In Alternative Medicine, Everything Old is New

Energy Medicine Going Mainstream

Introduction

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.

~ Nikola Tesla

Energy medicine is the diagnostic and therapeutic use of energy whether produced by or detected by a medical device or by the human body. Energy medicine recognizes that the human body utilizes various forms of energy for communications involved in physiological regulations. Energy medicine involves energy of particular frequencies and intensities and wave shapes that stimulate the repair of one or more tissues. Examples of energy include heat, light, sound, gravity, pressure, vibration, electricity, magnetism, chemical energy, and electromagnetism.1

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that energy medicine has been part of human history for thousands of years. Ever since man crawled and later walked the earth, energy was an essential part of primitive societies as well as advanced sophisticated cultures, including the Egyptians, the Chinese and the Greeks.

Going back to 15,000 B.C., Shamans living within their native tribes performed healing rituals using their bodies in movement, their voices, and plant or animal materials along with the elements of the earth such as fire, wind, and the moon. Their goal was to eliminate bad spirits which negatively impacted the physiological body of the sufferer. This art of healing is still taught and used today around the globe.

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) birthed in India, is one of the oldest medical systems and still today remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, cleansing of the bowels, soft tissue massage using hot oil, and other unique health practices. India’s government and other institutes throughout the world support clinical and laboratory research on Ayurvedic medicine, within the context of the Eastern belief system.2 The Ayurvedic perspective toward the physiology differs from modern Western thought; Humans are spiritual beings living in the temple of the physical body prompting the care of health to focus on spiritual healing to affect the physical body. Another idea unique to the Eastern philosophy and yogic doctrine is the idea of chakras. Chakras are seven wheel-like vortices of energy over nerve plexes and endocrine centers of the body, as well as the third eye and the crown of the head, with small vortices at each joint. They are functional rather than anatomical structures that are connected to the meridians and acupuncture points. Numerous researchers have shown elevated electronic recordings from these locations, particularly with persons in higher states of consciousness or with extrasensory abilities.3 One cannot help but notice the popularity of this healing approach by finding Ayurvedic schools and practitioners not only in Asia but all over the Western world today.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was first recorded around 2,700 B.C. and originated in ancient China. It is still used primarily in China and also all around North America and Europe. While you may think TCM is accepted and widely used throughout Asia, the reality is different; China’s healthcare system offers two sorts of healthcare systems and hospitals to their people: Western Medicine and TCM clinics and both approaches are financially covered for the people. TCM encompasses the use of herbs and is mostly known for acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are placed on acupuncture points along meridians to balance the energy in the body, helping to improve the flow of energy and fluids. Most fascinating is the skill a TCM practitioner has to learn over time to be able to read the patient’s face, tongue, complexion, posture, and the various levels of the pulse felt along the radial artery. The ancient beliefs on which TCM is based include the following:

  • The human body is a miniature version of the larger, surrounding universe;
  • Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called yin and yang, supports health, and disease results from an imbalance between these forces;
  • Five elements – fire, earth, wood, metal, and water – symbolically represent all phenomena, including the stages of human life, and explain the functioning of the body and how it changes during disease;
  • Qi, a vital energy that flows through the body, performs multiple functions in maintaining health.4,5

Historic records lead us back to 1,600 B.C. discussing the brilliance of the ancient Egyptian priests or physicians who knew how to set bones, how to treat a fever and how to recognize symptoms of curable and fatal diseases. The Egyptians held the belief that illness was often caused by an angry god or an evil spirit. For this reason, the Egyptian doctor was also part shaman, who performed rituals and recited prayers on the sick. But, the Egyptian physician was not limited to faith healing as part of his or her practice. Egyptian medicine became a far-reaching discipline, encompassing a great many fields. Doctors in Egypt, like today, were specialists in their particular fields. These fields included pharmacology, dentistry, gynecology, crude surgical procedures, general healing, autopsy, and embalming.6 The goddess Ma-at wore as her symbol a feather, which was used to access the vibrational qualities of justice, truth, balance, and order. The energy is accessed by using intention, and by the use of symbols, usually hieroglyphs.

Energy Healing in the Sufi way predates religion. The elect divine messengers and prophets who were gifted with the precious gift of pure self-surrender to the Absolute, were also gifted with the healing energy which gushed forth from the energy of pure love and unconditional compassion (mercy to all creation). A contemporary energy healer in Sufi way once said: “To heal is to become one with Deep Love of God.”

