trying to probe the deeper and most intimate sources of how human life is expressed.  For the Classical Chinese physician, the channel system which governs this are the Qi Jing Ba Mai:  the Extraordinary Meridians of the Eight Vessels.

These Vessels are considered to be the repository not only of jing, the essence inherited from before birth, but also of those factors, particularly emotional ones, which the individual person, or his family lineage, has not been able to resolve.  They can thus be thought of as ‘karmic’ in the sense of a long-term expression of response to lived environments.  In this regard, the EVs are that system in the body which conveys, as a template, the genetic and epigenetic expression of post-natal qi.  Through the action of source qi, post-natal qi is assimilated to the pattern the jing provides, giving rise to flesh and form in the body.

The extraordinary vessels, filled with jing and shen as they are, deal with the existential issues Adam considers — who am I?  They are the deepest part of the body’s channel physiology and come into play in the unfolding of the jing (KD-6, BL-62) as it is transmuted by ming men fire (SJ-5, PC-6) into qi (LU-7, SP-4) and shen (GB-41, SI-3).

As described in previous posts, the EVs — like all the channel systems — can be thought of as a description of the movement of a person through existence.  Jeffrey Yuen discusses how the Ren, Du, and Chong form the basis of individuation and growth; the Wei Mai integrate the yin and yang functions of the body; the Qiao Mai reflect one’s view of the world and self; the Dai mai discharges and drains what needs to be let go, or retains what the person is unwilling or unable to address at particular times in his or her life.

Specifically, the Chong provides the central blueprint of a person’s life, the sea of blood, from whose union with qi shen arises.  The Ren Mai involves attachment, its formation and the solidity such reassurance gives to children as they grow.  It is the consolidated Sea of Yin which allows what is necessary for growth to be held adequately, without being torn by the dissipating nature of Yang.  The Du Mai is about unfolding into an upright posture, the individuation and going forth into the world, the dissipation or outward movement of the Sea of Yang.

For Adam, then, an EV treatment might be most appropriate to aid him in his quest for self-knowledge.  Adam’s EV functioning is unclear.  One could regulate the Yin Qiao Mai and couple it with the Chong Mai, with the intent to facilitate his ability to look inward at his blueprint; yet he seems to know his blueprint from the disc or CD he inserted into the Cyborg portion of his anatomy.  Looking inward at his blueprint does not seem to be the issue.

Another approach would consider that Adam has not lived; he has not engaged with the external world.  This is the province of Du Mai.  He does seem to have a bit of excess in the Yang Qiao Mai, trying to figure out the world, so perhaps the Yin needs to be regulated as well.  His question, at its most basic level, seems to be:  ‘What is my destiny in the world?’

Four points on the Du, Ren, and Qiao Mai open the body to its destiny.  These points happen to be where some people sense their ‘gut feeling’ the ‘core’ or ‘innermost’ part of their gut — the ‘will within the will’ as it were.   The points on the Ren Mai are located two and three thumb widths below the navel, CV-4 and CV-5.  On the low back, in the two intervertebral spaces between L2 and L4, where some people feel a tingling in their spine when something is ‘right’, the points GV-4 and GV-3 can be located.  Finally, the other points, which are rarely thought about in terms of feeling one’s way, are located at the inner canthi of the eyes — the portion of the eye near the tear ducts and nose.  Bl-1, a place at which clarity of vision — or its blurriness — manifests.  All the above points share as one of their several appellations the name, ‘Ming Men’, Gate of Destiny.

I would start first with the Qiao Mai, opening with BL-62, then needling BL-1.  Adam has been looking to excessively at the world, and needs to anchor within; so the next points would be CV-4 and CV-5.  These points are also the mu-points for the Small Intestine and Triple Warmer, referred to above as expressing jing and shen outwards (the SI being paired with the Heart and Vessels which govern and store the Shen).  One could opt to close with LU-7 at this point.  I might consider leading this consolidation back to the source, to GV-3 and GV-4, before ultimately closing with SI-3 (the control point on the Du Mai).

