702-481-6216
Acupuncture Las Vegas
2400 N Tenaya Way Suite 117
Las Vegas, NV 89128
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Acupuncture Las Vegas
Phone: 702-481-6216
Email: rkyomitchell@gmail.com
2400 N Tenaya Way Suite 117
Las Vegas, NV 89128

Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

depositphotos 13140372-Acupuncture-dollAcupuncture is 2000+ year old system of medicine that is currently practiced throughout the world. During an acupuncture treatment, needles are inserted into very specific locations in the body. While research is still being done to understand how acupuncture works, medical science is beginning to understand how acupuncture affects the body. Acupuncture stimulates an electromagnetic current within the tissues of the body and may affect the signalling mechanisms of the body. Acupuncture has been shown to release natural pain killers that the body produces to help treat pain. Acupuncture has also been shown to affect the brain including how the brain sends feedback to and modifies the physiology of various organs and tissues of the body.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Many patients are concerned that an acupuncture treatment will be uncomfortable. Unlike hypodermic needles which are used to give injections, acupuncture needles are only about the width of a human hair. The needles are made of a high quality stainless steel and are sterile. Insertion of the needles is done with little to no discomfort to the patient. Many patients do not even feel them being inserted. After insertion of the needles, many patients feel a heavy or warm sensation around the needle. Many patients feel a sensation of energy moving through the body during the treatment. The needles are left in for about 20 minutes to allow the energy to circulate and then removed from the patient and then disposed.

arrow upUnderstanding pain and how acupuncture treats pain

The predominant reason people seek out medical help is due to pain and, at least from my years of experience, more people seek relief from back pain than any other form of pain. Despite the fact that many patients have been to multiple practitioners and undergone multiple forms of therapy, many still suffer from pain. Why is this?

To understand the problem and solution, one needs to first understand what gives rise to the pain. The causes of back pain are many. Most back pain is due to either pressure on the nerve itself or local inflammation.

One of the major reasons for many forms of pain including back pain is due to a stenosis or a narrowing of the space the nerve ordinarily occupies. This narrowing may compress and irritate the nerve causing it to fire and create the sensation of pain.

A descriptive example of one form of compression may help to give a mental picture of what is occurring. The spine is designed such that there are vertebrae stacked on top of one another. In between each of these vertebrae is a vertebral disc. The vertebral discs serve as shock absorbers, preventing damage to the vertebral bones. They also serve as "spacers", providing space for nerves to exit the spinal cord as the nerves leave the spinal cord and innervate their respective areas of the body.

The problem here is one of gravity. Over time, the vertebral discs wear down and get thinner (which is why people get shorter with age). As the discs get thinner, the space between the vertebrae decreases. When this space gets small enough, a nerve may be compressed by the vertebrae above and below it as it exits the spinal cord. As analogy, think of placing your finger on a table and then putting a fifty pound weight directly on your finger and keep the weight there for an extended period of time. How would the nerves in your finger respond? This is how the nerves in your back respond to a stenosis.

Inflammation can also contribute to a person's back pain. The inflammatory response is part of the necessary repair cycle of tissues any time the body is damaged. One of the effects of the inflammatory process is that it too makes the nerves in an area of tissue damage more sensitive to pain. However, inflammation and the pain associated with it should only be temporary. Many times, this is not the case.

Overtime, this excessive pressure on the nerve or being exposed to chronic inflammation can damage it and this nerve can then do something very strange and unpleasant. Damage to the nerve can cause it to become sensitized. Nerves which conduct pain usually only fire when there is a certain amount of damage to the tissues of the body. Only when damage is being done to your body should you feel pain. However, when a nerve becomes sensitized, a stimulus in the past that might have been felt as pressure, movement or not felt at all, now elicits the sensation of pain, either continuous pain or sharp spasms of pain.

To better understand pain and what happens during sensitization, it is necessary to understand how a nerve cell or neuron works. A neuron has channels along its structure. Think of these channels as doors. When enough of these channel/doors open, the nerve fires and you feel pain. In a healthy neuron, there are a certain small number of channels/doors and these only open under the influence of a strong stimulus, usually one strong enough to damage the body's tissue. Once the neuron becomes sensitized, it changes its own structure, creating more channels/doors. This makes it fire more readily. Pain is no longer linked to a stimulus strong enough to damage tissue. Now stimuli of lesser strength, such as moving or stretching a structure in the body will cause the neuron to fire and create the sensation of pain.

One of the approaches to treating this form of pain is to prevent the channels/doors from opening thus preventing the neuron from firing and creating the sensation of pain. Gabapentin (also called Neurontin), one of the most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs for neuropathic pain works on this mechanism. Gabapentin and similar drugs are effective means of helping decrease the sensation of pain in many individuals. The problem with using gabapentin as a strategy for treating pain is that, while it can help block the pain, it does not heal the underlying problem: the changes in the neuron's structure that caused the neuron to become more sensitized and create the increased sensation of pain.

