Saturday, August 28, 2010

Four Traditional Laws of Acupuncture

They are:


  1. Mother-Son Law
  2. Noon-Midnight Law (or Midday-Midnight Law)
  3. Husband-Wife Law
  4. Theory of Five Elements
The first 3 laws are a consequence of the circadian rhythm circulation, which states that for ever 2 hour period, starting at 3am with the lung, there is one organ in the system that is the most active.  Here is the circulation of the body:

Lu-Li-St-Sp-H-Si-Ub-K-P-Sj-Gb-Liv then back to Lu.

The mother-son law recognizes this direction of energy flow, and places significance on symptoms that get worse at particular times of the day.  This suggests that there is difficulty in handing off the energy from one organ system to another.  If the energy is blocked or hindered from flowing properly, an abnormal surplus or deficiency can result.  This affects not only that particular channel or organ, but also the channel or organs which precede and follow it.  Now, disharmony of the entire organism is caused, and disease manifests.

In the case of an insufficiency of activity of an organ, then it can be strengthened by stimulating it's Son point so that it receives more energy from it's mother organ.

There are two sets of mother-son points, as there is one set for 5-element theory and one set for Organ Clock theory.  In 5 element theory, the mother-son points follow the generating cycle, or the Shen cycle.

The Noon-Midnight Law, or Midday-Midnight Law (Tsu Wu)

This law is based on the Organ Clock.  In this case, each organ has a 2 hour period where it is the most active.  Thus, if you stimulate the organ's Horary point (Identical with each organ's own element point, such as, Lu, use metal point), good therapeutic results occur.

The points are as follows (to be memorized later in chart form and dance form)

Lu8, Li1, St36, Sp3, H8, Si5, Ub66, K10, P8, Sj6, Gb41, Liv1

The Horary points are used during the appropriate period of the Organ Clock.  Thus, when treating a lung disorder, using Lu8 between 3am and 5am is a good choice.  If the energy imbalance stems from deficiency, needling this point near the early part of this period using Bu method, or tonification method is appropriate.  If it is from excess, needling near the end of the time with Xu or reducing method is preferred.

Treatment according to Organ Clock also can correct an imbalance of an organ or channel diametrically opposite to it in the Organ Clock diagram (difficult to see in text form...).  For instance, using Ub66 at 3pm will have the opposite therapeutic influence on Lung, which starts 12 hours later at 3am.

Even when using points other than the Horary points, particularly when balancing energy is being carried out, puncturing according to Organ Clock may increase effectiveness.

It has been established that many organisms have built in biological clocks that dictate many things about their existence.  Migration of birds, mating season, moulting season, and so on are just a few examples of this.  It seems that in the application of acupuncture, the glands and other organs are stimulated to reinforce this rhythm and promote healing.

The Husband-Wife Law

While the name and it's implications may be a tad on the politically incorrect side, the Husband Wife law describes the relationship that the 12 pulses (radial pulses, 3 on each side at each deep and superficial levels) have to one another.  In TCM, the left side of the body is considered to have dominance over the right side of the body.  Thus, all organs in the left wrist pulse are considered to be dominant or "husband" in relation to the organs on the right side, the submissive organs or "wife" organs. 

See how this definition can get you into trouble?  Placate them by saying "Women are always in the right!"

Good luck with that...

While pulse diagnosis is a central pillar in TCM, it is also the most elusive, and takes the greatest amount of time to master.  Many authors from ancient to modern have attempted to describe how the pulses are supposed to feel, made attempts to quantify and measure each of these and as yet, there is still no true standard.  This is something that can only be taught from master to student, and only mastered after a great deal of time spent on the subject, feeling many thousands of pulses.

As it stands, pulse diagnosis completely defies any knowledge of anatomy or physiology we currently possess.  And yet, somehow, it is still relevant and useful when treating people!  Pulse diagnosis will be covered in another post.

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