‘Can Acupuncture treat…?

The short answer, before you finish your question, is “yes.”

This can be said with confidence because Oriental medical physicians do not, as a general rule, chase germs. They seek to understand the terrain of the individual and treat according to the presentation of energetic patterns, which are found through varying diagnostic methods (pulse, tongue, palpation, interview, color sensing, smells, listening), while considering the cultural, medical and experiential background of the patient.

It doesn’t matter what you have, how you got it, how confusing it may seem, how many things you think you have wrong with you and what anyone else says about it, you can be treated with Acupuncture.

One of the central features of Oriental Medicine is the analysis of diseases and the treatment in terms of the organ networks (often translated as viscera, solid organs, or internal organs). The term “organ networks” is utilized here to indicate that OM physicians are not interested in the organs as physical objects, but as extended networks functioning throughout the body. In modern medicine, it is common to look at the internal organs as individual physical units. By contrast, the OM system was developed by considering the person as a whole and by relying on what is visible or palpable at the surface.

In the deep classics of Oriental Medical theory, detailed knowledge of the dynamics and interrelationship of the organ networks is considered the foundation for successful practice. This system of knowledge describes the body as a dynamic system of intertwined functional circuits that reflect and resonate with the macrocosm of the universe. This should be understood when reading the below symptomatology. When seeing the “heart” or the “lung” are mentioned, it is referring to a vast network of responsibilities and function, not to just the organ itself. The stark terms are used to group symptoms, to understand core issues, not to imply there is something drastically wrong with the organ itself – but to imply there is a discrepancy that needs correction within the entire network it regulates.

“Instead of focusing specifically on treating disease, Oriental Medicine speaks to the issue of preventing disease, or, at the least, preventing a disease from becoming worse so that one has a chance to recover health.”

Below you can find a basic summary of organ network imbalances/discrepancies that when subjectively felt by an individual, can be addressed by Acupuncture and Herbal medicine. It should be understood that a person is never just “one” of these imbalances. The networks within us are fluid, they affect each other quite naturally. This summary should not be used to define you, but should only serve as a starting point, a guidepost to understand you are experiencing imbalance. At least this can help you create a dialogue between yourself and your body – at best, having this dialogue will prevent serious illness

ADRENAL IMBALANCES (ENDOCRINE SYSTEM)

Endocrine system related imbalances usually look like this:

Cortisol/Glucocorticoid imbalances (Insomnia, blood sugar imbalance, anxiety, stress, menopause/hysterectomy, mineral/electrolyte imbalance, inflammation, immune imbalance, allergies, ear problems);

Osteo (bone issues: bone spurs, fractures, osteoarthritis/porosis);

Ovarian issues (cysts. infertility, menopause transitioning, removed ovary issues, cystitis.);

Vestibular Disorders (vertigo due to transitioning from altitudes, land-to-sea, times zones, age-related transitions); Respiratory issues (upper respiratory asthma when inhaling, salivary gland issues);

Sexual dysfunction (low libido, ED, Impotence);

Pituitary Imbalance (infertility, menstrual irregularities, thyroid issues, issues after prolonged birth control use, post-pregnancy symptoms, urinary disturbance, metabolic dysfunction);

Thyroid Imbalance (Shock/Trauma/Toxicity exposure, autoimmune disorder, malnutrition, Hyper/Hypo symptomatology),

Sugar Imbalances (Sugar/Carb/Food/Alcohol abuse/addiction, severe tight/achy muscles, numbness, frozen shoulders, hangry symptoms, sugar cravings, easily bruising);

Gynecology (Uteran fibroids/cysts, breast disorders, menstrual disorders, infertitlity, PCOS, menopause, Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases, Interstitial Cystitis);

Men’s Health (Androgen Imbalance: reduced labido, ED, difficulty gaining muscle mass, thin skin, reduction in body hair, increased body fat, bladder and prostate issues)