It may seem illogical that your body would want you to feel more pain but a number of researchers have developed an interesting hypothesis on the body's reasons for making such changes. The purpose of pain sensing neurons is to protect the body. It alerts the individual when there is tissue damage as a means of preventing further damage to the body. However, when one of these pain sensing neurons is damaged, it sends less feedback to the brain. From the brain's perspective, this is an unacceptable situation because it can no longer sense when tissue damage is happening in those tissues that the damaged neuron serves. This decreased sensitivity could be potentially lethal to the organism because wounds or damage to tissue is less readily perceived by the nervous system.

To compensate for the decreased input from the damaged neuron, the brain adopts a new strategy. It "turns up the volume" on the damaged nerve making it more sensitive to the stimuli around it. By this means of sensitizing the nerve, the brain receives more input from the nerve, in theory helping it to more readily determine if there is local tissue damage. However, this strategy is one of over compensation. Now the sensitized nerve overreacts to the stimuli around it, creating the sensation of pain even when there is no tissue damage.

Understanding what creates chronic pain may be intellectually satisfying. However, individuals suffering from chronic pain simply want to know if and how the pain can be effectively treated. As stated previously, the increase in sensitivity of the nerve is due in large part to an increase in channels in its structure which allow the nerve to fire. Pharmaceuticals such as gabapentin/Neurontin and Lyrica help block certain of these channels and provide relief to many patients. Similarly, certain chemical constituents found in certain herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine have been shown to alleviate pain by both decreasing inflammation and blocking the channels within the nerve cell. While these herbs and pharmaceuticals help relieve the pain, they do not undue the changes that led to the pain condition in the first place.

An alternate approach to treat pain is one used by acupuncture for thousands of years. Acupuncture points affects both local nerve function as well as brain function with different acupuncture points affecting different areas and functions in the brain. Recall that a nerve became sensitized because the brain was not receiving the level of input it needed from the affected distal nerve. By stimulating local nerves and/or relevant areas of the brain with acupuncture needles, the input to the brain now increases and the brain now turns the volume down at the affected nerve. This process helps to desensitize the nerve and results in a decrease in pain. The process takes a series of treatments but acupuncture is relatively painless and can result in an overall decrease in pain and increase in quality of life for patients with chronic pain. This is one of the reasons so many people seek out acupuncture when no other form of treatment has helped relieve their pain.

In a recent medical lecture, the presenter stated that the United States makes up about 5% of the world's population but consumes 80% of all pain pills. Where the pills may be relieving the pain, is this relieving the underlying problem and increasing the individual's health and quality of life? If your current means of managing your pain is not giving you the quality of life you want and you would like to see if acupuncture can help treat your pain, please call.

This article is the intellectual property of Dr. Kyo Mitchell and may not be reproduced without his written permission.

arrow upHow does acupuncture work? Intro

When I taught at Bastyr University, most students wanted me to explain how acupuncture worked and how sticking needles in the body could contribute to decreasing pain, changing physiological functions, etc. While students are given explanations qi flow, meridians, jing, etc while in school, these explanations are usually vague and lack depth and detail, leaving many frustrated. This lack of in depth explanation affects more than just students or practitioners in our field. For acupuncture and oriental medicine to be accepted by western medicine and science, to get us into the hospitals, etc, we as a profession must be able to explain acupuncture, qi and all of the concepts of oriental medicine in a logical, detailed and coherent manner. That is what these series of articles will be about – helping those who practice acupuncture and oriental medicine to be able to understand and explain what we do and why it is crucial to patients as well as the scientific and medically minded professionals beyond just the basic concepts of qi, xue, jing etc.

To make this as thorough and scientific as possible, I will cite studies and sources where possible. Some of what I have "figured out" is from understanding certain concepts in physics and physiology and understanding how they relate to acupuncture and oriental medicine. In certain cases, no specific studies have been done relating these concepts to acupuncture (to the best of my knowledge). In these areas, I will state that the concepts are an extrapolation and must still must undergo testing to be proven correct. It should be noted that this will be a model of how acupuncture and oriental medicine may work, but that for these explanations to be true scientific theory they would have to undergo rigorous scientific testing. As such, this will be a model that I am hoping, with time, will develop into hypotheses, research and eventually theory

Having taught a class on this for a number of years, I know that at times this information may be overwhelming. I will, therefore, attempt to send this out in "bite size" pieces so it is easier to understand and those reading it can make the necessary connections between the pieces and really understand what is happening and why this is so crucial for the correct functioning of the body. I will start with the physics so you understand qi and qi flow and then work towards the neurological and physiological aspects.

