Acupuncture is a bridge between two hemispheres and two very different cultures. It is rooted in a worldview based on elemental agriculture. I say elemental to avoid calling it primitive, for it is rich and deep with insight and poetry. Anyone who has been around a small farm knows how much work is involved, how simple systems are implemented to make things run smoothly and be productive. The body has its own series of functional relationships that work in harmony to balance its systems. These relationships are the basis of effective acupuncture.
In Korean Acupuncture Nei Jing style our reference is chapter 9, of the Ling Shu. It directs us to compare the yin and yang pulses first and foremost. If yang is bigger we should tonify yin. If yin is bigger we should tonify yang. When Yin and Yang are balanced there is no disease. We attempt to balance yin and yang, perfection is not expected or likely, there being a state of dynamic equilibrium in the body at all times.
This doesn't work with only an intellectual understanding, It is necessary to practice, just like the Buddha Dhamma, it cannot be truly understood if merely seen as a scholarly pursuit. To attain enlightenment or to become skilled one must practice with patience, persistence and diligence.
The Nei Jing includes the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The information preserved in the text is the foundation for Korean Acupuncture Nei Jing (KAN) style. TCM eliminated much of this vital teaching and relies on rote memorization of the indications for points and point protocols which may or may not benefit the individual. Dr Kim was not satisfied with the outcomes of TCM practice and searched to find a more reliable and effective style of acupuncture, one that improves diagnosis and discovers the root of illness and can give instant feedback on the effect of treatment. KAN is the result of that search.
Balancing yin and yang alone will resolve 50% of health complaints. This can be done with the basic 4 gates, LI 4 and Liv 3. Three yin and Three yang, or the more detailed differentiation of the pulses has an even better success rate. Signs and symptoms are present because of imbalance. No matter how complicated a case we don't need to be daunted, we can balance yin and yang and improve any condition.
Distinguishing the characteristics of pulse and texture is a skill that can only come with practice. However the techniques can be taught and the skills can be learned, and the body's response provides the feedback on efficacy of both. The patients who come for treatment find a different sensation besides relief of symptoms, there is most often a sense of restoration, of harmony, and integration that feels calm, strong and at ease.
Another reason offered for the location of the discomfort moving (I am referring to the case in "Remodeling" below) was that the thumb pain was just the tip of the iceberg. That was what manifested or was shouting that there was a problem in one or more channels/systems but that actually the whole channel or system was affected and only that area could be seen. So when the treatment balanced yin and yang and the san tong partnerships, the imbalance shifted and moved. It was a very good sign that the treatment was working and the body healing.
Chinese medicine has a very interesting and logical theory that the way the body deals with the pathogens and stressors that come at it is to fight them off at barriers around the entrances and should that be ineffective to reroute them away from essential systems, even to sequester them in places to be dealt with later, When the holding areas become full eventually, the person will have to
deal with them.
We are a micrososmic mirror of the macrocosm. It makes a beautiful and delicious sense to me. I once heard that the best turkish rugs are designs in which every pattern is part of another and another and so on. So too are we and our parts but patterns within the greater patterns of the universe.
A patient came in the other night and was worried because although the pain in his thumb had abated with treatment, there was now discomfort and stiffness from his elbow to his shoulder. Dr Kim had a beautiful explanation for this that really makes sense. Sometimes acupuncture is sort of like remodeling your kitchen, the whole house is affected by remodeling that one room. The furniture and appliances get moved into the den, the dishes and dry goods go in the hallway, the plants go on the porch - just imagine. Same thing can happen in the body, stuff gets moved around. Remodeling takes time. Once completed it's great. After understanding this the patient went ahead and received treatment and afterward was pain free and had greater mobility and range of motion. Also what he may not have understood was that the treatment balanced his yin and yang which were markedly different, yang was three times greater than yin and urgent in character, this indicates a Heart channel deficiency. Interestingly, his heart rate was slow, not dangerously but less than normal, and also irregular, again not dangerously but notable. It was about the same after treatment but he looked better and stated he felt good.
"The pursuit of health is invariably a spiritual quest."