In Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, the mind, body and spirit are interconnected. When one is over active or deficient, the other two will suffer. Acupuncturists use a channel or meridian system that connects the internal organs and physical body with the mind and spirit. When the meridian systems are healthy the mind, body and spirit will thrive.
Spirit in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is interpreted in different ways. In ancient literature spirit refers to the life force in a person, an internal soul, and the state of the internal organs/meridian systems. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine reveal five main meridian systems involved with the spirit; the Heart, Lungs, Spleen, Liver and Kidneys.
Each meridian has a spiritual component and identifying characteristics:
Heart – controls the mind, is responsible for cognition, long-term memory, and controls emotions
Lungs – the corporeal soul, is responsible for physical sensations, physiological processes of the body – sharp and clear movements, related to the immune system
Spleen – controls intellect, responsible for memory and focus
Liver – the ethereal soul, responsible for planning and inspiration
Kidneys – controls will-power, short-term memory, drive, determination and consistency
If an organ/meridian system is out of balance people will exhibit specific symptoms:
Heart – trouble falling asleep, excessive dreams of fire, mountains or laughing
Lungs – unexplained physical exhaustion, shallow breathing
Spleen – pensiveness, overthinking, obsessive thinking, fantasizing or brooding
Liver – feeling of floating just before falling asleep, dream disturbed sleep, depression
Kidneys – excessive dreams of water, the spine and teeth, lack of tenacity
This does not necessarily mean the physcial organ is not functioning properly. The meridian systems are named based on the main organ they travel through. People can have a combination of disharmonies. If one meridian is out of balance for long periods of time it can throw off other systems as well. When this happens, I will focus on the meridian system that is most out of balance. For example; any trouble sleeping is generally a combination of the Heart, Liver and Kidneys. Some people may experience occasional vivid dreams and feelings of floating but will most always have trouble falling asleep. This tells me the Heart is the main meridian involved, the Liver and Lungs are secondary. Once the primary system is balanced the other two will need light support then harmony will be restored.
The most common ailments I treat related to the spirit are insomnia, anxiety, trouble concentrating, and unexplained physical fatigue. Recently I had a person come in to see me for anxiety and unexplained muscular fatigue. This person suffered from anxiety for about one year after a digestive illness. They reported the anxiety fluctuated in intensity but has not reduced in frequency. The muscle fatigue had been going on for one week and felt like they had been exercising frequently but were not. After additional questioning, I found that this person also had a tendency toward overthinking, caught colds frequently, and had trouble concentrating and focusing. The Spleens role in acupuncture is to aid with digestion, memory and focus. The Lungs are responsible for physical sensation and supporting the immune system. This person presented with a Spleen and Lung disharmony pattern causing anxiety and muscle fatigue. I treated them with acupuncture and moxibustion one per week for six weeks then one per month for two months. After the first two acupuncture treatments the person had significant reduced muscle fatigue and anxiety. At the one month follow up visit their symptoms completely resolved. Once the chief complaint has resolved I always recommend regular treatments for maintenance, especially when someone has a history of a weakened immune system.
An acupuncture session can consist of acupuncture, moxibustion, electro-acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, tui na, and an herbal recommendation. Every person is unique, I tailor each treatment to fit their specific needs. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help restore health and prevent future ailments.
At Chiropractic Health and Acupuncture, we always offer complimentary consultations. Call us today and see the difference acupuncture can make in your life.
Alyssa Kuge Frain, MSAOM, L.Ac.