THE RANGE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND TRANSPERSONAL EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE POINTS
In 1989 I started to systemically investigate the range of effects of the classical points of acupuncture. To that behalf I put testing groups together who met once or twice a week. Working in pairs, in 4 hours we would perceive the various physical, emotional, mental or spiritual effects applying the Tui Na Technique Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa – One Finger Meditation, which usually is used during 3 minutes. We sometimes spent more time on each point - up to 10 minutes. I then wrote the feedbacks of the participants down. 90 % of the feedbacks were given by people who did either not know anything at all or very little about Chinese Medicine. Thus their perceptions had not been formed and influenced by knowledge. I also did not tell the name of the point before testing – I just gave its location.
Over the years I collected thousands of feedbacks. In average 15 to 80 people shared their perceptions on the range of effects of each of the 361 classical acupuncture points and the most commonly used extra points. Looking through the feedbacks I chose those which statistically told about similar efffects on the physical, emotional or mental level - those perceptions that focussed on the same area of the bodymind.
Thus I got a lot of new information on the relationship between the points on the surface of the body and the inner realms of the personality. I also learned a lot about the exact deep pathway of the meridians. In 1995 Haug Verlag in Germany published my book with the results of this research – DAS TAO DER AKUPRESSUR UND AKUPUNKTUR (“The Dào of Acupressure and Acupuncture”). This book is in third edition now.
Although acupuncture works better with specific symptoms, especially physical symptoms, Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa is more able to open the door to the unconscious and often has a more noticeable effect on the emotional level. With Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa patients or clients can become more easily aware of the vast inner dimensions of the psyche – remembrances of important ocorrences in their personal history that have been forgotten, but still are at the base of current disease; hidden feelings and desires; transpersonal realms that usually can be experienced in Shamanic journeys and under the influence of psychedelic drugs.
The range of psychic effects found with Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa and described at length with each point in DAS TAO DER AKUPRESSUR UND AKUPUNKTUR is a very valuable tool for the acupuncturist in point selection. To give an example: there are 30 to 40 points that help to cure constipation. With the knowledge of the range of psychic effects of each of these points the acupuncturist can choose those points in treatment that correspond to the character and the actual Five Element pattern of the patient – that correspond accurately to his emotional dis-ease and his thought patterns. This also can help to avoid side effects on the personality – there are a lot of points that cure constipation, but many of them are not necessarily good for the personality in the large picture. If a patient who has a personality with strong traits of the metal element has a lung or skin disease and the acupuncturist frequently uses points of the lung and large intestine channels, the specific symptom might get better, but the personality of the patient might become even more dominated by the metal element – with a disbalancing effect on the other elements as well, in this example especially cutting wood. Each acupuncture point that has been stimulated with a needle has a long term effect on the evolution of the personality as a whole. The effects are often very subtle and you need a good eye to detect the changes in the beginnning.
The results of my research are that each acupuncture point is a well defined door to various areas of the bodymind. The emotional, mental and energetic indications of the points in DAS TAO DER AKUPRESSUR UND AKUPUNKTUR give a very specific information to the acupuncturist to take the various aspects of the personality into account while treating a disease.
After publishing DAS TAO DER AKUPRESSUR UND AKUPUNKTUR my research focussed on the vast psychic dimensions of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels. More than the organ meridians they are a storehouse of emotions and personal history, more than the organ meridians they open new doors of perception and pathways to spiritual and transpersonal dimensions. Testing not only the Master Points, but all the points of the Extraordinary Vessels the information we got on the psychic range of effects of these meridians is very differentiated and covers a broad spectrum. My book ACHT WUNDERMERIDIANE (“Eight Extraordinary Vessels”) that I published in 2006 has 362 pages - even more than DAS TAO DER AKUPRESSUR UND AKUPUNKTUR which covers the psychological effects of the 12 organ meridians.
Summoning the description of two points of the ACHT WUNDER-MERIDIANE the wide range of effects in the inner realms of the psyche will become evident. The personal feedbacks are characterized by quotation marks. For those who are not familiar with imagery in healing I give an analysis after each individual perception.