Ancient Greek manuscripts from 400 B.C describe laying on hands in Aesculapian temples. The philosopher and father of Western Medicine Hippocrates of Cos7 defined energy as “the force which flows from many people’s hands.” Hippocrates was the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine and ultimately established medicine as a discipline distinct from other fields such as theurgy and philosophy, thus establishing medicine as a profession. Hippocratic medicine was humble and passive. The therapeutic approach was based on “the healing power of nature.” According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance the four humors and heal itself.

Ancient Christian scriptures describe “laying-on-hands healing.” Even more important is the message that it is their altered belief allowing healing to take place.

In the 18th Century Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, discovered that “like cures like,” when he ingested bark substance (Cinchona) from South America which was said to cure malaria-related intermittent fevers.8 While he himself had not contracted malaria, when taking a larger dose of the substance, he in turn induced malaria like symptoms in himself, which led him to the idea “that which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms.” This experience birthed the idea of a new philosophy called homeopathy.9 Often it is the information, a form of energy, related to the substance, not necessarily the substance itself that aids in the healing process. Homeopathic remedies are diluted at different levels to stimulate physiologically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Looking at today’s diagnostic approaches, one couldn’t imagine a hospital without ultrasound, X-Ray, and MRI capabilities, or even a private practice without an EKG, EEG, or ultrasound device. All these devices measure the energy of the body in different ways and from different perspectives for diagnostic purposes. This is standard use of care.

On the flip side, therapeutic approaches are still expected to primarily come from a chemical or surgical solution. While there is more and more interest pushing up from the masses via patients who have been seeking help for their chronic health issues, physicians remain hesitant to incorporate forms of energy medicine into their practice. Physicians who have had some sort of training in physics, such as orthopedics, anesthesiology, or even physical therapy know of the significance of the use of physics complementing chemical treatment approaches including pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

With the abundance of self-help books, and information on the internet available today as well as TV and radio shows (which would have been unthinkable only 10-years ago), patients’ demands from their physicians are significantly on the rise for complementary solutions which ideally should be non-invasive and with little side effects. This includes:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Osteopathy
  • Reiki
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Homeopathy
  • Energy technologies including:
    • Laser, ultrasound and micro-current – primarily used for pain relief;
    • Biofeedback – for learning how to better cope with stress;
    • Electromagnetic stimulation for wound healing, soft tissue injuries, and pain.

Considered a “new” field in modern medicine, Energy Healing is separated into two categories by NCCAM, the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:10

  1. Energies that can be measured scientifically by our present standards, like electromagnetic therapy, or therapy using sound waves
  2. Energies that are not yet subject to our measurement – the subtle fields that are utilized in energy healing, acupuncture, chi gong, Ayurveda, homeopathy, therapeutic touch, prayer or distance healing, and similar modalities.

Patients are frustrated and disappointed with the standard care solutions for their chronic symptoms. More times than less, a vast population of chronically ill patients not only sees no improvement, but experiences further decline in their health. So, patients start to research, ask their doctors intelligent questions and listen to answers and solutions with high expectations. They seek help outside their insurance’s network, often traveling far to seek a physician who goes beyond the standard offering of care, giving more personal attention to the patient and offering treatment solutions including the realm of energy medicine.

Humans are electromagnetic beings, and we need to capture them as such with diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. This branch of biophysics is barely known or understood and therefore not pursued by physicians. While biophysics has been known and was officially recorded in 189211 as “the branch in science concerned with the application of physical principles and methods to biological problems,” medical schools do not teach their students on the established fact that every function within the human body breaks down to an act of physics, even chemical processes. Knowing this fact would help physicians to move quickly and confidently embrace methods using forms of energy and complementing standard patient care with energy medicine.

In the peer-reviewed literature we find evidence that certain electromagnetic fields have an impact on the physiological process including melatonin secretion, nerve regeneration, cell growth, collagen production, DNA synthesis, cartilage and ligament growth, lymphocyte activation, and more.12 What’s consistent in these findings is that the frequencies need to be specific and not generic. Exposing the patient to a large range of frequencies limits therapeutic results along with the lasting effects of the therapy. The electromagnetic stimulation needs to be personalized to the patient just like we personalize pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals.