Debate is a good thing. I do not have all of the answers and this is definitely a work in progress. Please feel free to add your input. (Maybe we should start a blog.) I hope this deepens your knowledge and increases the wonder you feel towards this ancient art and science of healing.

arrow upHow Does Acupuncture Work? Physics: Part 1

(For those of you who are not big fans of science and "technobabble" there is a summary of the important points of this article at the bottom titled "What you need to understand".)

To begin understanding what qi and meridians are and how acupuncture works, we need to review what current research is telling us. Research studies have begun to show that acupuncture points may possibly be identified by the fact that there is a lower level of impedance to the flow of electrical current in areas of the skin that are defined as acupuncture points compared to areas that are not defined as acupuncture points. ( Zhang et al, 2004; Mayer-Gindner et al, 2004; Comunetti et al, 1995; Hu, et al, 1992; Reichmannis et al, 1976). Research by Hyvarinen and Karlsson demonstrated that these areas of skin with low electrical impedance had diameters of 1.5 +/- 0.5 mm with abrupt borders. The measurements of electrical impedance in the skin at the center of the acupuncture point and the surrounding skin were 1 x 10 3 ohms and 3 x 106 ohms respectively. (Hyvarinen & Karlsson, 1977)

Similarly, the acupuncture meridians, defined as the transmission lines of qi

along which the acupuncture points are located differ from control areas in the skin which

are not identified as acupuncture meridians. A number of studies have attempted to demonstrate a lower level of electrical impedance in the tissues along which meridians flow as compared to control areas of similar tissue adjacent to meridians. (Hu and Cheng, 1997; Zhang, 1997; Xiang et al, 1984; Reichmannis, 1979; Zhang, 1978; Reichmannis et al, 1977)

There have been many attempts made to identify the anatomical equivalent of the meridians in the human body. For example, it has been proposed that the meridians are located in interstitial spaces between tissue planes. Using ultrasonic imaging, Langevin and Yandow (2002) demonstrated that eighty per cent of acupuncture points occur at cleavage planes of intra-muscular or inter-muscular tissues. Using electron microscopy techniques, Casley-Smith and Vincent (1978) demonstrated the existence of interstitial fluid channels where acupuncture meridians are claimed to be.

In a 2008 systematic review by Ahn et al, it was cited that of nine research studies, five demonstrated decreased electrical resistance at areas of skin where acupuncture points are supposed to be located vs areas of skin not cited to be acupuncture points. Similarly of nine studies on meridians and electrical resistance, seven studies demonstrated decreased electrical resistance in areas of skin that are the trajectories of meridians versus similar areas of skin adjacent to the meridians. The credibility of these studies was confounded by low sample size, poor research design and other factors. As such it is best to say that there may be a decreased electrical resistance in both acupuncture points and meridians as compared to similar tissues but further well designed well executed research needs to be done to prove this.

What you need to understand:

  • Both acupuncture points and meridians may allow an electric current to flow more easily than similar areas of the skin and underlying tissues that are not acupuncture points or meridians. More research will need to be done to prove this.
  • The meridians are channels or areas where fluids may flow. (More about this in future articles.)

Things to ponder before the next article:

Whenever you look at the design of anything, you should be thinking, "Why is it designed that way?" Nature always has an intelligent design. Don't just memorize the information. Try to understand how and why nature designed it like that. What was it trying to accomplish? How does this piece fit into the explanation of the greater whole? In reference to the information given above you should be thinking:

  • Why would you need areas of decreased electrical flow?
  • What is the purpose of the electricity in relation to the body's greater function at any and all levels (Biochemical, cellular, tissue, organ,). In other words, what is this electrical flow doing to help with the functioning of the body?
  • Why are the meridians (and the points) made up of fluidic channels of and how does this relate to electrical current and the functions of qi?

All of this will be explained in future articles. The next part will come out in a week or two and I will post a notice when it is available.

References:

AhnAC, Colbert AP, Anderson BJ, Martinsen OG, Hammerschlag R, Cina S, Wayne PM, Langevin HM. Electrical properties ofacupuncturepoints and meridians: a systematic review. Bioelectromagnetics.2008May;29(4):245-56.

Casley-Smith, J.R. & Vincent A. H. The quantitative morphology of interstitial tissue channels in some tissues of the rat and rabbit Tissue cell.1978. 10:571-584.

Comunetti A, Laage S. Schiessl N. Kistle RA. Characterization of human skin conductance at acupuncture points. Experientia. 1995 Apr 12;51(4): 328-31.

Hu XL, Cheng BH. Meridian Research. Hunan: Hunan Science and Technology Press, 1997.

