What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is more than using needles to treat pain, as we often think in the West. It is a fully balanced health protocol with the intention to balance all yin and yang energy flows in the body. Since its appearance in China more than 2500 years ago, acupuncture has been used traditionally to prevent and treat disease, but also to improve general health. Very fine needles are placed at specific points where the energy- or chi flow can be influenced. Sometimes, an acupuncturist will also use additional heat (see moxibustion) or electrical stimulation (see electro acupuncture).
How does acupuncture work?
Clinical studies have proven that they fully document the effects of acupuncture but they have been unable to fully explain them. Modern biochemical research has demonstrated that acupucuture points are electrically and anatomically different from the other body zones. They are organized according to a system of meridians, or lines on the body. By stimulating these specific points through acupuncture , one activates the nervous system to produce biochemical substances, such as endorphins and immune cells in specific parts of the body. Moreover, studies have shown that acupuncture influences the brain’s biochemistry by producing neurotransmitters and neurohormones. The parts of our central nervous system responsible for stimulaton of the senses and involuntary body functions react on this by adapting for example the blood pressure, blood circulation and body temperature.
Which symptoms acupuncture can treat?
Acupuncture aims to not only treat a single symptom, but the person as a whole. Its an holistic approach that wishes to restore balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the individual. That’s why acupuncture is most useful as a preventive medicine.
However, acupuncture could just as well be used to cure physiological conditions, as it affects our hormonal system, immune system and central nervous system. That’s why acupuncture can treat a very broad range of health complaints, such as digestion problems, gynecological complaints, conditions of the movement system, allergies and migraines, to name a few. Acupuncture can also improve dealing with stress and psychological complaints such as anxiety attacks or depression.
Chronic pain, such as neck pain, “frozen shoulder”, stomach pain or cramps and knee joint pain are often treated here in the West with anti-inflammatory drugs and cold packs, but the effect is not noticeable and often only temporary. Anti-inflammatory drugs have negative side effects for the stomach and cold packs can cause dermatitis. This is a weakness of Western medicine. Acupuncture is therefore to be preferred for these kind of conditions.
This is effective for symptoms, such as high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, burn-out, diarrhoea, stomach complaints and the consequences of brain infarcts.
Acupuncture helps to activate the immune system and to produce anti-stress hormones, such as oxytocin. It is also often used for support for palliative care for cancer patients to ease the pain and to treat nausea.
See here a video fragment:
Wu Wei – The Paradox
The term Wu Wei (pronounced as “ooh-way”) literally means “not trying” or “doing nothing”, but it is nothing to do with a boring inactivity. It refers to the dynamic, effortless and non-self-conscious mental state of someone who is optimally active and effective. People who are “in Wu Wei”, often describe it as “virtue”, “power” or “charismatic power”. It is a radiation that others can detect and it functions as an external signal that one is in Wu Wei.
How can we become Wu Wei?
Wue Wei a real paradox. It is difficult to do your best not to do your best. To use your mind intentionally to silence itself, is a paradox in itself. That means that there is no easy answer to your question. All early Chinese thinkers thought that they knew a way to become Wu Wei, but none of them had a solution that always works, in any situation. Wu Wei deals with being fully present, to be absorbed fully in what you are doing, or with whom you are doing it. With this idea we realize faster when we force something, or when we are pushing something through too far.
Why is Wu Wei so important in today’s word?
Our society is very much focused on doing your best and on effort. We are taught that in order to achieve your goals, you have to do your best more. If you encounter a problem, you should work harder. I see this attitude in my studies. When they are struggling with a writing assignment, their solution is to work the whole night and sit behind a computer screen for hours. This would be fine if it worked. Nevertheless, often when you are doing your best for a long time to achieve something, you have to let it go.
It is important that your unconscious can run its course. One of the tasks of your unconscious is to connect things and to help you see the patterns. We often ignore the subconscious, and when we do, we make bad decisions. Often, you only need to stop, have a good night’s rest, and thereby give more space to your unconscious. If you create space for your unconscious to talk to you, then it will share its findings with you. I have often experienced this.