Research shows that specific frequencies correlate with organs and organ systems while significantly impacting cells, tissue, and organs:

  • 8 Hz and the heart;
  • 1,217.7 Hz with the kidneys;
  • 0.18 Hz with the liver;
  • 406.37 Hz with the lungs;
  • 26.90 Hz with the colon;
  • 114.03 Hz with the stomach;
  • 60.40 Hz with the spleen/pancreas.13

These frequencies are available in different octaves just like on a tempered piano; the note C can be played on higher and lower octaves. Frequency is the term to explain repetition over a certain amount of time and it is expressed in Hertz (Hz). These frequencies are based on the mathematical structure as already documented by Pythagoras 500 B.C., and upon which the basis of geometry is founded; this structure can be found in all elements of nature.

To read more, go to:    http://www.faim.org/energy-medicine-going-mainstream

Oh, Acupuncture!

Research Confirms this Holistic Treatment is Safer and More Effective than Morphine

Anna Hunt, Staff
Waking Times

A new study has discovered that acupuncture can be more effective in treating pain than intravenous morphine. In addition, the researchers discovered that acupuncture can work faster in relieving pain and have fewer adverse effects. The study was conducted over a one-year period at the Fattaouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia. The results were published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The Side Effects of Morphine Use

Morphine is an opioid pain medication which can have severe adverse effects. These include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, tired feeling, anxiety and mild itching. Other risks associated with morphine use include misuse, abuse and addiction.

In addition, scientific research has shown that prescription opioids may actually worsen chronic pain. It appears that a holistic alternative to treating pain is much-needed in order to mitigate the dangers of conventional pharmaceutical pain treatment.

Now, a groundbreaking study shows that acupuncture is one of these effective holistic alternatives. Considering the study results, it may perhaps be even more effective than morphine.

Study: Acupuncture versus Morphine

A study performed in the Emergency Department of Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital, which sees about 100,000 emergency patients per year, evaluated the pain treatment approach for 300 ED patients.

The research evaluated 300 emergency patients. 150 were administered up to 15 mg of morphine per day. The other 150 were given acupuncture treatment for address their pain. The researchers summarized the results as follows:

Success rate was significantly different between the 2 groups (92% in the acupuncture group vs 78% in the morphine group P < .001). Resolution time was 16 ± 8 minutes in the acupuncture group vs 28 ± 14 minutes in the morphine group (P < .005).

From the 5-minute time point, the acupuncture group reported significantly larger pain decrease compared with the morphine group.

Overall, 89 patients (29.6%) experienced minor adverse effects: 85 (56.6%) in morphine group and 4 (2.6%) in acupuncture group (P < .001). No major adverse effects were recorded during the study protocol.

In patients with acute pain presenting to the ED, acupuncture was associated with more effective and faster analgesia with better tolerance.

To paraphrase, the acupuncture group in the study experienced significant pain reduction, and the effect occurred faster and with fewer side effects when compared to the morphine group.

Western Medicine Recognizes Acupuncture as an Effective Medical Treatment

Acupuncture originated in China many centuries ago and soon spread to Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia as an accepted medical treatment. Throughout the Asian continent, it is widely used in health care systems, officially recognized by governments, and well received by the general public.

In 1996, acupuncture became an accepted form of medical treatment endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO based their endorsement on data from numerous controlled clinical trials conducted over the two previous decades. The WHO report that resulted from the analysis of these clinical trials states:

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials – to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following

  • stroke)

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary

  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary

  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)

  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labour

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Malposition of fetus, correction of

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular

  • dysfunction)

  • Periarthritis of shoulder

  • Postoperative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke

  • Tennis elbow

Notice the multiple mentions of conditions that involve pain, such as low back pain, neck pain and headaches. In their report, the WHO also stated that acupuncture has shown to have a therapeutic effect on abdominal pain, cancer pain, facial spasms, and labour pain (although the organization did not have sufficient clinical data to include these in the effective treatment list above.)

Undoubtedly, acupuncture can play a powerful role in pain management. It is an effective drug-free alternative to reducing pain with very few side effects that has been proven over the ages. Finally, science is catching up to reinforce this claim.

from:     http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/01/12/research-confims-holistic-treatment-more-effective-morphine/

Considering Acupuncture

Acupuncture: Why It Works

 By Dr. Mercola

More than 3 million Americans receive acupuncture each year, and its use is increasing.1 While there are a variety of acupuncture techniques, those typically used in the U.S. incorporate traditions from China, Japan and Korea and involve penetrating your skin with a thin needle at certain points on your body.