NERVOUS SYSTEM

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) disorders can look like this: Multiple system symptomatology all at once (circulatory, respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, sensory, etc)

Sympathetic Dominance: A non-medicated response to – Blood pressure issues, anxiousness, jumpiness, easily agitated, SOB, palpitations, headaches, neck/back pain (esp. upper trapezius), a decrease in urination, insomnia, lack of appetite, dizziness, nausea, eye pain, cold hands and feet

Parasympathetic Dominance: Adrenal deficiencies, fatigue, brain fog, muscular tightness, lack of sweat, cold lower back, cold abdomen and extremities, asthma or wheezing, frequent urination, overexcitement of digestive system, chronic loose stools, excessive gas, increased gastric acid.

STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

“The success to all treatment, and therefore recovery, is an aligned structural system.”

Typically when a patient presents with pain they cannot recover from they will attempt an intervention (Chiropractic, Massage, Yoga, Exercise, PT, rest, etc.). When pain is alleviated but returns after a day or so, we ask the question “Where is the block to recovery”? More often than not, the block to good Qi flow is found in the skeletal system or in old scars that have begun to affect the body.

Structural system issues may look like this: Developmental disorders in children and adults, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety, cardiovascular issues, reduced cognitive function, pain that returns after treatment.

THE LIVER

” ‘The Liver’ marks the beginning of the cyclical action, the stirring of spring which all living things rely upon as a catalyst for their growth. This is the spring forth; the pep in your step; the “second wind”; the ability to recover from traumatic experience, illness, and injury; the grass growing through the concrete kind of energy. It is powerful, can be volatile and when fostered, can be used for maintenance and recovery throughout one’s lifetime.”

“The Liver” is an absolute powerhouse that can work for you or against you. The best way to foster its energy is to control your intense emotions (anger, frustration, resentment). In fact, if you cannot control your anger, the Liver network is surely having discrepancies, and with repetition, can have long-term effects on one’s body.

Typical symptomatology related to imbalances within this network include the following, but are not limited to:

Blurred vision, cramping, inhibited joint movement, dry eyes, night blindness, trembling hands and feet, neck/shoulder tension, numb extremities, dry, brittle, malformed, or grey nails, dry and split hair, scanty menstruation, or amenorrhea may occur; tumor growth, chest pains, painful menses, belching, regurgitation of stomach acid, vomiting, and diarrhea; mental activities such as  indecisiveness, depression, being adrift, inability to plan ahead effectively, fearful, panicky disposition and a general inability to make decisions; Eye and facial disorders such as red eyes, white film over eyes, lockjaw, jaw tension, headaches, migraines, dizziness

Western conditions associated with manifested “Liver” imbalances: PTSD, PMS, Edema, Ascites, tumors and growths, irregular menstruation, chest pain, palpitations (at rest), panic attacks, depression, Headache (and migraines), dizziness, Stroke, Mental Health Disorders, Hypertension, Seizures, Lock Jaw, Bell’s Palsey, and uncontrollable eye movements.

 

THE HEART

” ‘The heart’ ” is the ruler of the human body, the seat of consciousness and intelligence. If we decide to nourish this crucial element in our daily practice, then our lives will be long, healthy, and secure. If the ruler’s vision becomes distracted and unclear, however, the path will become congested, and severe harm to the material body will result. If “the heart” remains centered and focused on the essential matters, the jing (individual’s essence) will flourish and the qi (source consciousness) will be steady, noxious intruders will always be fought off, and every part of the body landscape will be light and at peace.” from the Neijing

Although many blood disorders are treated via the liver in Oriental Medicine, it should be said that the heart is officially considered to be the “master of the vessels and their content”. Blood disorders, therefore, are often associated with the heart. Disorders such as eruptions, clotting and bleeding out (as seen in bruising) are such examples.

