Hypothesis on the Mechanism of Therapeutic Action in Acupuncture

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meridiansAcupuncture has been around for three millennium. It has been used to lower blood pressure, treat stroke, induce anesthetic effects, relieve pain and stress, assist with delivery and menopause, reduce heartburn and a plethora of other conditions; yet the mechanism of action by which acupuncture demonstrates its effects is not well understood. Humans, curious beings that we are, are not satisfied with this lack of knowledge and so research is beginning to shed light on what exactly causes the effects that are seen. As such, there are five hypotheses for the mechanism of action, in a biological context, that acupuncture is working on.

1. The Neurotransmitter Hypothesis:

– This hypothesis is based on the evidence that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the release of four neurotransmitters to reduce pain. These neurotransmitters are: enkephalin, beta-endorphin and endomorphin, and dynorphin. These are opioid peptides, which influence pain response, stress management, and food intake. Greater results can be achieved by alternating the amount of Hz utilized in an electro stimulation treatment. Acupuncture also influences dopamine3 and as such could be used as an adjudicative treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.

2. Autonomic Nervous System Hypothesis:

– This hypothesis appears to be an extension of the first where use of acupuncture stimulates the production of norepinephrine and acetylcholine, among other opioids, which in turn reduces pain and normalizes the response in of the autonomic nervous system. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to decrease neural activity in the limbic system in the brain as seen in the last 10 minutes or so of this video.

3. Vascular interstitial hypothesis:

– The thought here is that acupuncture effects the electrical system of the body and by altering the electrical stimulus in certain areas, acupuncture is able to promote healing. This is supported by the discovery of bongham ducts, the relation of acupuncture meridians to natural dermatomes, and the findings of Motoyama the latter of whom states that a reversal of normal electric current occurs in the yin meridians when the body is in a state of disease. This hypothesis has a particular merit (along with the Gate Control hypothesis) when considering acupuncture, especially with electrical stimulation, for anesthetic effects and for treating electrically sensitive individuals.

4. Gate Control Hypothesis:

– This hypothesis is quite similar to the previous one but instead it is thought that acupuncture is inhibiting the pain response by activating the non nociceptive receptors.

5. Blood Chemistry Hypothesis

– This hypothesis appears to be the most holistic of them all and simply proposes that acupuncture affects the blood concentration of triglycerides, cholesterol, nitric oxide, and phospholipids9 10. This appears to be the opinion of Chris Kresser L.Ac.11 and it does have some support from the acupuncture tradition itself. In Traditional Chinese Medical thought blood is the mother of qi, and qi is the commander of blood. While not a perfect correlation, Kresser points out that qi is heavily linked to air or oxygen and therefore one could interpret qi as the O2 molecules that are necessary for blood to function in the body.

Acupuncture is not a stagnant practice. While tradition does play an enormous part in its teaching and use, new research is constantly being done to find the mechanisms and update this wonderful system of treatment to the modern world. Just like how modern medicine is always researching new techniques and modalities, so is Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is a versatile system that has a lot to offer to the world of today.



What can Traditional Chinese Medicine Do?

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of healthcare that has been around for three thousand years. In that time the modalities of TCM have seen many health conditions. The TCM approach is holistic, which takes the body as a complete system. This is a very similar approach to the mindset of osteopathic medicine. There are four major modality divisions in TCM.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the most well known of the modalities. Acupuncture is when needles are inserted into the body at specific points to realign the body with itself. Through this modality, and with the support of others, one can successfully treat:

1. Pain, especially chronic

2. Circulation issues

3. Metabolic issues

4. Immune deficiencies

5. Inflammatory conditions

6. Sleeping issues

7. Paralysis (in some cases)

Acupuncture can also take the form of Colorpuncture and Electro Stimulation.

Color puncture is useful for more sensitive patients and can be used as an adjudicative therapy for psychological disorders.

Electro Stimulation is used for more specific nerve issues such as:

carpal tunnel syndrome

frozen shoulder

tennis elbow




paralysis and numbness/tingling


2. Herbal and dietary therapy

Herbal therapy, nutrition, and dietary therapy is a very useful as a supplemental modality to acupuncture, or can be used as a primary therapy. This modality can and should be used with almost all of the conditions mentioned in the acupuncture section. Herbal therapy should also be considered for:

1. Weight Loss

2. Impotence, infertility

3. Gynecological issues

4. Low energy

5. Psychological disorders

6. Thyroid disorders

7. Edema

8. Detoxification

9. Autoimmune disorders

Additionally, herbal therapy can be used topically for:


skin conditions


muscle relaxants


3. Body work

Bodywork is a fairly broad modality that encompasses a number of manual manipulations of the acupuncture points and meridians through pressure, cupping, gua sha, and tui na. These are good modalities for immediate, usually short term relief that are also useful for beginning or ending a treatment.

Acupressure is manipulating the acupuncture points via pressure.This is best used for:

1. Headaches

2. Unconsciousness

3. Stiffness

Cupping is the use of cups to suction stagnation in the body into one area. This will cause welts/bruises/, but does give immediate relief. This is paticuarly useful for back, shoulder and neck pain over a broad area.

Gua sha is scraping and will leave a red marks. This is a very good pain relief method and is used for the same conditions that cupping is used for. Gua sha can also be used to help disperse the welts of cupping.