The needle is then stimulated by hand or electrically.2 Acupuncture has been in use for thousands of years around the globe, and it has withstood the test of time because it works to safely relieve many common health complaints.

How it works has remained largely a mystery, but last year researchers revealed a biochemical reaction that may be responsible for some of acupuncture’s beneficial effects.

Scientists Reveal How Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation and Pain

An animal study looking into the effects of acupuncture on muscle inflammation revealed that manual acupuncture downregulates (or turns off) pro-inflammatory cells known as M1 macrophages. At the same time, it upregulates (or activates) anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages, thereby reducing pain and swelling.3

This is an effective strategy because M2 macrophages are a source of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10), a cytokine involved in immune response. It’s thought that upregulating M2 macrophages leads to an increase in IL-10, which subsequently helps relieve pain and inflammation. The Epoch Times reported:4

Acupuncture literally flips a switch wherein initial inflammatory responses are reduced and the secondary healing responses are promoted.

M1 macrophage downregulation and M2 macrophage upregulation triggered by acupuncture was positively associated with reductions in muscle pain and inflammation.”

It’s likely that acupuncture works via a variety of mechanisms. In 2010, for instance, it was found that acupuncture activates pain-suppressing receptors and increased the concentration of the neurotransmitter adenosine in local tissues.5

Adenosine slows down your brain’s activity and induces sleepiness. According to a Nature Neuroscience press release:6

“ … [T]he authors propose a model whereby the minor tissue injury caused by rotated needles triggers adenosine release, which, if close enough to pain-transmitting nerves, can lead to the suppression of local pain.”

Acupuncture Influences Your Body on Multiple Levels

With documented use dating back more than 2,500 years, acupuncture is based on the premise that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points in the human body, which are connected by bioenergetic pathways known as meridians.

According to traditional medicine, it is through these pathways that Qi, or energy, flows, and when the pathway is blocked the disruptions can lead to imbalances and chronic disease.

Acupuncture is proven to impact a number of chronic health conditions, and it may work, in part, by stimulating your central nervous system to release natural chemicals that alter bodily systems, pain and other biological processes. Evidence suggests that acupuncture may also work by:7

  • Stimulating the conduction of electromagnetic signals, which may release immune system cells or pain-killing chemicals
  • Activation of your body’s natural opioid system, which may help reduce pain or induce sleep
  • Stimulation of your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which impact numerous body systems
  • Change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which may positively influence brain chemistry

Acupuncture May Relieve Pain From Knee Osteoarthritis

Acupuncture is often used for the treatment of chronic pain, and it may be particularly useful for pain from knee osteoarthritis.

In a study by researchers from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture received five times a week for four weeks significantly reduced pain and improved stiffness in patients with knee osteoarthritis.8

In this study, the improvements increased even more when acupuncture was combined with Chinese massage called Tui Na. Other research has also shown benefits, including one of the longest and largest studies on the topic to date.

More than 550 patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis took part in the 26-week trial. The participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or self-help strategies recommended by the Arthritis Foundation (the latter served as a control group).

Significant differences in response were seen by week eight and 14, and at the end of the trial, the group receiving real acupuncture had a 40 percent decrease in pain and a nearly 40 percent improvement in function compared to baseline assessments — a 33 percent difference in improvement over the sham group.9

Acupuncture for Relief of High Blood Pressure

There is some evidence that acupuncture may help lower high blood pressure while also relieving associated anxiety, headaches, dizziness, palpitations and tinnitus.

It’s known that high blood pressure leads to elevated concentrations of inflammation-causing tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and TNF-α-stimulated endothelin (ET), peptides involved in constricting blood vessels and raising blood pressure.10,11

It’s thought that acupuncture may downregulate TNF-α and ET, thereby reducing blood pressure. In another study of patients with high blood pressure, 30 minutes of electroacupuncture (in which the needles are stimulated with electricity) a week led to slight declines in blood pressure.12

Study co-author Dr. John Longhurst, a cardiologist at the University of California, Irvine, told WebMD, “Potentially, blood pressure can be kept low with a monthly follow-up treatment.” He continued:13

“A noticeable drop in blood pressure was observed in 70 percent of the patients treated at the effective points, an average of 6 to 8 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure [the top number] and 4 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure [the lower number].”

