Some acupuncture methods accord with the hourly, daily, monthly and seasonal cycles of the external energy, in concordance with the internal cycles of the human body to define the treatments and the propitious time, or not, for medical action. The object of this site is not to provide training in the practice of Chinese medicine but only to put precise tools of measuring and defining the cycles and their periods at the disposition of those who would like to use them. We will simply recall a few concepts and theories relevant to this subject.
The recommendations and interdictions in accordance with the periods and cycles are strictly those of the SUWEN NEI KING, the NAN KING, the QIANJIN FANG and the LING SHU Chinese medical classics.- The Heavenly Physician refers to the shaman physician of the sky, present on certain days of the calendar. Days that are favorable for taking remedies, to see a doctor, to pray, to call upon a shaman.
- Interdiction of blood: Days where it is forbidden to spill blood, to kill animals, to draw blood or to do acupuncture.
- Aversion of the month: Demonic and repellent deities travel the 12 cyclical signs in reverse, also called the 12 yin edifications. Days where puncture and moxibustion are forbidden.
- Four profusions: Also called the four doors, they are the signs placed at the 4 corners of the circular cycle, times of plenitude followed by mutation in the energy of the seasons or the month. Days where puncture and moxibustion are forbidden.
- Assassin of the month: Days where it is harmful to deal with various matters.
- Punishment of the month: Refers to the cyclical signs, the earthly Branches, whose energy is opposite, opposed to that of the monthly Branches. Days where we do not treat illnesses.
- Six nuisances: Branches contrary to the 'Six unions', whose energy damages the current Branch.
- The Zi Wu Liu Zhu theory:
The theory of Yin Yang and the heavenly and earthly energetic cycles is one of the essential foundations of the Chinese medical theory. According to this, the exterior cycles have a direct effect on the cycles of production and circulation of the internal energies, the internal energies of which the Qi and the blood circulating in the meridians form the essential components. The Qi energy and the Xue blood are both 'agents' of the external energies and also ‘witnesses' of their influence. When the internal and external cycles are in accord, it’s a sign of health. When there is a discord, or else pathological symptoms are already appearing, or even the conditions of their emergence are present.
The energy of the 12 main meridians/channels is influenced by the daily cycle of the heavenly and earthly yin yang. The energetic intensity varies throughout the hours in the circuit which the meridians form, like a wave travelling along a river. The relationships between the external influences and the internal circulation are established by the correspondences between the 12 hourly Branches of the daily cycle of the 6 earthly energies and the 12 meridians/channels.
If one of the 6 energies of the cycle is at its maximum intensity and activity during a given period, it is thus only the energy positioned opposite in the cyclical sequence that is at its lowest intensity, in the trough of the wave. From this observation, two fundamental rules will be defined: the Midday-Midnight rule, and that of the ‘tides’ of the seasonal fluxes in the meridians/channels.
- The Jia Yi method.
The Midday - Midnight (Zi Wu) rule states that we can intervene effectively in any one day to disperse overly abundant energy during its manifest phase of maximum flux (Zhu) and to invigorate an energy deficiency during its manifest phase of maximum reflux (Liu). This rule therefore does not take into account the reality of concordances between the energies and the hours of the maxima and minima levels, but simply of the manifestations of recovery and worsening of symptoms according to the energetic phases of the meridians. When we take into account the “tidal" hours, this is the Jia Yi method.
The most advanced treatments take into account the energies in place according to the Stems of the days and the Branches of the hours in order to intervene at the most favorable time. In one of the simplest methods, invigoration and dispersion take place by pricking the corresponding ancient Shu points to invigorate the Mother element of the element in depletion at the time of its reflux, that’s to say, at the time which follows its maximum amplitude, and on the meridian itself, or to disperse by the point corresponding to the Son element, this time at the very time of the maximum amplitude. - A number of associated or distinct techniques are derived from the Zi Wu Liu Zhu theory. The most widespread is called the Jia Yi, which thus only uses the hourly Branches; the real Zi Wu Liu Zhu method, which in addition uses the daily Stems; the Same Clan method which adds the hourly Stems and Branches. All these methods are based on the time and the period, with the aim of making optimum use of the exterior influxes and their influences on the internal energies.
- The seasonal points method:
In the SU WEN NEI KING it is stated that not only the internal energy is in accord with the external cycles according to the hours and the days, but also according to the seasons. When there is a discord and we want to restore harmony, we seek primarily to re-establish these concordances. To do this we can apply the Mother Son rule to the seasonal points theory, which explains that the activity of the meridians and the points vary with the seasons. The SU WEN specifies that if the meridians are in resonance with the seasons, they are also definable as “Masters of treatments” according to the associations between the seasons and the 5 Movements.
It is first necessary to properly interpret the manifestations of the patient’s energy and define what is correct and what is incorrect. For example, the plenitude of the Chao yin meridian of the hand, or a Fire excess, may be normal in summer but is certainly abnormal in winter. It is also necessary to act using the energies in place in the cycles and not by opposing them, by thwarting them, or by drawing on energies that are depleted at these times. To determine whether an energy is correct in the season, it is not only necessary to know the cycle of the seasonal Host Energies but also that of the seasonal Guest Energies, since they both modify the normal transformations of the seasonal energies. Also, it is on the basis of the Guest energies that the treatment must be defined, by accompanying the movement which presides and not by opposing it, by dominating it, or by drawing on the opposite energies which moreover are depleted during this period.
The tables show the ancient Shu points of the 12 meridians and their functions of invigoration or dispersion according to the seasons. But be careful, this does not necessarily mean that each of the 5 Movements can be strengthened or drained during any given season. Nor that we can prick on any meridian throughout the year (see above). To invigorate, we prick the Mother point corresponding to the generating movement on the meridian. To disperse, we prick the Son point corresponding to the movement generated. To invigorate and disperse not only addresses the movements which appear to be symptomatically in excess or in deficiency in relation to the season. It is still necessary to assess the real cause of the apparent disorders. Excess or deficiency must be established in relation to the state of the other movements, organs, entrails and meridians. An excess of Earth or dampness, for example, may have different origins. Simply by studying the law of the relationships between the 5 Elements/Movements several possibilities could be considered: a blockage of Earth energy, a depletion of Wood, a revolt of Earth against Wood, an oppression of Water by Earth.
In all, according to the SU WEN, there are 25 types of correct relationships and as many incorrect, which thus define as many categories of illnesses.
In addition, however the disorders in the 5 Movements can be seen in the yin organs and those of the 6 Energies can be seen in the yang entrails. And as the illnesses on the right are treated on the left and vice-versa, we use heavenly energy to act on the yin organs and earthly energy to act on the yang entrails. The seasons, the Stems of the solar months and days are heavenly energy, the Branches of the solar months, days and hours are earthly energy. The Ling Shu also points out that the illnesses of the organs and the entrails must be treated by the "source" points (yuan) and the energy of the meridians by the ancient Shu points.