The LIng Shu is the oldest surviving medical text describing ancient acupuncture techniques. Ling Shu is often translated as “Spiritual Pivot” or “Spiritual Compass”. Why would the ancient Chinese name the book describing fundamental acupuncture concepts as a way towards spiritual guidance?
Acupuncture is the best known tool of Chinese medicine; it’s use dates back over 2,000 years. Acupuncture regulates qi (vital energy) to stimulate the body’s own healing process.
Acupuncture treatments consist of placing small, sterile, disposable needles in specific areas of the body called acupuncture points. Unlike hypodermic needles, which are used for shots and vaccinations, acupuncture needles are not hollow. They are very small and flexible, about the width of a hair. Most patients feel nothing, or a slight sensation like a mosquito bite with needle insertion. During acupuncture treatments patients may feel sensations of qi movement in the meridians such as warmth, tingling or heaviness. Acupuncture can be very relaxing; in fact many patients fall asleep during treatment.
What conditions does Acupuncture treat?
Infants, children, teens, adults, and seniors in China have used acupuncture for thousands of years. Acupuncture is applicable in both external medical conditions (muscular, skeletal and skin conditions), and in internal medical conditions (including those affecting organs, as well as the reproductive, digestive, circulatory, nervous and immune systems).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the international authority on health-related issues, the following conditions, symptoms and diseases can be treated effectively by acupuncture:
Low back, knee, neck and facial pain
Facial pain, dental pain and tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
Peri-arthritis of the shoulder
Induction of labor
Correction of malposition of the fetus (breech presentation)
Nausea and vomiting
Essential hypertension and primary hypertension
Allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
Adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Acute bacillary dysentery
Acute and chronic stomach pain
Acupuncture points are located on meridians, which are pathways that carry qi. The meridian system is analogous to the circulatory system where blood vessels transport blood, and the nervous system where nerves carry nerve impulses. Every organ has a meridian that runs from that organ to the surface of the body. Sometimes qi becomes blocked in a meridian, which can disrupt organ function and/or cause pain along the meridian. There are many reasons why qi becomes blocked, like poor dietary habits, stress, lack of exercise, physical and emotional trauma, overexertion, infections, seasonal changes or a weak constitution. By stimulating points on specific meridians, acupuncturists can unblock qi, thereby reducing pain and correcting organ function.
How many treatments are necessary?
On the first visit I conduct an extensive intake and examination to assess my patients condition. Then, an individualized Chinese medical treatment plan is formulated which includes recommended frequency of treatments, and possibly herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, and dietary and lifestyle suggestions. The number of treatments depends on the severity and duration of the complaint and the patient’s constitution.
How can acupuncture be a spiritual compass?
In short, acupuncture is a modality meant to lead the patient back to their true selves. As a compass or pivot point, it is designed to help you discover your own body’s inner workings, vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses. In its highest form, acupuncture treatment yields a map that patients can navigate with the help of their practitioner. This path can lead to a wider spiritual awakening.