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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Fear Itself (Buffy Season 4, Episode 4)

On the face of it, this is an episode about fear — or more precisely, a psychological study of each character’s own particular personal insecurities.  Buffy can’t protect the whole group, Oz fears the wolf inside him will overpower him, Xander feels invisible, Willow has her own fears about her ability to produce workable magic, and Anya is focused on Xander.  Like the fear demon who appears at the end of the episode, each person’s fear is only a small thing which gets magnified out of proportion when attention — in this episode, going around in circles in a labryinthine fraternity house; in real life, a perpetual mulling in the mind, heart, or soul — is fixed on it.  A closer look at the script reveals another theme emerging in bits and pieces throughout the episode:  a preoccupation with the face.  This post will therefore treat the topic of Chinese medical facial diagnosis.

(For those interested in fear and mulling, as separate phenomena, please see my earlier posts on Season 3, episodes 8 and 13, and Season 2, Episode 6.)

The episode begins with Xander’s attempt at creating a ferociously scary expression on his pumpkin ending up merely dryly sardonic.  Willow and Oz chip in by noting its mocking eyes and nose of self-loathing.  A perfectly systematic face reading, though geared strictly towards expressiveness, rather than medicine.  Meanwhile, Buffy is going through a post-Parker depression and ‘what’s wrong with me’ self-perception.  (My post on the Season 2 Halloween episode treats comfort with one’s self.)  Buffy’s pumpkin is left as a  “freak with no face”.  Later, Joyce gets “nostalgia face” in a mother-daughter encounter over Buffy’s Little Red Riding Hood costume.   Eyes come back into the picture when peeled grapes turn into literal eyeballs at the now haunted frat house.  After the gang arrives, Willow lashes out at Buffy, saying her face is 50/50.  Xander himself cannot be seen, due to his fear of his own invisibility to his friends, although he does note that bloody face in corner can see and speak to him.  Oz fears his wolf-face, although in this instance ‘face’ isn’t mentioned as such.  Finally, we note the illustration of the fear demon’s appearance (actual size) led Buffy not to want to fight it, if possible.  Of course, once they discovered the demon’s actual size, thoughts changed…

Facial Diagnosis in Chinese medicine consists of two aspects:  quality and quantity.  Quantity is governed by dividing up the face into sections which reflect parts of the body (or life). Several systems emerged during the course of Chinese history, the most popular of which superimposes a figure over the face so that its abdomen covers the nose, the arms wrap the eyes, the legs cross lotus-style around the mouth, and the head is at yin-tang or just above, in the centre of the forehead.  This system therefore treats the nose as the site at which the state of the viscera is ascertained, while the bowels or external areas are viewed along the edge of the nose.  The Lungs are uppermost, between the eyes, below which is the Upper Pivot, then the Heart (some texts place the Heart in between the eyes, and the Lungs in between the eyebrows), a place marked ‘On the Road’, the Liver, the Spleen, and the tip is called ‘wang mian’.  Beside the nose are the stomach; beside the corners of the mouth, the small intestine, and above that and towards the corner of the jaw is the large intestine.  The Kidneys are just in front of the ears, near the ‘Three Silly Geese’ acupuncture points (TH21, SI19, GB3).  Manuscript P. 3390, housed in the Biblioteque Nationale offers some illustrations of medieval physiognomy charts from Dun Huang, and are reproduced in Lo and Cullen’s book treating the Dun Huang medical texts, Medieval Chinese Medicine.

Quality is found by looking at lustre, colour, suppleness, blood (vessels), and blemishes with regard to the skin of the face. While lustre gives an indication of fluid balance in the body, and the presence of spider veins indicates pathology in a particular channel (e.g. along the zygoma would indicate a Small Intestine Luo Vessel issue, dealing with discomfort at or desire for attention from others), by far the most important aspect to look at is the overall colour of the complexion. The colours of the complexion differ from mere skin colour.  Just as the state of blood can be seen as if through the gauze of the skin, so also can the sort of colours described in the classics be seen ‘through’ or ‘reflecting out of’ the facial complexion.