G 41 Zú-Línqì
At the foot – Close To Weeping
Function: Shu-Point, Wood Point of Wood (Horary Point)
Master Point of Dài Mài
Assistant Master Point of Yáng Wéi Mài
Location: In the depression distal to the junction of the 4th and 5th metatarsal bones, on the lateral side of the tendon of m. extensor digiti minimi.
Acupressure: To enhance the Qì flow in the foot, the client can stretch,
spread and twist the toes.
As first point of the Yáng Wéi Mài Línqì causes an upward flow of Qì. In his function as Wood Point of Wood he gives an impulse for new beginning. Línqì distributes Qì to the eye and to the ear, he improves hearing and eye sight and stimulates the ability to visualize.
“Línqì relaxes the diaphragm.”
“I feel waves of heat in the body, from bottom to top.”
The meaning: G 41 has an effect on Gall Bladder and Liver and generally on the upper abdomen.
The therapeutic indication: G 41 improves the flow of Qì in the organs of the upper abdomen und thus relaxes the diaphragm which is quite tense and cramped in many people and therefore blocks the flow of Qì, blood and feelings between the lower and the upper body, between the Middle and the Upper Warmer.
“The energy flows upwards. I feel growing like a deciduous tree; my legs are woody like the trunk of a tree, the top of the tree begins at the breast bone.”
The meaning: Zú-Línqì is the Wood Point of Wood. Wood is not just a symbol – it is a palpable force in nature. If you are in contact with nature and the elements within yourself, with any Wood points being stimulated by pressure, moxa or a needle you can have the sensation or the image to be a tree. Zú-Línqì evokes the force of Wood: you feel rooted in the earth, you feel strong like the trunk of a tree, but nevertheless flexible in the branches and leaves to yield to wind and rain.
Therapeutic indication: you press or needle this point, if you want to help someone who is not well grounded in reality and who has difficulty to find his path in life to develop strength and decisiveness, to stand difficult situations in life with steadfastness and stamina.
“I see many lightnings before my eyes and can feel the courses of the Small Intestine, Sanjiao and Gall Bladder Meridians.”
The meaning: if you press or needle a point, the flow of Qì is being stimulated in the corresponding meridian; the Qì can be drawn from the preceding meridian (in this case the meridian of the Sanjiao); sometimes you can also feel the flow of Qì in the following meridian (in this case the Liver Meridian). As Zú-Línqì strongly animates the Wood element, following the law of the Sheng or generation cycle the Fire element will be kindled as well. That is why the test person could feel the Qì in the Small Intestine meridian which is the first Yang Meridian of Fire.
Therapeutic indication: Zú-Línqì furthers Wood as well as Fire - more distinctly than many other points of the Gall Bladder or Liver Meridians.
“I see flashes before my eyes and can feel the courses of the Small Intestine, Sanjiao and Gall Bladder Meridians. Then I feel a sudden effervescing anger.”
The meaning: flashes before the eyes are a characteristic perception for an abundance of Qì in the Gall Blader as well as the Liver Meridian. An abundance of Qì in the Wood element can manifest itself in irritability and anger, a strong abundance in suddenly flashing anger and rage.
Therapeutical indication: Zú-Línqì animates timid, anxious and chicken-hearted people to defend themselves, to be more brave and to carry through with their projects even against resistance of the surroundings.
Side effects, risks and contra indications: Zú-Línqì can excite a hot-tempered person in a way that he explodes with anger more easily.
“I have a few flashing thoughts. Before I can grasp them, I am in a kind of trance.”
The meaning: flashing thoughts very often are an indication of flow of Qì in the Sanjiao and Gall Bladder Meridians.
If the Qì gets to the Liver, you may get into a dreamlike state, into a trance, into the realm of dreams and psychedelic perceptions, for the Liver is the house of images (see Achim Eckert, Chinese Medicine for Beginners, Chapter on Wood, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, California 1992).
Therapeutical indication: to support someone to turn his attention inward and to perceive his inner world more clearly.
“The energy directly rises up to the head. I feel a pulsation in the Third Eye. Then I see and feel the sound of an Alphorn which resounds in the valleys.”