Hyvarinen J, Karlsson M. Low-resistance skin points that may coincide with acupuncture loci. Medical Biology. 1977 Apr;55(2):88-94.

Langevin HM, Yandow JA. Relationship of acupuncture points and meridians to connective tissue planes. The Anatomical Record. 2002 Dec 15;269(6);257-65.

Mayer-Gindner A, Lek-Uthai A, Abdallah O, Bolz A. Newly explored electrical properties of normal skin and special skin sites. Biomedical Technology. 2004 May: 49 (5) : 117 -24.

Reichmannis M, Marino AA, Becker RO. Laplace plane analysis of impedance of the Heart meridian. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1979 Summer; 7(2): 188-93.

Reichmannis M, Marino AA, Becker RO. Laplace plane analysis of impedance between acupuncture points H-3 and H-4. Complimentary Medicine East West. 1977 Fall-Winter; 5 (3-4): 289-295.

Reichmannis M, Marino AA, Becker RO. D.C. Skin conductance variation at acupuncture loci. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1976 Spring; 4(1) : 69-72.

Xiang ZZ. Ming XR, Guo XJ, Zhuang YS. Experimental meridian line of stomach and its low impedance nature. Acupuncture electrotherapy Research. 1984;9(3): 157-64.

Zhang W, Xu R, Zhu Z. The influence of acupuncture on the impedance measured by four electrodes on meridians. Acupuncture Electrotherapy Research. 1999; 24(3-4): 181-8.

Zhang WB. What is a meridian? Chinese Sciences and Technology Press, Beijing, 1997.

Zhang RJ. Low impedance meridian research; normal distribution of low impedance. Journal of Beijing University. 1978. 1: 135-140.

arrow upHow does acupuncture work? Physics part 2

Before explaining qi flow, what the meridians are doing and why the needle helps with this process, it is necessary, using quantum electrodynamics, to explain how qi is crucial for all of the biochemical processes of the body and what the qi is actually doing in the body as best as we currently understand. The adult human body is make of approximately 37 trillion cells. Within each of these cells, there are approximately 10 million biochemical reactions per second. (This number will vary depending on the type and level of activity of the cell.)

The nuclei of molecules, made up of protons and neutrons, are not involved in these chemical reaction btw two molecules. The parts of the molecules that interact during chemical reactions are the electrons. Electrons can be lost, gained or shared between molecules during a chemical reaction. Most students will recall these concepts from their days of chemistry class. However, to understand why the qi is crucial we need to look deeper at what happens between the electrons during all chemical reactions.

As previously stated, the electrons are the parts of the molecules that are actively interacting during a biochemical reaction. All electrons possess a negative charge. Due to this similarity of electrical charge, electrons will always repel each other. If electrons can never touch due to similar charges, they must communicate by some means other than physical contact in order to interact and influence each other. The means by which electrons communicate and influence each other is that a particle of light, known as a virtual photon is passed between them. The reason that this particle of light is called a virtual photon is because the electron draws this photon from the vacuum, sends it to the electron it wishes to communicate with and the after influencing the second electron, the virtual photon returns to the vacuum. The photon is called a virtual photon because it only exists for an infinitesimally short period of time in our physical reality.

While this mechanism is part of the theory quantum electrodynamics, there is an important additional piece that must be understood. Going back to the days of chemistry class, many of you will recall that the photon can exist in a number of states. It can exist in the ground state/ lowest energetic state or by the absorption of a photon, the electron can jump to an excited or higher energetic state. The electrons of each chemical element have their own specific ground state energies and each electron is capable of absorbing and emitting only specific frequencies. (See slides 10 and 16 at highmail.highlands.k12.fl.us/~rinaldm/gr%20v%20exc.ppt if this concept is unclear to you)

For two electrons to communicate, the virtual photon emitted by the electron(s) of molecule A must be one that the electron(s) of Molecule B are capable of absorbing. If the electron(s) of molecule A emits a virtual photon that the electron(s) of molecule B is not capable of absorbing, the photon will have no influence on molecule B and no action or communication can take place between these two electrons (And remember that this interaction must take place for a biochemical reaction to occur.)

Now lets assume that the electrons of both molecule A and molecule are both in their ground state and the virtual photons emitted and absorbed by each of these respective electrons have no frequencies in common. In these states, these two molecules cannot communicate or have an effect on each other, but recall that the ground state is not the only state within which the electrons of a molecule can exist. By adding a photon of a specific frequency, the electrons can be raised from their ground state to one of the excited states. The trick here is that each molecules electrons need to be put into a state where they are capable of emitting/absorbing a photon whose frequency both molecules have in common.