Needles should be inserted fairly deeply.  A vibrating technique should be used to obtain qi.  The needles should be retained for 40 minutes or so (although Adam’s jing is possibly quite motile, as an infant’s would be, and thus needle retention could be shorter in time).  Treatment should be once weekly, for three months.

Herbal treatment would lead the fire back to the source using Rou Gui and Huang Lian, while augmenting yin and jing with either E Jiao or Gui Ban.  In lieu of animal products (not really an issue for Adam, but in countries where animal products are restricted an issue for practitioners), one might try using Shu Di and Luo Shi Teng.  This latter herb usually treats the Luo Mai; but when the luo empty into the EVs, it may be helpful to see if the luo can be engaged through herbal treatment to reverse the flow.

The question of the state of Adam’s jing and ming men fire highlights a plot hole — we don’t really know how he came to life.  Does he have a base creature on which he was built?  Was this creature still alive when the operations were being performed?  Is he primarily an augmented human being?  Primarily a Demon?  Do demons have the same vasculature as humans?

Adam’s physiology raises particularly interesting questions from a Chinese perspective.  Does he have any extraordinary vessels?  Does he have a shen, which would have a curriculum to work out in this world?  Did he embody the unresolved pathologies contained in the luo vessels of a previous existence?  How would a Chinese Frankenstein’s monster be created?  How would the connexions of the various channels be treated?  Would a ‘translation’ of channels into fascial continuity provide a different take on how such a creature could be constructed?

I will leave such philosophical questions for the readers of this post to ponder.

As always, this post is for informational purposes only.  If you think Chinese Medicine can help you engage with your life’s work in greater depth or with greater clarity, please see a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

Goodbye Iowa (Buffy Season 4, Episode 14) Part 1/2

After Maggie Walsh’s death at the hands — or the Polgara spike — of Adam, the Initiative team members go off their usual medication routine.  The result is a set of behaviour changes involving hostility, itchy skin, sudden anger, confusion, and incoherent speech.  Towards the end of the episode, Adam reveals himself to the characters as the cause of Maggie’s death.  Adam seems to be a very articulate and straightforwardly announces what makes him tick:  “Who am I?”  he asks.  “I know what I am, but that does not explain who I am.”  With that announcement, and the sudden appearance of more Initiative men who take Riley away to a military hospital for treatment, Adam leaves the scene.

Drug withdrawal is the obvious diagnosis for this episode, but Adam’s question at the close is more interesting to me.  Therefore, I will split this post into two (as I did with the Ted posts), each with its own particular focus.

Symptoms similar to what the Initiative men were experiencing can be seen when withdrawing from several different types of drugs, including psychiatric medications.  Treatment protocols have been designed to help wean people off drugs, the NADA protocol being the most well known.

The NADA protocol for treating drug dependency makes use of ear acupuncture, a rather modern addition to the acupuncture tradition.  The ear is seen as a microcosm of the human body, inverted into a fetal pose.  The lobe of the ear contains points associated with the brain and head, while the feet and legs are towards the apex of the ear.  Internal organs are in the concha, near the opening of the auditory canal.

The NADA protocol uses five points:  Shen Men, Autonomic point, Liver, Kidney and Lung 2.  Shen men is used for anxiety; the Liver and Kidney associated points reflect their ability to detoxify the body according to the tradition of Western medicine.

The Lung point is an interesting one in that it bridges the Western function of being an organ of detoxification, and the Chinese association of the Lung — because of its link to the po-spirits (corporeal souls) — with addiction disorders.  As Riley stated of Maggie, “There must be something making her act this way.”  From a Classical Chinese viewpoint, that thing is a disordered po.  Proper qi gong technique, or herbs which restrain the qi (e.g. Huang Qi, Wu Wei Zi) are sometimes helpful in such cases.

Drug withdrawal symptoms on the other hand, vary by drug, and Chinese medicine theoretically takes each person’s withdrawal on a case-by-case basis.  In other words, knowing the specific drug isn’t the determining factor for subsequent treatment of its withdrawal symptoms.