Acupuncture Even Works for Fibromyalgia Pain and Pain in Children

One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in treating chronic pain. One analysis of the most robust studies available concluded that acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard pain treatment.14

Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture.

Even fibromyalgia pain, which can be difficult to treat and is associated with sleep problems, fatigue and depression, may be improved.

In one study, 10 weeks of acupuncture decreased pain scores in fibromyalgia patients by an average of 41 percent, compared with 27 percent in those who received a sham procedure.15

The pain relief lasted for at least 1 year, leading researchers to conclude, “ … [T]he use of individualized acupuncture in patients with fibromyalgia is recommended.” Acupuncture also appears to be a safe and effective treatment for relieving chronic pain in children.

In a study of 55 children with chronic pain, those who received eight acupuncture sessions (each lasting about 30 minutes) reported significant reductions in pain and improved quality of life.16

Acupuncture for Depression, Cancer Patients and More

Acupuncture’s benefits extend to a myriad of other health conditions as well. Research suggests acupuncture works as well as counseling for treating depression, for instance.17 It may also improve fatigue, anxiety and depression in cancer patients in as little as eight weeks — and much more.18

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an extensive review and analysis of clinical trials related to acupuncture and reported the procedure has been proven effective for the following diseases:19

Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever) Biliary colic
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)  Acute bacillary dysentery Primary dysmenorrhea
Acute epigastralgia (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm) Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders) Headache
Essential hypertension Primary hypotension Induction of labor
Knee pain Leukopenia Low back pain
Correction of malposition of fetus Morning sickness Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction) Periarthritis of shoulder
Postoperative pain Renal colic Rheumatoid arthritis
Sciatica Sprain Stroke
Tennis elbow

Additionally, acupuncture has also shown a therapeutic effect for treating the following diseases and conditions, which range from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and addictions to whooping cough, although further research is needed:

Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm) Acne vulgaris Alcohol dependence and detoxification Bell’s palsy
Bronchial asthma Cancer pain Cardiac neurosis Chronic cholecystitis, with acute exacerbation
Cholelithiasis Competition stress syndrome Closed craniocerebral injury Non-insulin-dependent  diabetes mellitus
Earache Epidemic hemorrhagic fever Simple epistaxis  (without generalized or local disease) Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
Female infertility Facial spasm Female urethral syndrome Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Gastrokinetic disturbance Gouty arthritis Hepatitis B virus carrier status Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
Hyperlipaemia Hypo-ovarianism Insomnia Labor pain
Lactation deficiency Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic Ménière disease Postherpetic neuralgia
Neurodermatitis Obesity Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence Osteoarthritis
Pain due to endoscopic examination Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome) Postextubation in children
Postoperative convalescence Premenstrual syndrome Chronic prostatitis Pruritus
Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome Primary Raynaud syndrome Recurrent lower urinary tract infection Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Traumatic retention of urine Schizophrenia Drug-induced Sialism Sjögren syndrome
Sore throat (including tonsillitis) Acute spine pain Stiff neck Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Tietze syndrome Tobacco dependence Tourette syndrome Chronic ulcerative colitis
Urolithiasis Vascular dementia Whooping cough (pertussis)

Are Certain Types of Acupuncture Better Than Others?

Similar benefits have been found for different types of acupuncture treatment. For instance, sometimes the stimulation of acupuncture points is done using electricity, lasers or acupressure (the use of pressure to stimulate acupuncture points).

The term acupuncture is often used to describe all of these modalities, as each has shown similar benefits. This means that if you like the idea of trying a natural, ancient technique like acupuncture, but don’t like the idea of having needles inserted into your body, there are needle-free alternatives, such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, you can try that may offer many of the same benefits.

If you decide to try out traditional acupuncture, be aware that the success of your treatment depends on the expertise of your practitioner. While there are acupuncturists that have general specialties, there are also those that specialize in different health conditions, such as pain relief, depression, infertility or neurological disorders. Choose an acupuncturist that is experienced in your area of need who will work with you to develop a plan for healing.

from:    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/23/how-does-acupuncture-work.aspx

Acupuncture, Qi, & You

Acupuncture & the Qi Phenomenon

6th January 2013

By Adam Cantor, MS, LAc

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

What is Qi and why has Western science failed to explain away this phenomenon?