Tui Na, broadly, is the manual adjustment of the body and was part of the inspiration for the modern chiropractic practice. Most acupuncturists have some training with Tui Na, and this modality is particularly good for joint stiffness.


4. Qi gong

Qigong is a two part modality with one part being energy work and the other part being breathing exercises.

Energy work is effectively identical to Reiki and is useful for:

stress reduction



Breathing exercises are useful for internal regulation and your acupuncturist may recommend some of these. Breathing exercises are useful for:

stress reduction

psychological disorders

hot flashes

body awareness (this takes awhile to cultivate)

greater energy


Your TCM practitioner will be versed in most if not all of these modalities and as such has a broad scope of practice. There are many things that TCM provider can treat and if you have questions they would be happy to speak with you.

Benifits of Being Healthy

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–  While eating healthy can cost a pretty penny, especially if one tries to avoid wheat and eat organic, the possibility of higher costing medical bills is much less.
–  For benefits coordinators, reducing the stress of your employees and making sure that the working environment is clean, leads to:
1.  Increased productivity from fewer sick days, happier employees, and less fatigue
2.  Decreased turnover from greater employee loyalty
3.  Decreased health expenditures from healthier employees
4.  When health issues do arise, they are resolved more quickly if they are taken care of early.

–  Medical debut is the leading cause of bankruptcy filings. A healthier lifestyle could avoid this.

Self esteem:
–  Being healthy by eating right, taking some supplements, addressing concerns early, and getting a reasonable amount of sleep, will help you to have a more positive and resilient attitude.

–  Being healthy helps to make life worth living.

–  Most people think that healthy exercise is going to involve a lot of running. Admittedly, running is a popular form of exercise but many people are bored by it. If you are healthy, you have the freedom and ability to do so many other activities (you can even do some of these to help you become healthy):
Martial Arts
Rock Climbing
Many others

Become a Superhero:
–  OK to actually achieve Batman or Captain America levels of fitness you would have to be at the gym a considerable amount of time. But that said there are some awesome people out there who are the closest thing you will see to a superhero and are an inspiration to the rest of us and they are not Olympians.. You could become one.



–  Healthy people have more appealing hair, skin, teeth, and age more gracefully over time.

Long term:

–  Healthy people live longer with greater physical and mental abilities and have less of a decline as they age.

–  Healthy people are able to remain active and keep up with their grand children.

– Healthy people are better able to help those they care about.

–  Healthy people last longer, and are more limber in the sack. Furthermore the confidence of looking good naked will lead to a better experience.

Changing Elements Acupuncture and Herbs is committed to helping you achieve your health goals and resolve any current ailments you may have. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Yin Wei Meridian

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Yin wei meridian

Chinese name:  Yin Wei Mai
Alternative name: Yin Link

Meridian/Organ Features:
Most active time    Night

C2- L4

Relationships with other meridians
–  The yin wei along with the yang wei have influence over the wei, and ying qi. The yin and yang wei meridians communicate the status of the wei and ying qi between each other.

–  The yin wei is paired with the chong for treatment of issues involving the ying qi and blood.

Special points of note

Master point/confluent: Pc 6
Coupling point with the Chong: Sp 4
Xi cleft:  Kd 9

Other points:
Lv 14, Sp 12, 13, 15, 16, Ren 22 and 23
Traditional number of total points: 9*, **

–  Some sources say 8 and do not include Sp 12
–  Sp 4 and PC 6 are not included in the count

–  Connects all yin meridians, particularly the lower ones of the Kidney, Spleen, and Liver with the Ren
–  Reinforces the Heart meridian and blood
–  Acts as a reservoir to absorb excess qi and blood from the twelve primary meridians
–  Acts on the Shen

Chest pain
Lateral costal pain
Lumbar pain
Abdominal distention
Rectal Prolapse
Poor concentration
Sudden collapse
Loss of voice
Genital pain

Special notes:
–  Under normal circumstances, anything that gets in to the extra meridians does not leave on its own accord.
–  The extra meridians are prone to patterns of excess and difficulty in communicating with themselves and other meridians.
–  The yin wei in particular is prone to internally generated pathogens.

The overall quality of a pulse that indicates an issue with the yin wei meridian is a pulse that beats laterally from a proximal to distal position (this is explained in more detail in “An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels)

Herbal Formulas:
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea:
Li zhong wan
Cold hands and feet with fatigue:
Si ni tang

Alternating chills and fever, vomiting food, hot and painful feeling rising from the stomach to the chest*:
dang gui si ni tang
wu zhu yu tang
wu mei wan

If a patient comes in with these symptoms, especially the last, they need to see a medical doctor immediately!

Poor thermo regulation with unstable mental emotional capacity
huang qi jian zhong tang
ba zhen tang


Deadman, Peter and Al-Khafaji, Mazin.  A Manual of Acupuncture, Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications, East Sussex, England, 2001

Chance, Charles and Shima, Miki.  An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels,  Eastland Press, Seattle, USA 2010

Amber Glasses for Better Health and Sleep

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

The text Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer! by Richard L. Hansler, Ph.D is an insightful look on the function of melatonin in the body, and its role in combating cancer, in particular breast, ovarian, and prostate. This book demonstrates that the use of blue spectrum light, particularly in the hours before sleep, impairs the body’s ability to produce melatonin which leads to a less restful sleep. As melatonin and other hormones, released from the pineal gland, are powerful, natural, antioxidants an impaired melatonin secretion would increase the likelihood of cancer developing.

