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!

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Ted (Buffy, Season 2) Post Two

In the previous post about this episode, we examined Ms Calendar’s trouble sleeping after heart shock and her loss of interest in a former romantic partner.

Now, however, we get to tackle two other interesting pathologies presented in this particular episode, for theoretical purposes and our own general entertainment only, of course.

Ted, the robot who looks human enough to seduce Buffy’s mom, lives in a basement outfitted to resemble a 1950’s home.  Even his vocabulary hasn’t progressed much beyond a sadistic Leave it to Beaver era television show. Occasionally someone presents at clinic with signs and symptoms not unlike these — although, to be honest, usually the folks who appear at acupuncture clinics would be prone to being stuck more in the 60’s or 70’s rather than the 50’s.  The ’50’s were perhaps far too conventional — even in China — for such backwards medicine as acupuncture.

For someone who is stuck in a previous era of their lives and cannot seem to get out of it, I would use the Yang Wei Mai and Yang Qiao Mai.  The former extraordinary vessel deals with how a person integrates with time, while the latter is concerned with how one views the world in relation to what has happened to that person.

Needle technique would be deep and vibrating.  The points I would choose are left TH-5, bilateral GB-13, bilateal BL-1, and right BL-62.  Bladder 62 seems to be my point of the week, I’ve noticed.    If I were to use the primary channels, I would be sure to include LV-14.  In fact, this is one of the few cases in which I would concentrate on the Liver channel, as dealing with smoothing out one’s being in time.  The other channel I might select would be the Triple Heater, dealing as it does with Minister Fire’s allocation of jing according to cycles of seven and eight, and perhaps the Stomach, for its role in going out into the world and processing it.

The other issue concerns not obsessive eating so much as an allergy to food.  This manifested as sudden support of the villain, seeing everything he did through rose coloured glasses, and a generalised strong reaction to and craving for the drug-laced food he provided.

So, it may be a stretch to call this a “food allergy.”  Still, I would use the Channel Divergences for this particular case.

The channel divergences are among the oldest recorded channel trajectories and are the first which ought to be studied.  The link the jing level with the wei qi level, and are particularly effective in treating autoimmune conditions.  These channels are sometimes thought of as the internal branches of the primary meridians, and unite the yin-yang pairs of primary channels into one system.  All the paired divergences connect to the Heart, and they can thus be used to mobilise the Heart’s ability to dispel pathology, much as an emperor can expel enemies with a word.  All their trajectories are upwards, to expel pathogens through the upper orifices, and so it is vital that these be cleared before treatment commences.

Needling technique varies depending on what one intends to do.  If one intends to bring out a pathogen, after assessing that the patient has enough jing, blood, or body fluids to expel the pathogen, a superficial-deep-superficial technique is used.  Otherwise, the reverse holds.  At the deep level, the vibrating technique is used, and treatment is done for three days in a row, after which the body is given a three day break, before treatment resumes for another three days.  This is done over a period of eighteen days, and then the patient’s condition is reassessed.

The Stomach and Spleen divergent channel can effectively be used to treat cases of food allergies.  Energetically, it brings TaiYin fluids to support YangMing, and symptoms of its dysfunction include dryness, acid regurgitation or reflux,IBS, thyroid problems, hives, and blurred vision or cataracts.

The points I would select are ST-30, which is the confluent point of the ST-SP channel divergence; CV-12, which I might choose to gua sha in order to expel wind, if the food allergy manifests as hives or skin rashes; ST-9, which will open the sensory orifices that are clouded by the drug; ST-4, which happens to be the entrance for the drug; and BL-1, the uniting point of the ST and SP channel divergence.

This treatment, minus ST-4, might also prove to be useful in cases of thyroid disease leading to increased blood sugar levels due to medication.

Herbally, I would add Sang Ji Sheng and Shu Di to a formula which clears the mind by treating the Spleen.  I would select Si Jun Zi Tang, and substitute Fu Shen for Fu Ling, and increase the dosage of Bai Zhu.

As always, this post is intended for theoretical purposes only.

Happy slayage!

Would this treatment work for cases of drug-laced food?  I don’t know.