Modern acupuncture research has tried to understand Qi but instead of coming away with one unifying theory, or perhaps even a way to flat out disprove its existence, science has posited several possibilities as to the biological manifestation or physiological occurrence that the Chinese refer to as Qi. What follows is my interpretation of Qi as it pertains to acupuncture as well as the practice of Qigong, a form of moving meditation that translates into “life energy cultivation”.

Chinese Medicine is really abstract, full of flowery imagery and concepts that are foreign to most of us in the West. In that sense, it’s quite different from Western medicine which is steeped in reductionism or the idea of breaking the body down into small isolated pieces in order to understand each component; this often leads to forsaking the forest for the trees. Perhaps this explains why biomedicine has such a disconnect between the mind and body.  There are specialists for just about every area and function of the human body and yet, only a select few physicians are able to see the way these disparate systems interrelate or connect. Conversely, Chinese medicine views the human being as an integrated whole, a divine cohesive unit that must be treated as such in both life and in medicine.

Is Qi really as esoteric as it sounds? Not really. I’ll give you some Western biomedical explanations of how it works. For starters, Qi is, for all intents and purposes, “matter on the verge of becoming energy or energy on the verge of materializing” (Kaptchuk, Web That Has No Weaver). Let’s put that into more Western terms: potential and kinetic energy. Everything in this world has either potential or kinetic energy and according to physics and the law of conservation, energy cannot be naturally created, only transferred from one state to another. With that in mind, Qi can be viewed as the manifestation of energy in a state of flux – somewhere between potential and kinetic. This is why, when we cut someone open, we can’t see their Qi, yet it’s something that everyone can feel in themselves (with training).

I practice Qigong regularly and am able to feel Qi movement in my body. I even notice differences from session to session, based on what’s going on with me at a given time, physically as well as emotionally. Qigong is essentially exercise, but instead of just building the muscles, it builds the mind as well; something modern science is just now beginning to understand with it’s extensive studies of neuroplasticity and meditation.  Keeping in mind that the body and mind are to be viewed as one, Qigong requires relaxation, breath work and an open yet disciplined state of consciousness. The mind guides and the Qi follows. If the mind isn’t open during practice, results are tempered. The stronger your mind, the easier it becomes to cultivate and guide the Qi. This doesn’t mean the smarter you are, the easier it becomes, but rather the more relaxed and receptive your mind is, the easier it will be to experience results. As traditional societies have known for quite some time with their own cultivation practices (i.e. Ayurvedic, Shamanic or Native American), the building and cultivation of ones self can only be truly achieved through meditation or meditative-like practices. The stresses of modern life such as smart phones and all of the other non-stop stimuli inundating our brains make such development and practice that much more important – and simultaneously, that much more difficult for the average person.

Qi has also been described and quantified in the West as our bioelectric charge. Bio-electromagnetism refers to the electrical and magnetic fields produced by living cells, tissues and organisms. During the electro-physiological research of the 1960′s, scientists proved that bones are in fact piezoelectric. This means that under mechanical stress, chemical processes convert energy to electric current. It is understood now however that the human body is constructed of many different electrically conductive materials, and that it forms a living electromagnetic field and circuit. All living things on this planet, large and small have some level of electric and/or magnetic charge. Humans and some plant cells, experience living “electrical events” known as action potentials, or nerve impulses, in which neurons, muscle cells and endocrine cells facilitate inter-cellular communication and activate intra-cellular processes. Electromagnetic energy is continuously being generated in the human body through biochemical reactions such as those we experience in assimilation of our food and air.

In addition, we are constantly being affected by external electromagnetic fields such as those of the Earth, moon and large bodies of water. Anyone who has ever practiced Qigong next to a river or ocean can attest to the difference!  Many acupuncturists use magnets or electricity in their treatments for this very reason. Dr. Robert O. Becker, author of The Body Electric, reports in his book that the conductivity of skin is significantly higher at acupuncture points. Dr. Becker’s book, as well as several other reports on the subject, confirm the notion of Qi is indeed both real and scientific.