Dr. Hansler has developed amber tinted glasses to filter out the blue spectrum light, which is common in most electric lights. These glasses allow for normal night time activities but will not affect the melatonin production. He has also developed light bulbs that do not emit light in the blue spectrum.

These products are useful for:

–  Cancer patients
–  Precancerous individuals
–  People who wish to resolve insomnia without drugs
–  Jet lag
–  Night, rotating, and swing shift workers
–  Night, high school, and college students
–  New parents, especially postpartum mothers. There is the added benefit that this may improve the child’s immune system
–  ADHD patients
–  Depression patients
–  Bipolar patients
–  SAD patients

Our office sells the amber glasses and the light bulbs for your convenience. Call to schedule your appointment today.

Review of various ‘supplement companies’

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

So I’ve been seeing a number of these nutritional companies around and decided to do a brief review of them. There are a few others that I need to review, but I would like to give out this information so anyone who sees these companies has a better baseline to go off of if you have to deal with them.

–  Contains Ma Huang/Rubarb which makes you poop more.
–  Prior to 2002 contained Ephedra which is an appetite suppressant
–  Ruled an illegal pyramid scheme by the commercial court in Brussels
–  Some shady dealings in there upper levels
–  3 studies with no significant measure that it produces weight loss better than any other product or a placebo
–  Suspicion that some of the products may have caused liver disease.

–  two studies, each with no more than 60 individuals
–  research conducted in China on healthy individuals, Vemma is Canadian or American
–  one of the studies basically stated that it did get antioxidants into the body
–  the second study stated that the participants self reported feeling healthier
–  vemma products contain lithium and vanadium, one treats depression and the other lowers blood sugar. These factors MUST be pointed out to people who may be on diabetic medication or other such things
–  Mangosteen, the active ingredient, is an antioxidant which means that people undergoing cancer treatments should be aware of any reactions this could have with their treatment.   There is no proof that it is a better antioxidant than other fruits.
–  Aloe Vera (gel form) is used as an ingredient in this and this is something used by Chinese Medicine so there are medical uses for it. That said Aloe Vera may be a blood thinner.

Mona Vie
–  Claims antioxidant effects, there are none on adults
–  Has conducted no studies
–  Should not be used by pregnant women
–  Causes fluctuations with clotting time and therefore should be avoided by people on blood thinners
–  Welch’s grape juice, according to Men’s Journal, has 5x the level of vitamin C and is much cheaper.
–  Misleading claims
–  Shady CEO
–  Sued by Amway, Oprah, and Imagenetix

–  no scientific studies done on their products
–  Moringa, the active ingredient, is in early research
–  active ingredient is traditionally used to alter glucose and blood pressure levels so people on blood thinners and diabetics should be careful

–  no scientific studies
–  potentially misleading labeling


Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments


Chinese Name: Ge gen
Latin Name: Pueraria lobata, Pueraria thomsonii, (sometimes confused with arrowroot)
English Name: Kudzu
Category: Wind Heat Releasing Herbs
Taste: Sweet, acrid, cool
Channels: Spleen, Stomach
Part of plant: Roots, flowers


Dispels Wind from Exterior and Releases Muscles (unprocessed is better)
–  Wind cold without perspiration, combo with gui zhi, ma huang,
–  Neck pain add Qiang Huo
–  if acute, large dosage of Ge Gen, and add Bai Shao and Gan Cao
– Wind Heat (esp. if affecting the liver) combo with Chai Hu, Huang Qin, and Shi Gao
– Wind cold with perspiration combo with Gui Zhi and Bai Shao
– Half interior half exterior combo with Qiang Huo, Chai Hu, Huang Qin, and Shi Gao
Promotes the Eruption of Measles Combo with Sheng Ma, Bai Shao and Gan Cao
 Clears Heat, Generates Fluids
– Thirst from diabetes or fever add Mai Men Dong, Tian Hua Fen, Shu Di Huang, and Huang Qi
–  Type I Diabetes add Tian Hua Fen, Sheng Di Huang, Mai Men Dong and Zhi Mu
–   Irritability add Zhi Zi
Lifts Yang Qi, and Stops Diarrhea (roasted is better, 4-6g)
–  Damp Heat Dysentery add Huan Lian and Huang Qin
–  Chronic Diarrhea from Spleen and Stomach qi prolapse add Ren shen, Bai Zhu, Fu ling and Mu Xiang
–  Spleen deficiency or body fluids injured add Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Mu Xiang, and Fu ling
–  Normalize stomach Qi add Ban Xia and Sheng Jiang
Treats Hypertension
–  Water decoction and alcohol extract are used to reverse acute myocardial ischemia

Bio indications:
–  Use the flower bud to relieve hangover, add Ren shen, Bi Dou Kou, and Chen Pi. 3-12g in pill form or decoction.
Coronary artery disorder
Sudden deafness
Migraine Headache

Cautions and Contraindications:
Caution with antidiabetic drugs
Caution with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs

LD 50:
For IV of alcohol extract is 2.1 +/- 0.12g/kg in mice

Dosage: 10-20g, max of 60g
Horses and cattle: 20-60g
Llamas, alpacas, goats and pigs: 3-15g
Dogs: 2-5g
Cats and rabbits: 0.5-1g
Birds: 0.3-3g

Chemical composition:
4,6-o-diacethy puerarin
daidzein 4
triterpenoid sapogenols:
soyasapogenol A, B

In non desert environments Kudzu THRIVES. It is not recommended that one intentionally try to grow this plant, just find a source that hasn’t had herb and/or pesticides used on it. This is a very prolific, invasive species of plant in the US.