“My hearing improves.”
“I see a big bird who spreads his wings, in the background the settting sun.”
“I see a spherical light in my head.”
The meaning: Zú-Línqì stimulates the flow of Qì in the Liver Meridian, the Qì flows to the head. The hypophysis or Third Eye is the energetic switch board of the head; if the Qì flows from the Yáng Meridians of the arms or the Yin Meridians of the legs to the head, it mostly arrives first at the hypophysis and then goes on to Baihui.
The law of polar effect: points at the end of the course of the Yáng Meridians of the legs and the Yin Meridians of the arms have an effect at the organs and tissues at the beginning of the respective meridian;
points at the beginning of the Yáng Meridians of the arms have an effect at the end of the respective meridian in the head and points of the Yin Meridians of the legs have an effect at the end of the respective meridian in the chest area (or at the end of its deep course – the Deep Course of the Kidney Meridian brings Qì to the throat and tongue, the Deep Course of the Liver Meridian brings Qì to the eyes and to Baihui at the top of the head). The Gall Bladder Meridian begins at the corner of the eye and at the ear – according to the law of polar effect points on the foot like Zú-Línqì improve the flow of Qì in the eye and the ear.
The sound of the Alphorn which ressounds through the valleys is perceived by a person at great height, in the pure air of the mountains. This is characteristic, when the Third Eye and even more so Baihui have been animated.
Therapeutical indication: Zú-Línqì is an important Distal Point for disorders of the eye and ears like weak eyesight, conjunctivitis, blurring of vision, tinnitus, hardness of hearing and functional deafness.
“I see a light before my eyes and in the forehead. My shoulders twitch. I see an archaic image – a wild rider in the steppe. I hear the sound of bells or gongs.”
The meaning: the wild rider in the steppe is an archetype of the Wood element impetuosity and wildness. Zú-Línqì as Wood Point of the Wood Yáng is the point which mostly stimulates the expansive and stormy force of all the points of the Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians.
Therapeutical indication: if a person is timid and anxious, G 41 is indicated to stimulate the ability to define boundaries and to defend himself. Zú-Línqì strenthens self-assertion.
“The image of a white orchid from above with a drop of dew in the calyx.”
The meaning: the Liver is the House of Visions.
Therapeutical indication: Zú-Línqì brings Qì to the Liver. Any point that does this helps a person to turn the focus of attention inward and to perceive his innermost visions of life.
“The energy rises to the head. I am getting slightly dizzy. I feel increasing intestinal peristalsis. I see Arab characters. Then I am in an absolutely dark cave; a torch is lit; nevertheless it stays dark.“
„I feel my abdomen. Then I experience a vivid energy flow behind the neck from the trapezius upward to the lower edge of the back of the head.
It is like a curtain of Qì covering G 20.”
The meaning: the Qì in the Liver Meridian flows to the abdomen, its Deep Course ascends from the Liver to the head. Many points of the Gall Bladder Meridian – the Gall Bladder also regulates tonus and function of muscles – as well as some points of the Liver Meridian stimulate intestinal peristalsis. The dark cave is an image of the abdomen, the arriving Qì is perceived as a torch which is lit. There is not enough Qì to light up the abdominal cave.
Therapeutical indication: Zú-Línqì stimulates intestinal peristalsis and the flow of Qì in the abdomen.
“I see a black moon-shaped face from the front – it could have been a wooden sculpture. The face turns to the side. I see the profile – its a waning moon. The moon starts to rotate around an imaginary center so that he looks again like a globe. I see blackness with blue in it, from there a wave evolves which grows and grows..........; water flows from my body down at both sides.”
The meaning: G 41 is the Horary Point, the Wood point of Wood. This quality which once exists on each of the 12 organ meridians corresponds to the new moon. Observers of the phases and effects of the moon know that the new moon in each of the 12 signs of the zodiac brings forth a new beginning within the corresponding sign and element. If you want to tear down an old structure and to correct growth that has gone the wrong direction, best results can be achieved at the time of the new moon. Plant lovers know that the new moon is the best moment to cut short a crooked plant so that it can grow straight.