The colours noted in the classics typically follow a five-phase pattern:  cyan indicates wood, red fire, yellow earth, white metal, and black water.  However, facial diagnosis also paid attention to prognosis, and these colours were distinguished into auspicious and inauspicious colours.  For example, if the complexion was black like double lacquered boxes or a crow’s feather, the patient would live; if it was a dull black like coal, the patient would die.  Likewise, cinnabar red or cockscomb red was positive; a complexion of ochre, coagulated blood, and dry red leaves foretold death.  Indigo indicated poor prognosis, but as did the colour of young or wet grass and lichen.  However, cyan like the wings of a mandarin duck, a wheat shoot, foliage, jade, or a blue-green wall were all positive signs of health.  White like quicklime and dried bone was inauspcious, while soft white like a goosefeather, or lustrous white like porkfat and precious jade signified recovery.  Yellow earth like the hearth was a poor prognosis, but that like silk thread or a crab’s belly was better.

Eyes are sometimes looked at, too, for their overall expression, catchlights, and sclera colour.  Glassy or shiny eyes indicate a shen disturbance, usually one needing to be anchored.  Dull eyes indicate that the Heart needs nourishment.  More detailed analysis of the eyes, or specifically the iris, falls into the realm of iridology.

Huang Fu Mi writes, “Complexion,pulse, and cubit skin correspond with one another… So it follows then that a cyan complexion will be accompanied by a wiry pulse; a red complexion by a hook-like pulse; a yellow complexion by an interrupted pulse; white by a hair pulse; and black by a stone-like pulse.  If one observes a certain complexion and it is not accompanied by its pulse but rather by the pulse of its restraining phase, then this portends death.  If by the engendering phase, recovery.”  (Jia Yi Jing Scroll 4, Chpater 2, Part 1, section 1.)

Taking the Jia Yi Jing approach, treatment would then follow a five-phase approach, in which the meridian to be treated corresponds to the facial complexion; points would be selected based on the pulse indications of generating or controlling cycle.  Alternately, a Ling Shu approach could follow the same method of diagnosing an elemental pair of meridians, but the points selected for needling would then nuance the treatment to address whether the illness varied by time of day, whether it was hot or cold, affected the meridian or organs, or was due to some form of blood stagnation.

As always, this post is for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you could benefit from Chinese Medical approaches to health, please see a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

The Harsh Light of Day (Buffy Season 4, Episode 3)

Ah, the beginning of college.  So many people to meet, so many interesting personalities to encounter.  Looks like the time for all sorts of new sexual relationships to begin, too, at least in Sunnydale (Xander-Anya; Buffy-Parker; Spike-Harmony).  And with those new sexual relationships come the possibility of infectious diseases.  As one clinician commented to me once, ‘this is what happens when you put college men and women together at the start of the year.  Everyone just goes [sex-]crazy.’

(As a side note, this episode made me realise that Spike is the embodiment of Buffy’s relationship shadow.  He’s the one who always spoke clearly about her relationship with Angel, and in this episode he appears right after Buffy is figuratively punched in the stomach by Parker.)

Lucky for Spike, he prefers syphilis to Harmony.  Given Harmony’s petulance, I can see why.  While I might suggest a Japanese KD channel treatment for Harmony, to centre her enough that she is no longer needy, has a sense of self that she can manage, stop her whining (the sound of Kidney water is groaning, which could include whining, like ice giving way in the winter), and give her the confidence to be alone and at peace, it is Spike’s syphilis, and another spirochete bacteria, Lyme’s disease, that I want to address in this post.

Syphilis was difficult to treat, both in Asia and in Europe (and later, after colonisation, the Americas and Africa as well).  Today, powerful antibiotics have proven fairly successful in treating syphilis, and I typically refer patients I suspect of having an STI out to an allopathic clinic.  Since herbal medicine acts more slowly than pharmaceuticals, and since STIs are very easy to transmit, it makes more sense from a public health perspective.