An analogy may help to facilitate understanding. Take three molecules with different ground states and each with a variety of excited states. Where the usual way to depict these states, both ground and excited is by frequencies, for the sake of clarity, I am going to switch out the frequencies with a human language since this analogy is about communicating.

 

Molecule A electron(s):

Ground state: English
1st excited state: French
2nd Excited state: Mandarin
3rd Excited state: German
4th Excited state: Swahili

Molecule B electron(s):

Ground state: Korean
1st excited state: Spanish
2nd excited state: German
3rd excited state: Japanese
4th excited state: Latin

Molecule C electron(s):

Ground state: Russian
1st excited state: Swahili
2nd excited state: Tagalog
3rd excited state: Spanish
4th excited state: Hindi

Notice that for the molecule A's electron(s) to communicate with Molecule B's electron(s) , Molecule A's electron(s) must be in the third excited state and Molecule B's electron(s) must be in the second excited state so that they have a "language"(frequency) in common and can communicate. For this to happen, each molecule must absorb a photon of a very specific frequency (and the frequency of photon absorbed by Molecule A's electrons to bring it to the third excited state would be a different frequency of photon than the one needed by the electrons of Molecule B to bring it to the second excited state.) After the electrons of both molecules have absorbed their respective photons, they are now in a state where they can communicate with each other because they now have a frequency (language) in common.

Notice that this is a very dynamic process. For Molecule A's electrons to communicate with Molecules B's electrons, Molecule's A' must be in the third excited state and Molecule B's electrons must be in the second excited state. However if molecule A and B wanted to communicate with Molecule C rather than each other, then molecule A's electrons must be in the 4th excited state (with molecule C's electrons in the first excited state) and molecule B's electrons must be in the first excited state with Molecule C's electrons in the third excited state. The electrons of each respective molecule must consistently absorb a photon of a specific frequency to communicate with another molecule, followed by emission of a photon of the same frequency and then absorb a photon of a different frequency if it wishes to communicate with a different molecule.

This is a crucial piece of the interaction between any two molecules and to the best of my understanding, these photons which allow the communication between the electrons of different molecules is the ying qi (as opposed to yuan qi, wei qi, jing qi, etc). This, like oxygen and glucose, is a necessary resource the body requires in order to function properly. The photons/ying qi, like oxygen and glucose, will eventually be lost and must be replaced by the body (which is why we have meridians and acupuncture points which I will explain in the future).

This is a crucial piece of the puzzle when explaining acupuncture or qi to doctors. The body will never be totally devoid of qi/ photons (unless the person is dead.). However, there can be a decrease in the optimal density of photons with a tissue which in TCM theory is called a qi deficiency. Because the qi/photons are part of the signaling process for all biochemical reactions, a qi deficiency/decrease in photon density will in turn affect the rate of chemical reactions. When a doctor prescribes a drug, he/she expects it alter to the body's physiological processes by altering (usually increasing) the rate of certain biochemical reactions. However, if the signaling process is decreased because of a qi deficiency/ decrease in the density of photons within the tissue, the pharmaceutical becomes less effective because of a decrease in efficiency of the signaling mechanism which the pharmaceutical must use to communicate with its target molecules in the body. Both pharmaceuticals (or herbs) and the qi/photons are crucial resources.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a very complex process and that "Ying qi" is not one type of energy but a continuum of countless frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum that the body must use in the signaling between the multitude of biochemicals found in and used by the body in its physiological processes.

(For those of you who may have forgotten these concepts or would like to brush up on them, please refer to the following 2 resources

  • Grounded and excited states of electrons of Molecules: highmail.highlands.k12.fl.us/~rinaldm/gr%20v%20exc.ppt

  • Virtual photons (also called Virtual particles)http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Quantum/virtual_particles.html

It is important to note here that this is a model for how acupuncture works. While most of the information above is accepted theory from physics and chemistry, proving that acupuncture affects these processes in the body still requires rigorous scientific testing. Much of the quantum electrodynamics could not (to the best of my knowledge) be tested within a living organism currently due to the level of instrumentation currently available. Fortunately technology is advancing rapidly.

What you need to understand:

  • The electrons of different molecules communicate by means of photons (virtual photons)

  • This form of communication is necessary for all biochemical reactions.

  • For electrons of different molecules to communicate, they must be in resonance/have a frequency in common. This can be accomplished by the absorption of a photon of a specific frequency which puts the electron into an excited state.

In reference to the information given above you should be thinking:

  • How does acupuncture affect the density of photons?

  • If acupuncture points and meridians are areas of decreased electrical resistance, how does this relate to the density of photons/ying qi in the body?

  • Why are there twelve regular meridians?

  • Why are there so many different acupuncture points?

  • Why do we use the techniques used in acupuncture and how do these techniques affect the electrical flow and density of photons/ying qi?