Good quality kudzu roots for medicinal purposes should be large, solid, powdery, white, and not very fibrous.

From Wikipedia:
“The roots contain starch, which has traditionally been used as a food ingredient in East Asia. In Vietnam, the starch called bột sắn dây is flavoured with pomelo oil and then used as a drink in the summer. In Japan, the plant is known as kuzu and the starch named kuzuko. Kuzuko is used in dishes including kuzumochi, mizu manjū, and kuzuyu.
The flowers are used to make a jelly.[15] Roots, flowers, and leaves of Kudzu show antioxidant activity that suggests food uses.[15] Kudzu has also been used for centuries in East Asia to make tisanes and tinctures.[16] Kudzu powder is used in Japan to make a tisane called kuzuyu.”

Other Uses:
Shampoos to help grow hair
Erosion control
Soil enhancer
Livestock grazing feed
From Wikipedia:
“Kudzu fiber, known as ko-hemp,[17] is used traditionally to make clothing and paper,[18] and has also been investigated for industrial-scale use.[19][20] The stems are traditionally used for basketry.[21] It may become a valuable asset for the production of cellulosic ethanol.[22] In the Southern United States, kudzu is used to make soaps, lotions, and compost.[23]”


Chen, John K. and Tina T. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Art of Medicine Press, Inc. City of Industry, CA USA 2001, pg 81-83

Xie, Huisheng and Preast, Vanessa. Xie’s Chinese Veterinary Herbology, Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa USA, 2010, pg 94-95


ceadmin one comments

MugwortChinese Name: Ai Ye
Latin Name: Artemisia argyi
English Name: Mugwort leaf/wormwood leaf, Moxa, St. John’s plant (NOT St. John’s wort)
Category: Herbs that stop bleeding
Taste: bitter, acrid, warm
Channels: SP, LV, KD
Part of plant: Leaf

Actions: Warming
Stops Bleeding
Relieves Pain and itching
Stops cough and wheezing
Dries Dampness, dispels Phlegm
Unprocessed: better for dispelling cold and drying dampness
Vinegar processed: dispel cold and relieve pain
Charred: Stop bleeding
Processed: less stomach irritation

Bio indications:
thermostatic (charred is best)

bacillus anthracis
alpha hemolytic streptococcus
beta hemolytic streptococcus
Corynebacterium diptheria
Diplococcus pneumoniae
Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus citreus
Staphylococcus albus
Bacillus subtilis

Anti asthmatic (in animal studies)
Antitussive (oral administration of essential oil, for dogs, cats, and guinea pigs)
Cholagogic (2% solution increases production and excretion of bile)

Unstable pregnancy, with
Ai Ye 6g
Sha Ren 6g
E Jiao 15g
Bai Zhu 15g
Huang Qin 12g
Su Geng 12g
Sang Ji Sheng 24g
Du Zhong 24g

Chronic tracheitis (essential oil 2x per day for 10 days)
Bronchial asthma, allergic dermatitis, eczema, allergic rhinitis, chemical and drug allergies, 0.15ml of essential oil 3x per day, oral administration
Liver disorders
Bacterial dysentery, 40ml of 20% decoction, 4x per day
Malaria 15-30g, 2hrs before onset of symptoms for 2 days
Skin ulcer
15 g of Ai Ye, Lu Cha and Nu Zhen Zi, prepared as an herbal wash, 3x per day

Cautions and Contraindications:

not for people with yin deficiency or heat in the blood
topical use may irritate the skin and cause local inflammation
oral ingestion of essential oil of Ai Ye may lead to an increase in appetite
may speed up digestion of other medications/herbs. 4-8oz of grapefruit juice with a 10 day on 5 day off stagger, can help alleviate this problem.
Not for pregnant women

LD 50: essential oil 2.47 ml/kg via oral ingestion, in mice

Decoction: 3-10g per cup of water, w/ 1 cup of tea
Essential oil: 0.1ml
Tincture: 1:2 or 1:3, 1-5ml 3x per day (5-20 drops)
Adverse reactions may occur at 20-30g
Fatality may occur at 100g

Small animal
Dried: 25-500mg/kg (divide total and give 3x per day)
Decoction: 5-15g per cup, 1/4-1/2 cup per 20lbs, (divide total and give 3x per day)
Tincture 1:2-1:3, 0.5-2.5ml per 20lbs (divide total and give 3x per day), dilute or combine w/ other herbs (see cautions and contraindications).
Acute: begins within 4 hours following ingestion. Symptoms include dry mouth and throat, thirst, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tinnitus, abdominal pain, diarrhea, tremor, generalized spasms. If not properly treated can lead to jaundice an liver damage.

Chronic: from prolonged exposure to high dosage. Symptoms include hypersensitivity reactions, numbness of the extremities, neuritis, hallucination, muscle spasms, and cramps. Even with treatment and recovery forgetfulness is noted as a lingering effect.