Historically, one reason syphilis was difficult to treat is because it appears to goes away, becoming latent in the body, only to re-emerge as ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ syphilis.  Therefore, it is difficult to know if a cure was effected.  Interestingly, mercury was used in both Western and Eastern medicine, and a homeopathic tincture is still given to people who have inherited a certain syphilitic pattern from their grandparents.  The indications for this medication remarkably parallel descriptions of when mercury was indicated for use in the Shen Nong Ben Cao.  Because homeopathic tinctures have no identifiable active substances — the poisons have been tinctured away into incredible minute quantities — it raises the question of whether a purified form of mercury, amalgamated with other substances to destroy its toxicity, was used, similar perhaps to how mercury-containing compounds are still used in Tibetan medicine today.  This idea becomes all the more potent when one considers that homeopathic tinctures often have the opposite effect of what their constituent substances have.  In other words, if the description of mercury’s effects in the Shen Nong Ben Cao parallel those of the homeopathic materia medica, it stands to reason that actual mercury was not being used, but rather some modified form of it.

Speculations about mercury aside, both syphilis and Lyme’s disease are caused by the rather novel class of bacteria called spirochetes.  Both have a tendency to go latent.  Therefore, the Channel Divergences, which are specifically concerned with latent pathogens, are an ideal place to begin looking for diagnostic clues.  Since we don’t have an actual case in front of us, let us turn to the herbal tradition first, and see what possible channels we can derive from there.

Herbally, Tu Fu Ling, or smilax glabra, was used to treat syphilis (in addition to mercury).  Tu Fu Ling relieves toxicity, eliminates dampness, clears heat, and goes to the Liver and Stomach channels.  Interestingly, in the Buddhist tradition, heat is a form of desire; so this herb may also help regulate sexual desire (although by the time someone contracted syphilis from over-frequenting brothels, or from a partner who did so, such regulation might be considered too late; at the very least, it may stem transmission, however).  For these purposes, it was often combined with Jin Yin Hua (which also relieves toxicity, and goes to the LU/LI and ST channels) and Bai Xian Pi, cortex Dictamni.  Bai Xian Pi goes to the Spleen and Stomach channels and eliminates dampness and damp-heat, including dampt-heat bi.

From these three herbs, we can think of the ST/SP, LI/LU, and possibly the GB/LV channel divergences as possible places to start.  However, since only one of the herbs is specific to bi-syndrome, namely Bai Xian Pi, I would suggest we look at the ST/SP channel divergence first.

Usually, I think of the ST/ SP channel divergence when I am confronted with someone who has food allergies, IBS, or other digestive problems.  However, the opening point for this channel divergence is ST-30, which happens to be associated with the Chong Mai, and thus with the blood.  The ST/SP CD is particularly concerned with using fluid, usually to support blood, but also to allow the opening of the upper orifices.  the sensory orifices rely on pure yang fluids to function properly.

The other function of the ST/ SP CD is to treat cases of phlegm misting the orifices, both the upper orifices in the case of cataracts, and the orifices of the Heart.  In this respect, one can see how an unresolved pathogen like Lyme’s disease can progress to the SI/ HT CD, symptoms of which include neurological problems.  These problems, from the point of view of Classical Chinese medicine do not begin spontaneously; they have a history.  That history involves the consumption and drying of fluids.  The first signs may be fever and thirst, middle signs numbness and tingling of the limbs, and the latter signs occur after the pathogen has depleted the thin fluids, and the body must now draw on thick fluids supplied by the SI/ HT CD.  In the case of the SP CD, phlegm-fluid is trying to block wind, that is, neurological symptoms, from moving to the head.  The treatment goal, then, is to release the wind and generate fluid.