How acupuncture works: Physics part three will be out in about 2 weeks. I will put out a notice when it is online.

The above article is the intellectual property of Dr. Kyo Mitchell and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without his written permission.

 

arrow upWhat is jing and how does it work?

(It should be noted that this is a concept paper and not a scientific paper. Science has not progressed enough where we have the means to objectively test the phenomenon I will attempt to explain below but I think it is important to attempt to describe and explain some of the concepts/terms in Chinese medical theory in more detail so as to most effectively treat patients. )

Jing is seen as one of the three treasures (with qi and shen) in Asian health and philosophy but what exactly is jing? How does jing work to maintain health and vitality and why does a loss of jing result in disease, aging and eventually death?

Dr. William Tiller, the former Stanford physics professor posed a very interesting idea that may help one understand what jing is and how it works. Tiller put forth the idea that, in addition to the physical body, human beings and all living organisms have a series of energy "bodies" that interpenetrate and extend beyond the physical body. The first of these energetic bodies, commonly referred to as the etheric body, is allegedly the most dense energy body and vibrates at the lowest frequency of all of the energetic bodies. (Tiller,1997)The purpose of the etheric body is that it is the blueprint of the physical body, an underlying energetic/information network which contains the information for developing and maintaining the body's correct structure at all levels as well as the physiology. (The etheric body has also been called the morphogenic/morphogenetic field. For more on this, read up on the works by Rupert Sheldrake of Oxford University.)

The physical body is made up of atoms, molecules and energies all of which all move slower than the speed of light. In Tiller's description of the etheric body, he states that it is possible that this body is made up of energies which travel faster than the speed of light. If such a model is correct, there is a problem. The particles and energies of the physical body could never move fast enough to reach the speed of light or faster. Similarly, the energies of the etheric body, which move faster than the speed of light, could never slow down enough to reach the speed of light or a lesser velocity. As such, these two levels of reality with their respective energies could never communicate because there is a barrier between them – the speed of light. In order for these two forms of energies and their respective bodies to communicate, Tiller posited that there was an energetic particle which was not bound to the limitations of physical reality (Always slower than the speed of light) or the etheric reality (Always faster than the speed of light). Tiller termed this energetic particle a "deltron" and stated that its purpose was to bridge the gap between the physical and etheric realities. The deltron was a necessary resource which allowed the physical and etheric body's to communicate and without the deltrons, the communication between the two bodies simply did not happen.

Equating the deltrons with jing (Sometimes also called jing qi), jing may serve the same purpose or even be the same thing. Energetic medicine is about moving specific energies at specific rates and densities throughout the body so the body has enough of this energy to function as efficiently as possible but what exactly is this energy doing and where does it come from? The etheric body and its ability to influence particles and energies of the physical body may be similar in concept to Louis DeBroglie's pilot waves where an overlying faster moving energetic wave is the impetus for the movement of an underlying slower moving particle such as an electron. The overlying, faster moving etheric body controls and serves as a structural blueprint for the underlying physical body and its atoms and is the information basis for maintaining the physical body's correct coherent structure and function at all levels. However, as previously stated, for the energetic/information network of the etheric body to communicate with the particles and energies of the physical body, there must be a mediator between these two networks of information because of their inherent limitations. This is the purpose of the jing/deltrons.

In Chinese medical theory, a lack of jing in a child creates a failure to thrive where the child's growth and development are stunted. (Translation: The information from the etheric body's blueprint of the physical body is not reaching the physical body. As such, the physical body, even though it has the necessary physical molecules/resources, does not have the necessary information to develop and grow properly.) Similarly, an adult with a lack of jing will age prematurely. (Translation: The physical body is breaking down prematurely because the correct type and quantity of information from the etheric body is not reaching the physical body which helps the physical body correctly and coherently maintain its optimal structure and function .)

If these concepts were true (And once again, this model would need to be tested - and we currently do not possess the capability to detect the existence of energies beyond the physical level),then jing is absolutely essential to both healing and maintaining the physical and functional integrity of the body. The question is then, "Are there sources of jing and can it be increased in the human body to improve the efficacy of acupuncture treatments?" The honest answer is that we (or at least I) don't know for sure. The Shen Nong Ben Cao, the original book on Chinese herbal medicine, may provide a clue. In this text, herbs are classified as superior, middle or lower class herbs. The superior class herbs are stated to make one immortal. One translation of "Immortal" is that you do not age quickly. This, once again, may be due to the jing helping the body to function optimally by maintaining its structural and physiological integrity as described above. If humans have jing as part of one of their energetic bodies, then it is possible that plants also have jing as part of their higher bodies. By ingesting the herb, you may also be taking in the plant's jing. Jing is most likely not one thing but a continuum of higher level energies. If the jing energies of the plant are similar to those of humans, then these jing energies from the plant can be absorbed. If they are different, then they cannot. This may be why certain herbs were classified as superior. They had not only the physical molecules to effect biochemical change in the body but also possessed jing to help translate between the physical and etheric bodies. One example of this might be ren shen or ginseng.