Treatment of OD:
Acute: after vomiting, 250 ml of milk or 6 egg whites to protect the stomach and neutralize any remaining toxin
If seizures and convulsions 0.6g of Niu Huang should be given to clear heat, eliminate toxins and stop seizures and epilepsy
If jaundice, yellow urine, bitter taste in mouth and wiry pulse, treat for jaundice.
Hu Zhang 15g
Yin Chen Hao 15g
Sheng Ma 15g
Huang Bai 12g
Che Qian Zi 15g
She Xiang 0.06g
2x daily, AM and PM

Hepatitis from OD:
Yin Chen Hao 30g
Ban Lan Gen 30g
Zhi Zi 9g
Long Dan Cao 9g
Gan Cao 9g
Che Qian Zi 15g
Dermatological reactions from direct contact
Hu Zang and Lei Gong Teng, 60g each, soak a towel in the decoction and apply to the affected area

Chemical composition:
D-alpha- phellandrene
alpha- cadinene
borneol acetate

The seeds need light to germinate, and will need to be kept at 45 degrees or so for a couple of weeks in order to encourage germination. The refrigerator will work for this. Take them out after the chilling period and place them in a bright, warm location until germination.


Take bundles of stems with leaves and remove the lower leaves for about 3 – 4″.
Do not wash in water; if they are wet they are likely to get moldy.
Check over the plants for obvious dirt and insects. and remove those leaves.
Take several bundles (not too many or there will not be enough air circulation), tie with string or a rubber band and hang upside down in a cool room out of direct light. Normal room temperature is fine; just no hot dry rooms or damp rooms. It will take several days to a week or so to dry completely. You may leave them there longer, as they are very attractive but not so long that they become dirty with dust or become too dry.

Take the bundles down, when dry, and pull off the leaves and place in a large bowl. “Scrunch” the leaves up to crumble them some and then place in air tight glass jars.
Store in a room or cupboard out of direct light in a dry room.


Try gathering the dew in the early morning and store it in jars with 1/3 to ½ 80 to 100 proof alcohol or drink immediately. The effects would be similar to the Flower Essence.

Other Uses:
Native Americans and others in many ways. It’s used today in dream pillows, sachets or bundles to keep away moths, as a poultice for rashes and stings, and as a bath herb when muscles are sore. Soak your feet in a “tea” or infusion made with mugwort. Travelers would place the leaves of mugwort in their shoes on their walking journeys.

Mugwort Poultice: for relieving the rash from poison ivy or poison oak, and insect bites. . Placing the leaves in a bowl with a very small amount of water, and crushing it with a wooden spoon or using a mortar and pestle will accomplish this. Once the leaves are mushy, place them on the area that is stinging and it will help relieve the itching, and swelling if that has occurred.

Culinary: One of the first herbs to be used to brew beers. Dried leaves only. Apparently fresh leaves make a horrible tasting beer.

Metaphysical: Mugwort is also used as a Warding herb (to repel/banish) negative energies, entities/spirits, wild beasts, weariness.
Dream Pillows: Mugwort, hops, lavender, dried rose petals and chamomile are a nice combination for dream pillows. Mix with dry rice or flax seed and make a small flat “pillow” that can be placed with in the pillowcase of a regular pillow. Or you can combine the herbs with fiberfill and make a flat square using a piece of cotton material and place this in the pillow. There are many ways to do this. The main thing is to enclose the herbs and be able to place them under the pillow while one sleeps. Richters Herbs carries mugwort seeds.



Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion by Cheng Xinnong

Functions and indications of moxibustion

Warm meridians and expel wind cold damp
For wind cold exterior syndrome
For interior cold syndrome
For yang deficiency
For Bi syndrome due to wind cold damp

Regulate qi and blood
For pain, skin numbness, Qisinking syndrome, Liver Yang rising syndrome, etc

Revive the yang for resuscitation
For yang collapse syndrome

Prevent diseases and keep healthy

Dissipate nodules, remove toxic heat
For early stage of sore/carbuncle/boil before the pus formation; scrofula; sores/carbuncle/boil couldn’t heal for a long time

Moxibustion should be used cautiously in cases of Yang hyperactivity with yin deficiency; excess heat syndrome

Moxibustion is forbidden on the abdominal region and lumbo-sacral region of pregnant women.

Observe patients’ reaction during moxibustion to adjust the intensity of heat in time to avoid causing burns;

For patients with coma, numbness of the skin / extremities, diabetes patients who have neuropathy, or who have conditions where sensitivity of local nerves may be diminished such as in neural injury, or pathology resulting in paralysis, etc, more attention is required.

Management of burn:
Small blisters can heal by themselves.
Large blisters should be punctured with a sterile needle and drained, then dressed with sterile gauze.
Burn ointment be applied when necessary.
Infection is the primary concern.
For moderate or severe burns, refer to emergency room or a physician.

The moxibustion sensation
Warm sensation, Slight burning pain of local skin, or deep inside, or along channels

The process for moxibustion
Yang first, yin later
back, abdomen,
upper part first, lower part later;
head body four limbs
Small cone first, big cone later
Fewer cones first, more cones later

The volume for moxibustion
10-15 minutes for moxastick on each point or until the skin turns pink / reddish
3-7 moxacones for each point or until the skin turns pink / reddish
Big cone, more units
Small cone, less units

C 8 (a) Direct moxabustion (thread moxibustion)


Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion by Cheng Xinnong

Scarring moxibustion
For asthma, chronic gastroenteritis, long term general weakness, etc
Preventing diseases and keep healthy

After scarring moxibustion, the patient should not do heavy physical work, and must keep the local skin clean to avoid infection

Non-scarring moxibustion
For all kinds of indications of moxibustion therapy, especially chronic diseases of cold deficient syndromes, skin warts, etc

Direct / scarring moxibustion should not be applied to the face, the private parts, the vicinity of large blood vessels and joints.