The point selection would then be ST-30 (opening point), ST-9 (opens the orifices), CV-23 (for poor memory), BL-1 (closing point).  CV-12 or CV-14 could be added, depending on symptoms; CV-12 disperses into the Spleen (being the root of SP-1), while CV-14 would help any HT or Shen related symptoms.  The points would be needled in pairs ascending the body, or looped from healthy side to unhealthy side, so that the final point ends up being SP-1 or ST-45.  The needle technique would be shallow-deep-shallow, if trying to expel the pathogen.  If the person has no fluids in reserve, then the needle technique would be deep-shallow-deep, in order to promote latency.  I would then consider nourishing the HT and ye-fluids with herbal medicine (Zeng Ye Tang comes to mind:  Xuan Shen, Shu Di, Mai Dong).

Regarding the GB/LV channel divergence, which is the other possibility based on herbal theory, I would note that in Europe a small purplish node sometimes occurs on the scrotum, near the nipple, or on the earlobe not long after infection.  All these areas are associated with the LV or GB channel divergence.  The GB/LV CD is usually affected before the ST/SP CD.  This might come about in the case of Lyme’s disease when the person has adequate physiological fluids, or when the pathogen enters directly into the blood, which is stored by the LV.  (Thus, from the tick’s connection to the blood, a pathology can manifest in the Sea of Blood — the Chong Mai, ST-30; or in the LV, which stores the Blood.)

The treatment points would then be CV-2 or CV-3 (top of pubic hair is what the Ling Shu states); LV-13 (SP mu point, drains into Dai Mai); ST-5 (holds latency); GB-1 (closing point)

Finally, if we think of the skin as the point of entry, we could look at the LI/ LU channel divergence.  Only two points are common to both channels, ST-12, LI-18.  I might use this for the initial stages, perhaps, when infection is only skin-deep, but once a rash has developed, I would stick to either the ST-SP or GB-LV Channel Divergence, if treating exclusively with acupuncture.

As always, although based on actual Classical Chinese medical theory, this post is for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you could benefit from the traditions and techniques of Chinese Medicine, please find a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

Beauty and the Beasts (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 4)

This is the Dr Jekyll – Mr Hyde episode of Buffy, the episode of an abusive boyfriend.  We see Buffy and Willow confront the soon to be victim of her boyfriend’s rages and insecurities.  Buffy says the best treatment for a black eye is not to get hit in the first place.

It is true that the best treatment for a black eye is not to get hit in the first place, prophylactically speaking.  Even leaving the abuser puts an end to the problem, at least from the survivor’s perspective, but it does not solve the pathology.  Avoiding being hit, or leaving an abusive partner ignores treating the one who does the abusing — and sometimes they are the ones who need treatment the most.  While I do not suggest that the survivor try to remain in contact with a violent partner, East Asian physiology presents an explanation for how emotions can override rationality — and if it has a physiology, it has a treatment possibility.

When we look at emotions, one of the first channel systems to examine are the luo meridians.  Secondarily, we might evaluate the Extraordinary Vessels.

Luo meridians are examined physically by observing the skin along the trajectory of a channel for spider veins, and by palpating along the channel looking for small nodules or lipomas.  The presence of spider veins indicates luo vessel fulness, while nodules indicate the vessel has emptied itself and the pathology has either flowed into the associated primary channel, its yin-yang pair (check source and luo points on both primary channels), or into the next luo vessel.

One way to remember these distinctions is to think of blood as the physical carrier of emotions.  If the body cannot express those emotions, it stores them away for a later date; in the process, it creates new blood vessels.  These vessels show up as spider veins.  If the spider veins empty pathologically, what has happened is the tissue has dried up and shrunk, leaving a small hard nodule.  (Sometimes the nodules are soft and gummy.)

Physiologically, spider veins are created when an area of the body swells.  The swelling sends a signal to the body to begin angiogenesis so that metabolic waste (“toxins”) can be swept out of the area, white blood cells can be brought in to fight infection, and other nutrients supplied to help heal injured tissue.  When the swelling goes down, the newly created capillaries are not necessarily reabsorbed into the body.  Instead, they can show up as spider veins.  Spider veins are thus often a reaction to heat (inflammation).