Examples of the Wu Wei concept:
If you disturb nothing, everything stays fine.
“Wei Wu Wei” or acting without acting, without forcing it. Smooth, effortless going with the flow. Wu Wei, without action, without effort. Without resistance.
Wu Wei, non ado (English), is a core value of Taoism.
However, Taoism is not a philosophy of laziness.
It is about living from an open awareness.
Being in flow. To take part in what is, in the nature.
Wu Wei, you can not try, because that is already a goal.
Trying to relax is already an effort.
Seeds ripen before they grow.
Grass grows, a bird flies.
Everything happens in a natural order.
Everything will automatically get its natural space.
Follow your free will, the path of the Tao.
Live and work without fight, without resistance.
Be at ease and still be conscientious.
Act freely, just because, being connected with the Tao.
Wu Wei, spontaneously being present, without striving towards it.
With aimed desire, without ambition as this also excludes possibilities.
Wabi Sabi – Nothing is Perfect
“Nothing is eternal
Nothing is complete
Nothing is perfect”
– The Art of Impermanence –
Our life has to have meaning and if we are not perfect, we must be doing something wrong, don’t you think isn’t it?
It is typically Western to give meaning to everything. To think about issues, to ask questions, to want to explain, to become better, to improve ourselves, to have a feeling of importance, that we are doing something with our life. We want to mean something, we want to develop our talents and to get the best out of it….
The term Wabi Sabi is of Japanese origin and it fills in meaning completely differently. Wabi stands for space; Sabi stands for time.
Wabi Sabi is not a fixed characteristic, it is an underlying attitude towards life. It stands for soberness and simplicity, of the essence of things, but also for a way of life.
That you can accept yourself with all your peculiarities and character flowsflaws. It also makes yourself you kindmild towards others.
Yin Yang – The Opposite Forces
Yin and Yang are general terms that are used in the East to describe opposite poles of one and the same natural phenomenon. Although they exist in clear opposition of each other, they also depend on each other, as the one embraces the other. In fact, together they mean both unity and opposition, which is also a given in Yin/Yang.
Yin and Yang appear in nature as each other’s opposite poles like heaven and earth, water and fire, light and darkness etc. and also as two different aspects of one and the same phenomenon, such as qi and blood, yang meridians in the body.
The original meaning of Yin and Yang is linked to the light; the sunny side and the shadow side of for example, a mountain. In that case, the sunny side is Yang and the shadow side is Yin, Later on, the meaning was extended to all kinds of contrasts, such as cold versus warm weather, upward versus downward directions, left versus right, inside versus outside….
In acupuncture, all these terms are practically applied in a health discipline.
Shen Nung, who was a father of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) proposed that through every living body, a fundamental energy flows, he calls Qi (pronounced as “Chi””). This Qi encompasses all essential activities of life, whether these are spiritual, emotional, mental or physical in nature.
According to the TCM, someone’s health depends on the flows of Qi in his body, according to universal natural principles of Yin and Yang. When a Qi flow has been disturbed, is insufficiently strong or is no longer in balance, then Yin and Yang are out of balance, which causes disease symptoms. Qi flows through specific meridians that are paired two by two on both sides of the body. They represent the energy of our different vital organs.
In acupuncture, the points that are punctured with very fine needles are specific points where the meridians come more to the surface, and are thus more accessible for external stimulation. Also manual acupressure, moxibustion and cupping are applied to these points to restore harmony and communication in the different meridians, to guarantee the Qi-flow and to achieve the overall Yin-Yang balance.
In China, TCM has been used with success for thousands of years. The reputation of a Chines doctor was traditionally determined by his knowledge to prevent disease in his patients. If any of them became ill, his reputation was damaged. In the West, we can trace back the use of acupuncture to several hundreds of years, but it is mainly since the second half of the twentieth century that it started to spread through Western Europe, the United States of America and Canada.
The (modern) medical world does not agree with one voice about TCM as it has difficulty to prove scientifically how acupuncture works exactly. Just as Yin and Yang are sometimes indefinable terms as they are both infinite at the same time, opposite and encompassing everything. .