Similarly to the problems that are possible with qi, there may also be both deficiencies and stagnation of jing. Where herbs may help to build the jing, acupuncture would most likely be needed to treat and stagnation of jing. Dr. Tran Viet Dzung has stated that the extraordinary vessels distribute jing qi. In cases of problems which do not respond to standard acupuncture treatment, there may be problems with the jing and it may be necessary to needle and manipulate the extraordinary vessels.

References:

Tiller, WA Science and Human Transformation. Pavior, 1997

arrow upExplantion # 2

A BRIEF PHYSIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION IN REGARDS TO HOW MASTER'S TUNG'S DAO MA NEEDLING TECHNIQUE AUGMENTS THE EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE.

When working on a patient, sometimes it seems that the effects of the acupuncture are not strong enough to have the effects the practitioner is striving for –usually in the case of chronic and/or complex cases. Master Tung developed an interesting strategy in regards to this. Rather than inserting a single needle to affect a function, he would put three needles in a row about 1 – 2 cun apart to augment the effect. He referred to this technique as dao ma. For those of you who were my former students, you now I always emphasized understanding how something worked because then you could apply it in new ways. This was a brilliant strategy on the part of Master Tung and I think it is important for practitioners to understand how and why it works.

When we insert an acupuncture needle, it has numerous effects:

THE QI EFFECT: Although no one can question acupuncture's efficacy, how it works remains a mystery for most beyond knowing that if affects qi flow. Dr. William Tiller, a former professor from Stanford's physics department published a simple but brilliant explanation of how and acupuncture needle works many years ago. The metallic needle, connected to the electrical flow of the connective tissue that makes up the meridians, serves as an antenna for electromagnetic energies/signals. This monopole antenna (needle) allows electromagnetic signals to move into the body in the case of a deficiency condition and outward in the case of an excess condition. How the acupuncture needle serves as an antenna and how the electromagnetic signal affects the physiological processes of the body is beyond the scope of this article. (Although, I can explain this in a future post if anyone is interested in understanding this.

By inserting three needles in a row, Master Tung purposely or inadvertently created what is known as a Yagi antenna. For those of you who remember the old time TV antennas on everyone's roof before satellite or cable, these were Yagi antennas. A Yagi antenna has a number of metal "receivers" lined up in parallel. (These would be the prongs of the Yagi antenna.) By placing these receiving elements in a row (In master Tung's case three needles in a row) reception of the electromagnetic signal is augmented. It should be noted that for a Yagi antenna to work there have to be at least 3 metal "receivers" in parallel on the antenna. In Master Tung's dao ma concept, one inserted 3, 4 or even 5 needles in parallel and usually on the same meridian. It was a brilliant strategy to augment the effects of acupuncture on Master Tung's part.

 

THE BRAIN EFFECT: By inserting the needle and getting "de qi" (Which is required in this technique), we are pulling on local connective tissue which in turn pulls on and stimulates local nerves. The input from the stimulated nerves goes to the central nervous system and the brain and affects the function of specific areas of the brain. It should be noted that different points affect different areas and function in the brain and that each point affects multiple – not single – areas of the brain. (I will explain this in greater detail and give examples in future postings) By inserting needles in a series of closely spaced needles, this augments the input received by the brain, reinforcing what needs to be done in the body to correct the patient's problem.

​ THE VASCULAR EFFECT: Whenever there is tissue damage in vascularized tissue, inflammation occurs. Inserting a needle will cause tissue damage, albeit a small amount of damage. Inflammation causes local blood vessels to dilate, bringing in more blood to the area. By inserting three needles in series you are reinforcing the inflammatory and blood vessel dilating responses. In the case of an acute injury, needling three points locally would further exacerbate the inflammation response and should be avoided for 4 – 5 days post-injury at a minimum. Dao ma needling not local to the site would not be harmful after an acute injury. For a chronic disease, dao ma needling would help bring a larger blood supply to the area and may help with the healing process.

TAKE AWAY MESSAGE: There are physiological explanations as to the efficacy of Master Tung's dao ma strategy and in difficult or chronic cases, it may be a very effective tool.

arrow upAcupuncture for anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you have ever had your computer malfunction and not known the reason for that malfunction, you know how frustrating such a situation can be. Now imagine that it is not your computer that is malfunctioning for unknown reasons, but your body. This is the situation of many individuals suffering from anxiety and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anxiety or PTSD, whether due to the effects of a military experience and/or a traumatic event in one's life, can be one of the most difficult challenges an individual can face. Where many people are aware that these problems can have emotional and psychological effects on an individual, many people are not aware of the effects these problems can have on the body and physical function.