C 8 (b) Indirect moxabustion (stick or pole moxa)


Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion by Cheng Xinnong

Moxibustion with moxasticks
Mild-warming moxibustion
Function and indications:
To warm the meridians
expel wind, cold and dampness, for wind cold damp Bi
For all kinds of indications of moxibustion therapy, especially chronic diseases of deficient cold type

Circling moxibustion /Sparrow-pecking moxibustion
The moxa stick is pecked rapidly over the point, but does not burn the skin. May also be moved from left to right or in a circular manner.

Pressing moxibustion (herbal moxastick)
The Great Monad Herbal MoxaStick (Tai Yi ShenZhen);
Thunder-fire moxastick (Lei HuoShenZhen)
warm yang and expel cold, move Qi and blood, open the meridian and stop pain
Cold syndrome, blood stagnation syndrome, pain, etc

When using indirect moxa protect the patient’s skin from any falling moxa or ashes

Great Monad Herbal Moxa Stick
Ren Shen 125g
Chuan Shan Jiao 250g
Shan Yang Xue 90g (goat’s blood)
Qian Nain Jian 500g
Gu Di Feng 300g
Rou Gui 500g
Xiao Hui Xiang 500g
Cang Zhu 500g
Gan Cao 1000g
Fang Feng 2000g

Add a little musk as well.

Grind the herbs into a fine powder then add 24 grams of the herbs you wish to mix with it. Mix in 150g of moxa wool and then roll the entire mixture into a 40cm long stick and glue the paper together with egg white. Allow this to dry in a cool place.

When ready to use, light one end and place it into a dry cloth which has been folded into several layers. Direct the cloth, with the stick, onto the skin to serve as a hot compress 7-10 times. Good for joint pain, numbness, and motor impairment.

Thunder-fire Moxastick
Moxa wool 125g
Chen Xiang 9g
Mu Xiang 9g
Ru Xiang 9g
Qiang Huo 9g
Gan Jiang 9g
Chuan Shan Jiao 9g

All other preperation instructions are the same as the Great Monad Stick and has similar indications but is a little more focused on the muscles.

C 8 (c) Moxabustion on medium


Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion by Cheng Xinnong

Moxibustion with ginger
Expel cold, release exterior, warm the interior, stop vomiting. For exterior syndrome and deficient cold syndrome, such as common cold, cough, wind damp Bi, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.

Moxibustion with garlic
Remove toxin, kill worms.
For early stage of sore/carbuncle/boil, insect bite, psoriasis, tuberculosis, scrofula, etc

Moxibustion with salt on Ren 8
Warm interior
For abdominal pain, pain around umbilicus, pain cause by hernia, prolonged dysentery, chronic diarrhea, urinary retention, etc.
Revive the yang for resuscitation.
For yang collapse: profuse sweating, cold extremities, and hidden pulse

Moxibustion with monkshood (Fu Zi) cake
Warm kidney Yang
For yang deficiency, such as impotence, premature ejaculation, yin type sore.

C 8 (d) Moxibustion on needle handle


Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion by Cheng Xinnong

Warm and open meridians, move Qi and blood
Disorders need both acupuncture and moxibustion
cold damp Bi: joint pain, numbness and cold sensation; paralysis, muscle weakness and atrophy, etc mainly used on local areas

C 8(e) Moxabox


Commonly used on lower abdomen, lower back, etc

Though not widely used in China, an increasingly popular method in the West is the use of smokeless moxa. The following is the description for use in the modern clinic.
Smokeless moxa is a rod of charcoal impregnated with moxa. It burns hot, but slowly, at an average rate of just 2.7 inches per hour; the rods are about 4.5 inches long, so the total burning time is about 90 minutes before the rod becomes too short to use. The moxa is not easily lit, so it is common to use a torch rather than a simple lighter. Once lit, it burns consistently.
The smokeless moxa pole produces ash at the burning end which tends to stick to the rod. When trying to safely remove the ash from smokeless moxa, the stick should not be tapped against something (e.g., against an ashtray). The tapping, aside from making undesired noise, can crack the charcoal, generating a risk for a piece to fall off and burn the carpet, treatment table, or patient. Instead, the burning end of the moxa stick should be gently rubbed against the top edge and inside of a moxa extinguisher, which will be a quiet operation that dislodges the ash and does not crack the moxa rod.
The moxa extinguisher can be carried in an ashtray, so that the ash is contained. At the end of the moxa session, the moxa stick may be carefully retained while still burning for use with another patient (if it is to be used within minutes) or put out. It is important to check from time to time that all moxa rods are in their proper place so that none are left burning where they can cause damage.

Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, John K. Chen, Tina T. Chen
Veterinary Herbal Medicine, Susan G. Wynn, Barbara J. Fougere

Important News

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Photo of Erik JacksonI’m Erik Jackson, the acupuncturist of Changing Elements.  At my clinic I improve the lives of my clients by reducing their pain and alleviating other health concerns.  Through my treatment many individuals have been able to live their lives with more energy and greater control as a result of their improved health.  I achieve these results by treating the condition, its cause, and by informing my clients how to best manage their health long term while addressing their current maladies.

