imagesAcupuncture techniques
Picasso in acupuncture treatment
Needle, Qi, Shen, and body

The emperor asked: “Why is there no treatment when someone’s physical body is in extreme deficiency of the Qi and blood?”

Qi Bo replies: “Because the ‘Shen’ has no place where it can stay; if there is no ‘Shen’, then there is no treatment, and no life”. —- “Nei Jing”

The basic construct of Traditional Chinese Medicine is its basic emphasis on the concept of “Shen” therapy and promotion of the individual’s own physiological equilibrations. To better explain the basis of TCM and its construct one must first define the basis of “Shen”. “Shen” simply defined can be the spiritual flow and activity of one’s body. According to TCM, pathological diseases occur due to disharmony of the yin, yang, Qi and blood. Therefore to regulate and balance yin, yang, Qi, and blood is the purpose of treatment in the field of acupuncture. Treating the “Shen” simply means to stimulate the spiritual body in order to balance the physical body.

This idea of treating and regulation the “Shen” in an individual body raises several interesting questions. How can one treat disease by regulating the “Shen”? This question will take the reader back to the basic principles of acupuncture learned at the introduction courses, when the first question asked were: how does acupuncture work? And “how can acupuncture treat disease”? To answer these basic questions one must first understand that in fact, the needle does not directly treat the pathological disease; it is actually the body that treats itself through self-adjusting processes controlled by the “Shen”. The needle is simply a tool that is used to stimulate the body to cause certain reactions. It is actually the body’s own reactions towards these stimulations that help cure the individual illness.

To the best of our understandings so far in this field of medicine, the living body consists of Qi, blood, yin and yang, as well as other physical and nonphysical factors, which are controlled by a the “Shen” and is responsible for the adaptation of the individual to the environment. This ability of self-regulation is the primary locus of control and balance in one’s body to help the individual maintaining a healthy physical state and a healthy lifestyle. TCM believes that this ability is organized and supported by qi, blood, yin and yang.

Although none are clearly sure what that exactly this “Shen” or the ability to self regulate actually is! Many attempts have been made through out medical history to define it. In early Western medicine many physicians believed in the theory of the four major “Humor” or fluids of the body is responsible for this physical self regulation; in present theories the autonomic immune system is believed to be responsible; and finally in the language of religion, it is the soul of our body. But in accordance with TCM “Shen” is the main controller that is responsible for regulating our body’s growth, development, metabolism, and balance when an individual is ill. Acupuncture treatment mainly focuses on the “Shen”, as well as our physical body, to better understand the influences of “Shen” on where the illness manifests, and where the illness originates. With correct treatment and careful analysis of the patient acupuncturists can help the automatic balance of physical states and cure the body according to its original pattern. That is the key point in the treatment of the “Shen”.

There are only parts of traditional needle techniques covered in this Advanced Needle Technique class. The goal of this guidebook is to help the student spend more time to practice and feel the essence of the needle technique in our practice. The book will introduce some techniques in the beginning, from other books, such as the “Nei Jing”, “Nan Jing”, “Zhen Jiu Da Chen”, “Zhen Jiu Ju Ying”, and “Jing Zhen Fu”. In an effort to make this information understandable and clinically effective, the guidebook describes some ancient needle techniques combined with TCM basic symptoms and diagnosis. This should help people directly use these needle techniques when they face these symptoms. Finally, the guidebook will introduce the abdominal “Ba Gua” diagnosis and treatment technique in this guidebook.