Furthermore, in OM, the Heart is said to contain the “Shen” (an individual’s consciousness and emotions). When the Heart is disrupted it cannot “contain the Shen” (regulate and control consciousness/emotions) and the following such symptoms will be felt by the individual: mental agitation, insomnia, vivid dreaming, irritability, hysteria, anxieties, panic, forgetfulness, madness, tendency to easily get startled.

Beyond Shen Disturbance symptoms, other symptoms of Heart organ network discrepancies include, but are not limited to: restlessness; mouth ulcers; palpitations; insomnia, heat sensation in the chest, flushed face, mental and physical fatigue, sensitivity to wind and drafts, spontaneous sweating, stuffy sensation or dull pain in the chest, shallow breathing, low voice and disinclination to talk, madness (in more serious cases)

Western conditions associated with manifested “Heart” imbalances: Cardiovascular disease, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Mental Health, Vascular issues, Menopause, Shock/Trauma, PTSD

THE SPLEEN

“If we regulate our daily lives by adjusting them to the prevailing energy of the seasons, if we avoid exposure to extreme cold and extreme heat, if we eat and drink in regular intervals, if we protect our shen (individual consciousness) by avoiding states of extreme anger or extreme ecstasy, and if we strive for balance by living in moderation during all four seasons, there will be peace.”

The “Spleen” network responds profoundly to a moderate lifestyle. Thanksgiving syndrome is actually a real thing, food comas are legitimate states we thrust our “Spleen” network into by overeating, eating on the run, eating under duress, eating without variety, eating too heavy of foods. We have all felt the paralyzing effects of what nausea and bloating can bring us. We don’t want to move, we want to curl up, we are very weak. Moderation does not just stop at how or what we eat, but how and what we think, and for how long as well. The “Stomach and Spleen” process everything for us on all levels – our surroundings, our lectures, our food, our thoughts. We can get full in our thoughts, we can get full in class sitting in a dense lecture or reading a dense book, and we can get full at mealtime. It all needs to be processed, and this is the energy behind the “spleen”.

So when the responsibilities of the “Stomach/Spleen” (holding blood, holding things “up” (as in prolapse), muscle tone, mouth health, digestive health, vascular integrity) are disturbed or distracted or blocked, one can look forward to the following symptomatology:

Gastro-Intestinal/Urinary: aversion to food or drink, nausea, frequent belching, abdominal distention, loose stools or diarrhea, fatigue, emaciation, edema, distention, vomiting, hiccuping, or belching of foul gases or sour liquids, prolapse of the stomach, prolapse of the anus, or prolapse of the uterus/vagina, poor appetite, constipation, fatigue, constant sleepiness, frail extremities, bile overflow (producing “Spleen” jaundice as opposed to “Liver” jaundice), dark and burning urination or dribbling urinary block, epigastric stuffiness. Also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a voracious appetite, sugar cravings, or other pathological changes in appetite or taste sensation  (Poor appetite, hunger, but cannot get much food down, craves sweets).

In certain blood-disorders; “Spleen”-related hemorrhaging is always caused by a deficiency syndrome and usually involves slow leakage of pale blood, it should not be confused with the acute loss of profuse amounts of dark red blood; symptoms include recurrent hematomas, certain types of purpura,  prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Mental/Emotional etiologies: If a person is involved in excessive worrying, thinking in pensive circles that lead nowhere, or simply has a mental focus that is too narrow or too intense, spleen symptoms such as loss of appetite, general exhaustion, or inhibited qi flow (causing insomnia, sleepiness, or lack of vision and mental clarity) may gradually manifest.

If a person is not allowed to recover from extreme exhaustion (such as after childbirth, a marathon or other long-term laborious activity), there may be permanent weakness and fatigue, shallow breathing and a decreased desire to talk, heat sensations and spontaneous sweating, or asthmatic breathing that comes on with even slight physical exertion. With pathologically sedentary lifestyle injuring the “Spleen” network one will experience a Heavy and sore body, slow healing wounds, bed sores, emaciated arms and legs, the weak extremities of the chronically bed-ridden patient, and certain types of paralysis.

