Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine
Two-thirds of all German citizens feel unhealthy. They complain about problems with uncertain origins: irritability, sleep disorders, exhaustion, dizziness, weather sensitivity, headaches, backaches, allergies and general feelings of being unwell, for example.
Measurable results can be ascertained only for a small proportion of these patients, however.
What happens to those patients who, although complaining credibly, are not really sick? Who merely show sensibility disorders and often leave the doctor’s surgery diagnosed as suffering from vegetative dystonia syndrome?
Things are even worse for those patients who have yet to be treated – frequently, their problems are still far too indistinct, too commonplace even. Let us consider, for example, the pre-menstrual syndrome of women who classify their menstruation-related sensibility disorders as quite normal, or frequently recurring headaches, backache, depressive tendencies and exhaustion.
Have we not reached the stage where we frequently classify these complaints as completely normal?
The frequent experience of patients is that the medical advice offered in such situations fails to go beyond the prescription of sleeping pills, sedatives, anti-rheumatic drugs and painkillers.
As a result, many patients become chronically ill.
One-third of all chronic migraine patients in Germany require dialysis as a result of their taking kidney-damaging pain-killing drugs over several decades.
The proportion of chronically ill people in our country is around 10%.
Each year we spend about EUR 60 billion on health, and must come to the sobering conclusion that people are getting sicker all the time.
Is that not reason enough to take a good look at other cultures?
In Western medicine, measurability is the key word. The objects of interest are not feelings and sensibilities, but rather results and findings. Hard facts are required. Far Eastern systems of medicine, on the other hand, are geared towards the current condition of a person.
Functions that are not working properly are evaluated and assessed.
These functions can be evaluated only in qualitative terms. If qualities are to be designated, a specific convention of norms is therefore required – namely the yin and the yang and the five phases of change.
Chinese thought is based on an energetic idea of the human being.
Western medicine tries to ascertain a cause of the illness. Chinese medicine, however, discerns sickness patterns and understands them, their manner of functioning and their mutual influences within their web of relationships.
This is a completely different way of looking at the individual and illness.
In the course of time, with these ideas as their foundation, Chinese thinking and the Chinese medical tradition developed five principles of yin and yang.
- All things have two aspects: the yin aspect and a yang aspect.
- Every yin aspect and every yang aspect can, in turn, be subdivided into yin and yang.
- Yin and yang create each other.
- Yin and yang control each other.
- Yin and yang transform themselves into each other.
This philosophy is applied consistently to our being, our body, the things we do and everything in our lives.
Health in the Chinese philosophical system simply means the harmonious interplay of these basic qualities yin and yang.
Sickness, on the other hand, is the result of a disrupted interplay of these two forces.
Disruptions like this are referred to as disharmony patterns. Every treatment measure is geared towards maintaining and restoring the balance between yin and yang.
As well as the norm convention of yin and yang, five phases of change were established. Here the emphasis is placed on labelling the passage of time, rhythmic structures and time periods that replace each other and reunite to form a whole.
No other concept expresses so clearly how the human being is seen in his relationship with nature.
The human being is seen not as the conqueror of nature, but rather as a part of it.
The time sequence of the phases of change is derived from cosmic processes that are familiar to us all and assigned to the rising and setting of the sun.
A very good account of this appears in the book “Die Medizin der Chinesen” (“The Medicine of the Chinese”), by Karl-Hermann Hempen.
Every phase of change is now assigned to an element, a season, a time of day and an organ-related circulation system; these then influence each other.
If traditional Chinese medicine is looked into more closely, it becomes clear that we too, in our use of the language, often find idiomatic expressions that correspond closely to the Chinese meanings. The change phase “liver” (wood element), for example, is assigned to the psychological state of anger, rage and fury.
In their everyday use of the language, the Germans often say that “a lice has probably crawled out of his liver” (in the sense of “something’s biting him”) or “my bile is overflowing” (i.e. “I’m seething / livid”); they also know a lot about the relationship with headaches, which are frequently triggered by great anger (migraine attacks).
Each year, on the occasion of the health fair in Norderstedt, Dr. Stahl gives a lecture on traditional Chinese medicine and the basic understanding of the five phases of change, and on the connection of the latter with the main tracts and, ultimately, the acupuncture points.
At this juncture we will restrict ourselves to the following comments:
Each phase of change is assigned to a pair of tracts with acupuncture points through which, ultimately, the sensibility disorders of patients are treated in accordance with a complicated traditional Chinese system of thought.
At this point we would again like to refer to the annual lectures on traditional Chinese medicine given by Dr. Stahl at the health fair in Norderstedt.
If our Internet readers would like to find out more about traditional Chinese medicine, we will be delighted to organise additional lectures at any time.
Traditional Chinese medicine has the capacity to cure a wealth of syndromes that go well beyond the model project catalogue of the health insurance funds. (Link: lecture)
Chronic and acute disorders of the musculoskeletal system, in particular, can be treated quickly and with great success.
Other major fields of application for traditional Chinese medicine are chronic allergies, asthma, paranasal sinusitis, psychological sensibility disorders, constipation, other pain syndromes, the pre-menstrual syndrome, etc.
The prerequisite, however, is that the acupuncturist must have completed several years of comprehensive training in traditional Chinese medicine.