When an individual is faced with a traumatic or life threatening experience, their body elicits a "fight or flight" response. This initial response is actually an adaptive response of the sympathetic nervous system to protect the individual. The body sends numerous chemical messages throughout the body that direct the body's resources in a way that increases the probability of their survival. However, if the individual is exposed to a traumatic event that is extreme either in intensity or duration, this response may be mal-adaptive over the long run.

The functions of the nervous and endocrine (hormonal) systems are usually tightly controlled, maintaining the body in a balanced, highly functioning, highly adaptable state. In a person suffering from anxiety or PTSD, the nervous and endocrine systems may be overwhelmed, exhausted and no longer capable of responding appropriately to their environment or their body's own signals.

One aspect of the endocrine system that can be highly affected by anxiety or PTSD are the adrenal glands including their production of cortisol and epinephrine, originally called adrenaline. Cortisol helps determine the blood sugar level. The cortisol levels of an individual suffering from anxiety or PTSD can be abnormally low contributing to a continuous sense of fatigue.

Another symptom associated with anxiety or PTSD is hyper-arousal. The nervous system of the person suffering from these problems reacts excessively to their environment eliciting a fight or flight response even when there is no actual threatening event present. Inappropriate amounts of epinephrine and norepinephrine are produced. Such individuals tend to be irritable, prone to angry outbursts, and startle easily. Depression, anxiety, aggression, and fear conditioning are other psychological symptoms associated with the physiological changes seen in PTSD an anxiety.

Due to the nervous system being consistently in a hyper-aroused state, the ability to relax, sleep and allow the body to rest and recuperate is also disrupted. The lack of adequate rest exacerbates the problem and further exhausts the nervous and hormonal systems.

Many individuals suffering from anxiety or PTSD may go undiagnosed and may not be aware of the underlying cause of their medical problems. The trauma can occur a substantial time period before the symptoms begin and many individuals do not make the link between the traumatic event and their medical problems.

Treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD is multi-phasic and may include cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and acupuncture. If you are suffering the effects of trauma or have symptoms similar to those listed above, please seek medical help. No one should have to endure PTSD. If you would like to learn more about how acupuncture can help treat your anxiety of PTSD, please call.

This article is the intellectual property of Dr. Kyo Mitchell and may not be reproduced without his written permission.

arrow upTreating stress with acupuncture

Health is no longer simply defined as the absence of disease. With most individuals living longer, a high quality of life and health for those additional years is the goal. Where modern medical science has made great advances in helping to eradicate many of the diseases which plagued previous generations, the current pace and stressors of our modern lifestyle present both new challenges to health and quality of life as well as new opportunities.

At its core, stress is supposed to be the body's way of dealing with an immediately threatening situation. By means of activating the sympathetic nervous system, the body mobilizes the necessary resources to deal with this short term threatening situations providing critical resources which would allow an individual to fight or flee. Our current lifestyle has turned this once healthy response into an unhealthy response. This is due in large part to the fact that this response was supposed to be a short term solution to a threatening situation. Modern stressors such as work stress, relationship stress, dealing with taxes, etc are usually long term problems. Because there is no physical outlet to these forms of stressors such as running from a predator which was the purpose of the stress response, the negative aspects of the stress response build up over time. With continued levels of stress, the body's resources are used less efficiently resulting in decreased health, insomnia, irritability and decreased quality of life. An individual can becomes so acclimated to a high level of stress that they do not realize how much stress they are carrying until something suddenly goes wrong with their health. A high level of continued stress has been linked with many diseases.

Many individuals may believe that stress is something with which you just have to live. Going to the gym, doing yoga and meditating may work for some people. Others, however, may need additional help decreasing the stress response. Where the advances of modern medical science with its emphasis on biochemistry and pharmaceuticals, has helped treat many health problems, many individuals would prefer a non-pharmaceutical approach to their health concerns. Acupuncture is one such means to deal with many health concerns including stress. Where pharmaceuticals are based on the theories of biochemistry, acupuncture is the application of the laws of physics to alter the body's physiology and deal with problems of health and disease. In the case of stress, acupuncture can help decrease the excessive sympathetic nervous response, help the individual relax and enjoy a healthier, less stressful life.

Neither western medicine nor acupuncture and oriental medicine can treat every known disease. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses, but with the application of both systems of medicine, many individuals may live longer, healthier lives. If you need help with your stress or have questions, please call.

This article is the intellectual property of Dr. Kyo Mitchell and may not be reproduced without his written permission.