 

Western conditions associated with manifested “Stomach/Spleen” imbalances:  Metabolic disorders, some Autoimmune disorders, ulcers, gastritis, chronic fatigue, AIDS, chronic indigestion, chronic gastroenteritis, infection with Candida, food allergies, chronic hepatitis, hemorrhoids, miscarriages, prolapse, chronic bleeding diseases, hemophilia, bleeding hemorrhoids, bruising from vitamin deficiency, periodontal disease, stomach “flu,” chronic gastritis, chronic colitis, gallbladder disease, acute gastroenteritis, and Mouth Ulcers

 

THE LUNG

“If we want to restore purity in the “Lung”, we must first strive to regulate the breath.”

The importance of the “Lung” network cannot be said enough times.

It has been stated that “Qi” (source consciousness) is the key to our very survival and state of health, and in order for Qi to be utilized at its fullest potential, it must “move” freely throughout the body in 4 basic movements of ascent, descent, in and out. It is our “Lungs” which provide this mechanism of action to occur, and therefore make them, with certainty, the material building blocks essential for the maintenance of physical life.

The responsibilities of bodily “Qi” are the following:

  1. Moving and circulating structural body substances (blood circulation, distribution of fluids, growth process, the function of all organ/channel networks).
  2. Warming the various layers of the body (if skin and muscles are not warmed, there will be an aversion to cold, cold hands and feet, or coming down with a cold, etc.).
  3. Creating a protective shield effect against viruses and bacteria.
  4. Stabilizing and holding the structural parts of the body in place (otherwise bleeding, sweating, enuresis, prolapse of organs may occur).
  5. Driving metabolism (e.g., in the process of blood production, or in the functioning of certain organs, facilitating water metabolism in the bladder)

It is our “Lungs” which coordinate “Qi movement”, uninhibited, ascending, descending, going out, and coming in our entire being having a direct and profound impact on our health; nourishing every single tiny minuscule aspect of ourselves. It is how source consciousness knows us, animates us, heals us.  The “Lungs”, therefore, are the container for our “Life Force” (Qi, source consciousness).

“Breathing, is underrated.”

Some things one may find with a “Lung” network out of balance are the following symptoms, but not limited to:

chills, drafts, fever, spontaneous sweating, or inhibited sweating-a symptom complex, dry skin, spontaneous sweating, or a propensity to catch frequent colds, Coughing, asthmatic breathing, and a stuffy sensation in the chest, phlegm buildup, a puffy face, edema, or inhibited urination, dryness symptoms in the nose, throat, lungs, skin, body hair, or intestines, stuffiness, nasal discharge, inability to distinguish smells, or quivering nostrils (in asthma patients),  loss of voice, constipation, mental and physical fatigue

Grief and Sadness Harming the Lung: Grief, sadness, and melancholy are associated with the lung. If one indulges in these emotional states, harm to the lung network will result and symptoms of emaciation, lack of energy or dry skin may occur. The other way around, a low supply of lung qi can cause a gloomy state of mind. A particularly sad experience, moreover, may cause a person to adopt a pessimistic attitude toward life.

 

Western conditions associated with manifested “Lung” imbalances:  Asthma, Chronic/Frequent colds, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Dry skin, Chronic cough, general fatigue

 

THE KIDNEY

“The Classic states: ‘Whenever we treat a disease, we must approach it at the base’ “

The “Kidney” is the ocean of the human body. Since oceans are situated on a lower level than the earth’s streams and rivers, they draw every one of them to form one large body of water. Oceans may appear vast and inexhaustible, yet they still drain off some of their seemingly unlimited supply. One way of drainage is called ‘going to ruins,’ meaning the water drains down into the earth from where it will not return. The other way of drainage is called ‘dwelling with the stars,’ meaning the water steams toward the sky and later rains down to earth again, where it dissipates into rivers and streams and eventually returns to the ocean. This is the water that circulates between heaven and earth, always striving to keep an equilibrium between the extreme states of drought and flooding.