G 41 corresponds to the new moon in aries – it is the best moment of the year for a new beginning, it is a perfect moment to act.
Therapeutical indication: Zú-Línqì furthers getting the courage together for a new beginning.
“I feel the need to open the eyes.”
The meaning: via the Liver Meridian Qì ascends to the head – you become alert and mentally active.
Therapeutical indication: acupressure and acupuncture of G 41 strengthens the Yang of a person – he is wide awake and feels the impulse to become physically and mentally active.
An overweight and heavily smoking Austrian country doctor whose Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians were stimulated through meridian massage, moxibustion and acupuncture at various occasions throughout a year, took the decision to do the pilgrimage from Austria to Santiago de Compostela, walking the path Saint Jacobus went in the early Middle Ages. This was about fiteen years ago, when this was not a common spiritual life style issue. It took him four months to walk and he lost a lot of pounds. Some months later he went for a year to China to study Chinese medicine and thereupon he conquered a new speciality – he studied homeopathy. Through stimulaton of the Wood element he had been animated to become physically and mentally active and to discover new horizons.
Zú-Línqì reduces head aches and migraines along the course of the Gall Bladder Meridian in the temples; it helps with pains of the eyes and the ears, weak eye sight and difficult hearing , pains in the lower abdomen and menstruation cramps.
Needling: 0,2 - 0,5 inch vertically.
Important Distal Point for diseases of the eye and the ear like weak eye sight, conjunctivitis, blurring of vision, tinnitus and hardness of hearing.
Pains and swelling of the breasts, especially before menstruation, mastitis, dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea.
Important point in the treatment of joint disorders and rheumatism - the combination with Waiguan (SJ 5) is often very effective.
A general observation about the therapeutical indications:
the quality of effect of a point on the physical, emotional or mental levels depends on the specific set up of the treatment - the combination with other points, the application of manual techniques, needling or moxibustion, the energy state of the client and the intention of the healer. The state of Qì and the intention of the healer are a very important factor as well in traditional Chinese medicine as in other original forms of healing. If you are not aware about this effect, acupressure and acupuncture have less power to heal and a smaller range of effects. Allopathic medicine is based on the paradigm that medication or surgery have objective results which can be infinitely repeated and which have nothing to do with the state of health and the state of mind of the doctor. For allopathic medicine which acts within the confinements of the material world this is mostly true. We know from Quantum Physics that scientific results on subatomar levels depend on the expectations of the scientists – even if they are not present in the area of the experiment. An important mental step for allopathic doctors which turn to traditional Chinese medicine is to adopt the attitude (which also is a new paradigm in the West since Bohr and Heisenberg) that their own energetic state and their intentions are part of the healing process.
In traditional Chinese thinking the Occidental distinction between subject and object does not exist - this distinction which is a basic paradigm of allopathic medicine and Western psychotherapy stems from antique Greek philosophy, but is not a paradigm in all cultures of the world and their healing methods.
>> G 34 Yánglíngquán / Well at the Yáng Hill
Function: Hé-Point, Earth Point.
Master Point of Muscles and Tendons
Point of the Japanese course of Yáng Wéi Mài.
Location: In the depression in the anterior angle between the fibula and its head.
Acupressure: Deep pressure. To enhance the flow of Qì, the client stretches the toes and lifts and lowers the outer border of the foot several times.
Yánglíngquán strengthens muscles and tendons and animates the body to move. Letting yourself sink into the imagery of the point you often remember situations in which the body was very active and you moved a lot. Yánglíngquán is one of the strongest points to hold the power of the Gall Bladder - thus he strengthens the power to carry through with plans and projects and to succeed. As Earth Point he unites the qualities of Wood and Earth - he gives the impulse to move the body and to make one´s way, he furthers considerate action, steadiness and endurance. “Sudddenly tensions in the knee, foot and hip joints loosen up.“
“Thighs and pelvis become warm. I feel the need to run.“
The meaning: Yánglíngquán enhances the flow of Qì in the pelvis and the legs; the gluteals and and the leg muscles are activated, you feel the need to walk or to run.