The Ling Shu details the symptoms associated with fulness and emptiness of each luo meridian.  It also describes the trajectory of these meridians.  Through careful questioning, the practitioner can gain an idea of which channels to look at and palpate.  Alternately, the appearance of very visible spider veins can lead the practitioner to ask additional questions and incorporate those answers into an overall understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the physiology of the patient at hand.

Some men (or women) become abusive and violent because their emotions get out of control.  This may be a case of losing control of one’s emotions or getting highjacked by them.  Either way, feelings and emotions being out of control is a sign of Stomach Luo fulness.

The trajectory of the ST luo meridian begins at the midpoint of the lower leg (ST-40) and travels up the centre of the thigh along the lateral edge of the rectus femoris.  A branch connects to the Kidney’s Luo on the abdomen before it reunites with a second branch which followed the stomach primary meridian trajectory.  The luo meridian then travels up into the chest and throat before entering the head and brain, after which it moves down the other side of the head to the throat.

When we saw the transformation from Mr Hyde into Dr Jekyll we clearly saw the blood vessels of this trajectory bulging all along the throat and temples.  Clearly, this is a Stomach Luo condition from both theoretical and clinical observational perspectives.

Jeffrey Yuen points out that the relationship between the Stomach and Kidney luo meridians is important.  The emotion associated with the Kidneys is fear, and it may be that the root pathology lies not in the Stomach so much as the Kidneys.  Thus both must be addressed.  Certainly in this episode, we know that Dr Jekyll started his poorly advised self-treatment to impress his girlfriend, make himself more masculine, more attractive, more — secure with himself.  He acted out of fear.

As a side note, this post is for theoretical purposes only.  If you feel Chinese medicine may benefit you or someone you love, please seek a qualified practitioner.

Treatment would be to disperse the Stomach luo vessels using blood letting, to strengthen the Spleen, and to regulate the Kidney luo,.

The Stomach luo would be dispersed first by bloodletting.  The spider veins along the channel trajectory would also be bloodlet.  Then ST-40 could be needled with a dispersive technique while SP-3 is needled.

Tonifying the Spleen using the source point activates the source-luo relationship between points and meridians.  In terms of physiology, the Spleen brings restraint into the picture, because the Spleen holds the blood and does not allow it to flow recklessly.

Finally, the Kidney luo can be regulated by dispersing KD-4 and tonifying the Bladder source point, BL-64 (use a short, thin needle and a tube!).

However, the Kidney channel is also intimately related to two Extraordinary Vessels, one of which deal with how a person integrates his or her own internal experiences (Yin Qiao Mai), the other of which involves a person’s posture to him or herself and provides contingencies for preserving the self in the world (Yin Wei Mai).  I would be prone to using the EVs to address the root issues of fear and insecurity, rather than using the source-luo combination of KD and BL.

The points I would choose are left KD-3, to open the Yin Qiao Mai, bilaterally at ST-9 or points on the abdomen, which relates the channel back to the Stomach Luo; then CV-22 (a point on the Yin Wei Mai) to release any blockage in the throat (manifested by an inability to speak one’s feelings calmly) and KD-9 (the xi-cleft point of Yin Wei Mai), closing with right PC-6.  Needles are inserted to a deep level, vibrated, and left in place for 40 minutes.  This treatment happens once a week.  Re-evaluate after three months.

Luo meridian treatments can take place every other day.

Herbally, one does not usually think of herbs to disperse blood; however, we know that the Spleen could benefit from being strengthened.

I would therefore use Bai Zhu and Mu Dan Pi to cool and invigorate the blood while strengthening the Spleen.  I would consider adding Hou Po to address the throat and any phlegm which may have obstructed the mind.  Remember ST-40 treats phlegm, including phlegm clouding the mind; therefore, phlegm resolving herbs may help in the case of Stomach Luo fulness.  Finally, I would add Shi Gao to calm any heat lodged in the Stomach meridian.

As always, these posts are for theoretical purposes.  Please see a qualified practitioner if you feel Asian medicine may benefit you or someone you love.

May your resolution be a peaceful one.