In the context of the human body only the “Kidney” can be compared to the workings of this natural cycle.

Those who are knowledgeable in the art of nourishing life (Zhan Zhuang) take care to shut off the lower exit (typically through ejaculation/orgasm) while striving to keep the upper pathway (nourishing the organs and brain) open and unobstructed. In this fashion, there will be a nourishing cycle that is free of leaks. Physical vitality (jing/essence) and mental clarity (shen/individual consciousness) will be abundant, Maintenance (ying) and Immunity (wei) will be strong, inside (water essence) will be sufficient to control fire (inflammation), and outside (qi) will be sufficient to ward off noxious influences (pathogenic invasion).

This is what the art of expelling disease and the art of longevity is all about.

The symptomatology of “Kidney” imbalance are vast, the summary is below:

dizziness; blurry vision; ringing in the ears; sore and weak lower back or knees; burning in palms and soles; tidal heat sensations; night sweats. Secondary symptoms include dry mouth and throat; flushed face; emaciated features; premature graying of hair; low sperm count in males; decreased menstrual flow and infertility in females; forgetfulness; insomnia; spermatorrhea; premature ejaculation; heel pain; yellow urination; dry stool;

pale or dark complexion; listless spirit; obvious aversion to cold; cold extremities; low sex drive; weak or cold and painful lower back and knees; early morning diarrhea; frequent urination or clear and profuse urination, impotence; premature ejaculation; infertility; clear vaginal discharge; inhibited urination and edema; dizziness;

ringing in the ears; physical and mental fatigue; shortness of breath, pale complexion; spontaneous sweating; decreased mental and physical growth rate in children; frequent urination; nocturia; spermatorrhea; premature ejaculation; asthmatic panting upon exertion;

low sperm count in males; amenorrhea and infertility in females; delayed mental and physical development in children, a decreased memory; slow and clumsy body movements; dull facial expressions; emaciated body structure; hair loss; loose teeth; late closing of fontanella in babies; muscular atrophy;

cold fingers and toes and/or burning sensations in palms and soles; night sweats or spontaneous sweating, poor memory; insomnia; vivid dreaming; listless spirit; loose teeth; dry and split hair; unsteady walk; swollen feet; asthmatic panting upon physical exertion;

clear, frequent, and dribbling urination; enuresis; bedwetting; spermatorrhea; premature ejaculation; tendency to miscarry; clear vaginal discharge, pale complexion; mental and physical fatigue; weak or sore back; loss of hearing; spontaneous sweating. 

shortness of breath or asthmatic panting (brief inhale, longer exhale), especially following physical exertion, pale complexion; puffy face; blue lips; emission of small amounts of urine when coughing; spontaneous sweating; general aversion to cold; cold extremities, mental and physical fatigue;

a flushed face and red lips; restlessness; difficulty falling asleep; dry mouth and throat; burning sensation in palms and soles; tidal heat sensations; night sweats. Secondary symptoms include obsessive sexual fantasies; excessive urge to masturbate; frequent sexual dreams; dark urination; constipation;

ashen or waxen face color; inhibited urination; obvious aversion to cold; cold extremities; palpitations; stuffy sensation in chest; shortness of breath; cough or asthmatic panting accompanied by expectoration of runny and clear phlegm; heavy and painful waist; abdominal fullness; scrotal edema. 

Western conditions associated with manifested “Kidney” imbalances:  Diabetes, Hypertension, Sexual Dysfunction, Growth/developmental disorders, Bladder disorders, Fluid metabolic disorders, blood disorders, Pitting edema, darkened skin, Palpitations, Menopausal, Insomnia, Asthma, decrease Cognitive Function