Therapeutical indication: G 34 activates the gluteals and the muscles of the legs (especially the tensor fasciae latae and the peronaeus muscles) and thus improves running performance. If someone is not very keen to do sports, he is one of the best points to stimulate the appetite of the body to move. Yánglíngquán is an excellent point to press or needle before a competition in which you have to run a lot - before a football or soccer match or a marathon. You can use it in a tennis match while switching sides to give yourself a boost of energy and endurance to your tired legs.
“I feel energy flooding upward from G 34 - I feel as if inspired with a new life. I sense a crisp chill in the peronaeus muscles. My eyes open wide!”
“A red heat ascends from the sacrum the back upward, in a constant flowing to the back of the head.&lrquo;
“I feel a comforting warmth in the whole body - a comforting emptiness in the skull, there was nothing in the head.”
The meaning: Yánglíngquán enhances the flow of Qì in the Gall Bladder and the Liver Meridian. Via the Liver Meridian and the Yáng Wéi Mài the Qì ascends in the body and makes it warm. As Earth Point of a meridian that leads the Qì away from the head he grounds Qì that has been accumulated in the head in the body and thus reduces nervousness (for example before a competition or an exam) - similar to Zúsanli (St 36), Shénmén (H 7) or Dàling (P 7).
Therapeutical indication: Yánglíngquán enhances vitality and makes the body warm; he reduces excessive thinking, nervousness and stress.
“There is a brown warmth in front of my eyes. Red drops dissolve in this warmth. Both are liquids. Then I was in the mountains and went trecking with snowshoes.”
“I see snow capped mountain tops in the sun light. I ski down hill.”
The meaning: G 34 is an Earth Point, that is the reason for the image of brown warmth. Via the Liver Meridiane the Qì ascends to Baihui. Images of snow capped mountain tops, of great altitude, the smell of pure mountain air indicate the activation of the Third Eye and o Baihui.
“I see various images of Palolem, a palm beach in South Goa in India where I spent some time seven years ago. I see the high coconut trees, their high smooth boles, the sandy soil with dry hard grass. Between the palm trees there are some houses. Many of them rent out rooms. Then I see the space on highly piled up and hardly accessible rocks at the end of the bay where I spent the afternoons with my girlfriend. Thereupon I remember the trecking to the Om Beach, a beach that is farther South from Palolem. We walked a lot in these days. After that images of a Buddhist monastery and monks who fight in Shaolin style. The wall at the entrance of the monastery is decorated with a circular Buddhist emblem in earthy colours.”
The meaning: the images of the palm beach are remembrances of a time in which the head was at rest, perceiving the world with the 6 senses was the main occupation and I walked a lot. The images of the Shaolin monastery combine the element qualities of Yánglíngquán – he is the Earth Point of the Wood Yáng. On the one hand the images represent the Earth element (the monastery, the Buddhist monks, the wall, the circular form of the emblem, the earthy colours), on the other hand the Wood element (the combat).
“An image of a dark brown, almost black wild horse on which I ride. I think about my home, I look forward to get home and to carry through with my plans and decisions.”
The meaning: the wild dark horse is a symbol for power (the element Wood) which can neverthelesse be well controlled by the rider (the element Earth). The colour of the horse is a further indication for the Earth element.
Therapeutical indication: Yánglíngquán strengthens vitality and the will to achieve and to succeed. He strengthens physically weak and anxious people, he furthers courage and strengthens their back bone.
“My spine royally stretched. A red arrow becomes an erupting volcano. Then I see a wooden house, above thunderstorm clouds which turn to elks with majestic antlers. The elks are slowly strutting and flaunting.”
“A spinning inside the head which becomes a watery band, still inside the skull. The band grows bigger and turns into an oblique cycling track made out of wood. There was a horse race going on. An easy feeling in the legs. The head felt heavy.”
“An image of a big strong fast and nimble fish. He moves with suppleness and full of energy through the water. His length is 3 to 4 yards. Its not a shark. The day light shines from above.”
The meaning: the essence of each of these images is physical power, liveliness and agility.
“From deep waters in which I dwelled since yesterday I slowly ascend to the surface, to the light. Suddenly I remember the balance of my bank account.”