In the case of Riley and his men, the mechanism in Chinese medicine involves a stirring of wind (and sometimes dampness) internally, and contraction of wind externally.  Given Riley’s other statements about decreased physical stamina, it would seem that the particular drugs he was on augmented qi and blood.

A Shaolin temple formula I have used with athletes, ‘Harvest the Training Powder’ does precisely that — the chief herb is Dang Gui, which nourishes the blood and invigorates qi. That formula includes Dang Gui as the chief herb, Chen Xiang, Ju Hong, and Hong Hua as deputies, Jiang Xiang, Zhi Qiao, and Tao Ren as assistants.  A similar formula, designed to be taken with rice wine before training includes Shan Yao as the chief, Sheng Di, Bai Zhu, and Huang Qi as the Deputies, Dang Gui, Chen Pi, Mu Xiang, Gua Lou Ren, and Gan Cao as assistants, and small amounts of Xiao Hui Xiang and Chen Xiang, though I would not call them envoys.  Both formulas work on moving the qi while at the same time moistening and nourishing the blood.

Riley has what in Kampo medicine would be recognised as a ‘blood’ body type (Forrest has more of a ‘qi’ body type — leaner and more wiry).  He would therefore have a particular susceptibility to blood empty and blood full disorders; Forrest would have a similar tendency to qi-type disorders.

It seems that in Riley’s case, a diminishment of blood has given rise to stirring of wind.  Herbally, we could treat this either by augmenting the blood and qi with the above-mentioned Shaolin formulas; or by dredging wind, nourishing and moving blood, and generally addressing the Liver.

A formula such as Si Wu Xiao Feng Yin would be useful in this case.  It moistens and invigorates the blood and expels wind-damp (which gives rise to the itchiness Riley was displaying).    Unsurprisingly, it contains a few herbs also used in the training formulae, though with a greater emphasis on moving blood to expel wind.  The ingredients are:  sheng di, dang gui, jing jie, fang feng, chi shao, chuan xiong, bai xian pi, chan tui, bo he, du huo, chai hu, and da zao.

In terms of acupuncture, however, a treatment approach which involves the Stomach may be more appropriate.  The Stomach deals with blood; its heat produces restlessness and irritability; and its associated arm channel, the Large Intestine channel, deals with wind-heat.  If, however, we thought wind-damp might be a culprit, then the ShaoYang channels might be a better place to begin.  In this latter case, we would be addressing the GB with its relationship to the marrow and Sea of Marrow (i.e. the brain and material basis of synthesising the spiritual aspects of the various zang-organs — will, intent, shen, hun, po), and the Triple Heater which has an intimate relationship to the Gate of Destiny (Ming Men).

How would we parse out the difference between the two?  Where is the point to treat the hundred insects crawling under the skin?  (SP-10 — also called Xue Hai or Sea of Blood — and GB-31 both work.)  Is a rash weepy? (Use Shao Yang.)  Is the patient alternating cold and hot, either physically or psychologically? (Again, Shao Yang.)  Do we approach this from a Primary Channel perspective — in which case Yang Ming and ShaoYang are very far apart, and the pathology would be seen as a result of diet — or a Six Channels perspective, in which case the two yang channels follow one another closely?  Finally, if we include  the Po-spirits, residents of the bones (controlled by the GB) and Lungs (paired with the LI via the luo point), then we have another set of points to draw from.

If I were to look at the Stomach channel and its pairs I could select ST-36, ST-37 (LI lower sea point); and either LI-6 (luo point) or SP-10.  From a ShaoYang treatment perspective, GB-31, GB-39, GB-8 all come to mind.  GB-8, the root of the soul is useful for helping people re-orient themselves, while GB-39 treats the marrow, that which exists within the bones — such as the po — while GB-31 is useful for itchiness in general.

As always, these posts are for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel that Chinese medicine could help benefit your exercise programme or help you or someone you love in their struggle with drug dependency, please see a qualified practitioner.  (I can provide recommendations for practitioners specialising in these approaches in Oxfordshire, Boston, and the San Francisco Bay Area.)