Most people go about their daily lives with no sense of the Qi within them or around them. However, there are the naturally gifted few that are born with the innate wisdom and sensitivity to be able to see and work with these energetic fields. Again, these people are truly rare today and I believe that most who profess such skills are telling half-truths or flat out lies. That being said however, such individuals certainly exist and there is absolutely an aspect to energetic healing that is beyond the scope of modern medicines capability to explain. For the rest of us normal humans however, it requires extensive training and development of our minds and our nervous system to be able to get in touch with this field, let alone control it or yield it… but it is possible.

The ancient Chinese people had no knowledge of electricity, yet they knew that when an acupuncture needle was inserted into the body at a specific location, some form of energy other than heat was produced. In acupuncture theory, Qi ‘flows’ through the body via channels or meridians that connect our entire structure. These meridians, although not identifiable formations by Western biomedicine, have been mapped, described in detail and utilized by Chinese medical practitioners for thousands of years. Meridians contain ‘gates’ or points along their pathway where manipulation of the energy or Qi that flows through them is possible and particularly effective. By manipulating these points, one can influence the flow of Qi along the meridian in order to help the patient regain health and wellness. That’s the acupuncturists’ job, to transmit the message to the patient’s body in order to allow them to regain balance. The healing isn’t in the needle itself, but rather it’s in the practitioner’s ability to read the patient and transmit the correct message to them at the correct time in order to facilitate that person’s natural ability to heal and self-regulate. In that respect, true wellness is actually up to the patient and their ability to receive that message.

Western medical research has determined that acupuncture points are locations of fascial bundling. Our fascia is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body — it’s absolutely everywhere! While much of the incredible healing power of acupuncture is still being researched, acupuncture points have been found to mostly lie along fascial planes, between muscles or between a muscle and bone or tendon. Fascia envelops the smallest fiber of muscle, every bone and joint and holds us together, in effect, supporting our structure and giving us our shape.

So what does Qi have to do with fascia?

A blockage of Qi can be viewed as an alteration in fascial composition and the majority of acupuncture points correspond to the sites where fascial networks converge. Thus, manipulation of an acupuncture needle produces change that can propagate along the fascial network and communicate with our entire body since everything is connected via this massive web of tissue. Think of fascia like a spider web; when something hits the web, the spider doesn’t have to see it, it just knows exactly where it is because of the vibrations. Similarly, when acupuncture needles enter the fascial web, it propagates a signal to our nervous system and our neurochemistry responds accordingly. A 1995 study by H. Heine, a German MD, documented the existence of perforation points in the fascia. He found that the majority (82%) of these perforations are topographically identical with the 361 classical acupuncture points of Chinese medicine.

I’m going to get a bit more in depth so bear with me if you can, because this is really interesting stuff!

Fascia is densely innervated by mechanoreceptors, also known as golgi bodies. These receptors influence local fluid dynamics of the tissue and their activation triggers the autonomic nervous system to change the local pressure in blood vessels. Strongly stimulated fascial fibers can even influence the extrusion of plasma from blood vessels into the interstitial fluid matrix, thus changing the viscosity of the extracellular environment. The interstitial mechanoreceptors can also trigger an increase in vagal tone or impulses from the vagus nerve, which leads towards more trophotropic tuning of the hypothalamus. In other words, the parasympathetic (rest and digest) aspect of our nervous system increases, our muscles relax, our adrenals close up shop for a while and our body essentially down-regulates into a deeply relaxed state — all from a properly inserted acupuncture needle!

Qi is absolutely real and cannot only be felt but it can be measured.  While acupuncture has been the focus of roughly 1,000+ scientific studies around the world over the past five years, Qigong has earned only a fraction of that attention.  Interesting considering Qigong practices are thought to pre-date acupuncture, a healing modality dated somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

Although the aforementioned studies have shed a great deal of light on the Qi phenomenon, there are still several questions left unanswered. For example, how can the mind generate a force in order to circulate the Qi of the body (as in Qigong)? How are we as humans affected by the electromagnetic fields that surround us in our environments? What about our daily use of electronics; how does that impact us? How do the fields of other people affect us? Why is it that you can be at a party and when someone walks into the room that is upset or angry, even without seeing them, you can sense it in your body? How do we quantify those things?

Nanotechnology is beginning to help us address some of these queries. But the future of Qi research and our exploration of the internal is going to be quite an adventure.

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2013/01/06/acupuncture-the-qi-phenomenon/