The meaning: the theme of the seminar on the day before was Yin Qiao Mài; this meridian gets you often into a state of the Water element - you dont think a lot and feel deeply relaxed. As Earth Point of Wood G 34 brings you back to reality and its issues - money, bills and bank account.
Therapeutical indication: Yánglíngquán strengthens the sense of reality. He helps to ground a person when he is drowning in his feelings, he gives the impulse to deal with the tasks of everyday life. He is a grounding point for daydreamers, computer and television junkies and other fugitives from ordinary reality.
“I see myself walk naked; there are threads from above, from belove. From the sides, from any element, threads that pull me, some threads stronger, the other ones only a little. I roll myself into these threads and turn into a ball. I am woven into these threads. Then I cut them open from the inside with small scissors and slip to the outside.
Thereupon I think of squirrels - a broadcast from my childhood comes to my mind: a squirrel called Bushel with a red tail. I see the wood in which Bushel jumped from branch to branch, he has a small bell around his neck. Bushel was lisping when he talked. The wood turns into the wood of Alice in the Wonderland. Then I see images of my childhood, when I was 5 years of age - I stand in a red and white striped anorak at the slope of a skiing resort. G 34 makes me merry, he reminds me of times, when everything was still okay.”
The meaning: the most ancient diagrams of the Five Elements showed the Earth in the center and the other four elements in the four directions around it. The theme of the first image is the Earth element – being round and woven into reality by many threads which hold you more or less firmly; this reminds of the metaphor of Gulliver in Lilliput. The person who had this image succeeds to liberate himself from the threads of daily life - and all of a sudden he finds himself in the fairy tale world of childhood. Fairy tales are an aspect of the element Earth, a remembrance of a time in your childhood in which you felt safe and secure. The images also indicate the Wood element - the squirrel which jumps from tree to tree and skiing.
Therapeutical indication: G 34, as many other points of the Earth element, can open a door to remember events and occurrences of your childhood.
“The center of my body is being filled up. I see an eye at the level of Yintang (Extra Point 1) which looks at me. The eye turns into all kinds of eyes of animals and human beings, the gaze always stayed friendly.”
The meaning: via the Liver Meridian the center of the body is filled with Qì and the Third Eye is stimulated. The eyes are the organs of sense of the Wood element. The friendliness of the glance in the last image indicates Earth.
Therapeutical indication: G 34 puts you into a friendly mood, when you are sullen, gloomy, sour or morose, irritated and angry.
Yánglíngquán furthers endurance - physically, emotionally and mentally. He makes you calm and considerate, he furthers decisiveness and strength. He is one of the best points to prepare for a competition - he also is very useful in the middle of a contest or a match, at half-time or between games, to quickly regenerate and gather the fighting spirit.
Yánglíngquán is a valuable point in the treatment of nervousness and psychic instability, of digestive disorders and pains in the knee.
Needling: 0,5 - 1,5 inches vertically.
Diseases of muscles and tendons - myopathia, muscular dystrophia, paresis, hemiplegia and tendinitis. Rheumatic and arthritic disorders of the knee and hip joints, vascular and sensitivity problems of the legs.
Diseases of the gall bladder and digestive disorders like vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal cramps and atonic constipation. Yánglíngquán strengthens the muscles and grounds the mind.
To me as to many people who are able to feel the effects of acupuncture and acupressure in their body and who can distinguish the range of effects of diverse points, my research presents valuable information for accurate diagnosis and treatment. For parts of the public and for most allopathic doctors it is still not obvious that different points have such a varied range of effects as described above. In 2005 there was a big debate in Germany whether points have this kind of varying effect and are different from each other; some doctors came to the conclusion that acupuncture might have an effect to heal certain diseases, but that it does not matter which point you needle - that it just matters that you poke a needle into the skin.
To narrow the huge gap in understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine between acupuncturists, Tui Na, Shiatsu and Qì Gong practitioners on the one hand and the general public and allopathic doctors on the other hand, I did this extensive empirical research on the range of effects of the acupuncture points and published the results in my books.
Achim Eckert, www.taotraining.at
Vienna, March 2006