My approach to care is grounded in both Western anatomy and the meridian system Orient.  As such I am able to treat a wide array of aliments and nutritional deficiencies.

At my office you will receive prompt, individualized care with little to no waiting, as I value your time and respect your schedule.  While the overall duration of care is different for each person, I will provide you with a treatment plan with an estimate for how long your care will last.

Let me help you make a difference in your life.  Call to schedule your appointment today.

Revision of the Meridians of the Dorsal Aspect of the Body

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. one comments

In his article “Chinese Medicine Demystified1” Chris Kresser explained that the meridians of Chinese Medicine were an invention of Georges Soulie de Morant who translated the Huang Di Nei Jing into French. The meridians came about when de Morant studied Chinese anatomical diagrams that featured the acupuncture points, then drew lines connecting these points. According to Kresser, no such lines exist in the original text, though these points were known to have special physiological properties to the Chinese, as Kresser states:
“The original texts have drawings of major arteries going from the trunk into the legs. The points are arranged along these arterial routes.

The word De Morant translated as point is “jie”. Jie is more correctly translated as node, neurovascular node, or critical juncture. The Chinese knew that these nodes represent areas of fine vascular structures (arterioles, capillaries and venules – although they didn’t call them this at the time) and related nerves. Even 2,500 years ago, the superficial nodes were recognized to have afferent and efferent neural properties.
Modern research has demonstrated that neurovascular nodes (acupuncture points) contain a high concentration of sensory fibers, fine blood vessels, fine lymphatic vessels, and mast cells. These nodes are distributed along longitudinal pathways of the body where the collateral blood vessels supply the capillaries and fine vessels. The corneum stratum of the skin in these areas is slightly thinner with a lower electrical resistance. They also contain more sensory nerves, and have more fine vessels with sequestered mast cells than non nodes.”

