By Dave Shipsey B.Sc. (hons), Grad Dip., A.Ac, C.Ac. MAFPA, Dip. Buteyko. MBBA, Dip. Tuina.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history in preventative as well as curative medicine. In centuries gone by the acupuncturist used to get paid for maintaining good health and would not get paid for treatment when the client became ill. Acupuncture works at many levels and the basis upon which it achieves such powerful results is by transforming qi (also pronounced Chi) of various organs or systems in order to get the best therapeutic result.
Qi is loosely translated as energy and just as energy in conventional scientific terms exists in various different forms including, light, sound, solid state, kinetic, potential, hot, cold etc., Qi also exists in many different forms each of which have different qualities and functions. Wei Qi, Yuan Qi, Zhong Qi, etc.
Immune function of protecting the body against attack from internal /external pathogens is the main function of Wei qi. Wei Qi is a refined form of qi from food (Ying qi) and Qi from the atmosphere and air, there are many organs involved in its production but the middle part of the abdomen the stomach and spleen are credited with having the majority role in its production / refinement. For this reason stomach (St 36 Zusanli) and Large intestine Li 4 Hegu & Li 11 Qichu) points are often stimulated to improve immune function. The importance of the middle burner, where many abdominal acupuncture points reside partly explains the power of abdominal acupuncture in nourishing the immune system.
Circulation of Wei qi or defensive qi is regulated by lung function and when the lungs are weak there is often a susceptibility to infection. The emotions of the lungs are Grief and sadness and frequently when people are grieving they are prone to recurrent colds / flu’s or other serious illnesses. The wei qi opens and closes the pores this is why after a sweat inducing workout it is important to cool down and allow the pores to close so that the body can defend itself against invasion. A cool shower will invigorate the body and particularly the wei qi ensuring that you stay strong and resist infection.
Various acupuncture points (mentioned above) have been shown to improve the bodies immune system, theses points can be stimulated using acupuncture, acupressure, massage, moxa or laser. In China people often do a daily routine which uses qi gong, or other methods to stimulate these points in order to maintain good health.
Part of the therapeutic action of acupuncture is the immune systems response to the insertion of needles which causes a chain reaction involving various immune cells including Mast cells and Basophils. The degree and nature to which the immune system reacts depends on the duration and stimulation of the needles .Strong stimulation over a short duration can encourage an inflammatory response to rid the body of a virus or bacteria (clear full heat). Mild stimulation over a prolonged period encourages the release of corticosteroids and decreases the release of leukotrienes and other inflammatory substances (Dao of Chinese Medicine Donald E. Kendell). This might be used in the case of a chronic inflammatory condition such as arthritis or other empty heat conditions.
Acupuncture can be used post operatively to prevent infection rather than a course of antibiotic’s. Research has shown that acupuncture on points LI11 (Quchi) and St36 (Zusanli) (prevents infection after surgery and also speeds up the recovery of the patient.
A course of acupuncture is a great way of maintaining good health and ensuring that your body is in pristine condition to fight off common winter conditions such as cold / flu and winter vomiting bug. Improving your immune system will improve fertility and all aspects of your health and well being. Acupuncture is also beneficial to those who are immuno-compromised as with Cancer or HIV. Please feel free to contact me to discuss how acupuncture might help you at firstname.lastname@example.org