Kresser also references the work of Donald Kendall2in this assessment.
When one takes into account the background of de Morant, the picture for the meridians becomes clearer. He was a Dutch banker, living for a time in China, and had some exposure to Indian culture. There are quirks with how some of the meridians are put together, particularly the Bladder being the only ‘double’ meridian with two distinct external lines. When the point wei guan xia shu, is considered the problems are even greater. It is on the inner line of the Bladder meridian and functions as the back shu point for the pancreas. It is unusual that this point is regarded as an ‘extra point’, as it is clearly on the Bladder meridian and behaves like a back shu point, but is not part of the meridian by traditional texts. Did the translator forget to include it? Did it appear after people realized there was a pancreas (the Chinese, while they did have a good knowledge of anatomy, did not find the pancreas for a while)? Did someone just get lazy and not want to revise the system?
Morant was not a physician, he did have a background in Ayurveda and that appears to have informed his interpretation of the Huang Di Nei Jing. In the almost sixty years past his death the world of medicine, including the practice of Chinese Medicine, has progressed. We do ourselves and our patients an appalling disservice if we do not continue to refine our technique and make new discoveries.
That stated, the meridians still have their place. They are an excellent guideline to follow for the clinical anatomy that is relevant for Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) Practitioners. Physical correlations have been found, particularly with the discovery of Bonghan ducts in 20043.
The meridians are a useful tool, but one that needs to be updated.
As stated in the title, I am principally concerned with the points on the back for this article. The current model of these points is as follows4:
On vertebrae
0.5 cun lateral to the spine
1.3 cun
1.5 cun
2 cun
3 cun
3.5 cun
Du 15
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Bl 10
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Jia jie (clinical), neck
Jia jie (clinical), neck, and Ding Chuan
Si 15
Du 13
Jia Jie, lung and upper limb
Bl 11 influential point of bones
Si 14
Jia Jie, lung and upper limb
Bl 12
Bl 41
Du 12
Jia Jie, lung and upper limb
Bl 13 bs lung
Bl 42
Jia Jie, lung and upper limb, heart
Bl 14 bs pericardium
Bl 43
Du 11
Jia Jie, heart
Bl 15 bs of heart (bl points are lower border of spinous process), Huan Men (level with the prominence of spinous process
Bl 44
Du 10
Jia Jie, heart
Bl 16 bs du meridian
Bl 45
Du 9
Jia Jie, heart, Liver and Gallbladder
Bl 17 bs diaphragm, influential point of blood
Bl 46
Jia Jie, liver and gallbladder
Wei guan xia shu, bs of pancreas
Du 8
Jia Jie, liver and gallbladder
Bl 18 bs of liver
Bl 47
Du 7
Jia Jie, liver and gallbladder, spleen and stomach
Bl 19 bs of gallbladder
Bl 48
Du 6
Jia Jie, spleen and Stomach
Bl 20 bs of spleen
Bl 49
Jia JieJia Jie, spleen and Stomach
Bl 21 bs of stomach
Bl 50
Du 5
Jia Jie, kidneys
Bl 22 bs of san jiao
Bl 51
Du 4
Jia Jie, kidneys
Bl 23 bs of kidneys
Bl 52
Jia Jie, bladder, large and small intestine, uterus, lower limbs
Bl 24
Du 3
Jia Jie, bladder, large and small intestine, uterus, lower limbs
Bl 25 bs of large intestine
Yan Yao
Shi Qi Zhui Xia
Jia Jie, bladder, large and small intestine, uterus, lower limbs
Bl 26
Bl 31
Bl 27 bs of small intestine
Bl 32
Bl 28 bs of bladder
Bl 53
Bl 33
Bl 29
Bl 34
Bl 30
Du 2
Bl 35
Bl 54
A few details one should keep in mind about this model.
  1. The points for the Du meridian are directly on the spine, the bladder points in the S1-4 region are in the sacral foremen and as such are not on the meridian of the Du.
  2. With the exception of the Huan Men point, all the points that are on the 1.5 cun line are 1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the vertebrae that they are paired with.
  3. ‘BS’ is short for ‘back shu’. ‘Bl’ is for ‘bladder meridian’, ‘Du’ is for ‘Du meridian’, ‘Si’ is for ‘Small intestine meridian’.
  4. Named points, such as Jia jie, shi qi zhui xia, and some others, are not traditionally associated with any meridian.
  5. The jia jie points related with C1-7 are not traditionally taught points but are used clinically.
  6. The influential points of blood and bone are used to treat conditions relating to bone or blood issues.
While this model is remarkably done, especially considering the original sources did not have access to MRIs, and that our English translation and interpretation of it comes by way of a Dutch banker who translated an old Chinese dialect into French, there is some need for revision.
The current model in use by physicians today in treating conditions using points along the spine is as follows5:
Clearly, while there is similarity between the actual nerves and the related Chinese points, the correlation is not perfect.
As we now have access to research that was gained in the decades following De Morant’s death, it is time that these points were revised. Tradition can guide us, but we need not be shackled to it. My proposal is:
  1. The extra points that are clearly on the lines of the Du or Bladder meridians should be incorporated into these meridians.
  2. The back shu points should be revised to reflect the actual spinal level where biological medicine treats the organ that the back shu point is related with.
  3. The Jia jie points should be considered as points that treat the internal meridian of the Du6
  4. The Jia jie points should clinically be considered for all vertebrae.
As such, the revised chart for the meridians on the spine is as follows:
On vertebrae
0.5 cun lateral to the spine
1.3 cun
1.5 cun
2 cun
3 cun
3.5 cun
Du 16
Jia jie head, brain, ears
Bl 10
Jia jie ears, eyes, nose
Jia jie ears, tooth ache
Jia jie mouth
Jia jie throat
Jia jie neck
Jia jie Thyroid
Si 15
Du 14
Jia Jie, throat and upper limb
Bl 11 influential point of bones
Si 14
Jia Jie, heart
Bl 12 bs of heart
Bl 43
Du 13
Jia Jie, lung chest, throat
Bl 13 bs lung
Bl 44
Jia Jie, gallbladder
Bl 14 bs gallbladder
Bl 45
Bl 15 (originally Huan Men)
level with the prominence of spinous process, influential of blood
Du 12
Jia Jie, liver, solar plexus
Bl 16 lower border of spinous process), bs of liver
Bl 46
Du 11
Jia Jie, stomach
Bl 17 bs stomach
Bl 47
Du 10
Jia Jie, heart, pancreas, duodenum
Bl 18 bs of pancrease
Bl 48
Jia Jie,spleen
Bl 19 bs of spleen
Du 9
Jia Jie, adrenal glands
Bl 20
Bl 49
Du 8
Jia Jie, Kidneys
Bl 21
Bl 50
Du 7
Jia Jie, kidneys, ureters
Bl 22 bs of kidneys
Bl 51
Jia Jie small intestine, lymph
Bl 23 bs of small intestine
Bl 52
Du 6
Jia Jie, large intestine, inguinal
Bl 24 bs large intestine
Bl 53
Du 5
Jia Jie, appendix, abdomen, upper leg
Bl 25
Bl 54
Jia Jie, bladder, sex organs, uterus, knees
Bl 26 bs of bladder
Du 4
Jia Jie, prostate, lower back, sciatic nerve
Bl 27
Yan Yao
Du 3
Jia Jie, lower leg
Bl 28
Bl 33
Bl 29
Bl 34
Bl 30
Bl 55
Bl 35
Bl 31
Bl 36
Bl 32
Du 2
Bl 37
Bl 56
This chart incorporates the extra points that are clearly on the path of a given meridian on the back, updates the clinical uses of these points to be compliant with current biomedical research, and updates the numbering system of the points. As one can see, the only extra point that was not incorporated is Yan Yao, which is clearly not on any of the meridians.
I anticipate that there will be further revisions made as more research occurs, I for one would like to make sure that this system correlates with what is known about dermatomes and myotomes as potentially revise the jia jie and outer bladder lines further, but for now I believe this is an adequate update to the meridians of the back which simplifies the matter of extra points and updates treatment guidelines to be complicit with modern research.
2Kendall, Donald. The Dao of Chinese Medicine. Oxford University Press, 2002
3Journal of Korean Physical Society, vol 45, no 5, November 2004 pp 1196-1198
4This chart is based off of the text by:
Deadman, Peter and Al-Khafaji Mazin, with Baker, Kevin, A Manual of Acupuncture, Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications, East Sussex England. 2007
6See Maciocia, Giovanni, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine Second Edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005, pg 840

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