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Archive for May, 2009

This spring we have been highlighting the organs and the elements represented by the season:  the liver and gall bladder and the wood element.  These organs govern the eyes, tendons and sinews.  They’re also involved with emotional aspects like frustration, anger, decision-making, bravery and steadfastness: all very important stuff when creating a good life for yourself.

An over-booked, fast-paced lifestyle depletes the yin aspect of the body:  that which helps us sleep and feel grounded, lubricated and anxiety-free.  Technological products, like computers pull the liver yin from our bodies via the liver’s portal of the eyes.  There is even a slang term that describes the sensation of the liver yin being zapped after a too-long computer session:  gweeped.  Tendon related wrist, elbow and shoulder problems are further evidence of this phenomenon. These are all parts of our bodies that rely on liver yin for nourishment.

Some say yin deficiency in a body is akin to running a car without oil in the engine.  Indeed, I’ve thought of the earth warming and drying as her oil – heavy, supportive, cooling and grounding yin – is pumped out of her reserves.

Here’s the situation, next time we’ll discuss solutions.  Caring for our liver yin is a personally and ecologically helpful act.

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Large Intestine 4 (LI 4, He Gu), aka, “that point that always hurts”.

There are many important points along the Large Intestine channel, but the one I want to highlight here is LI 4.  This point is located on the dorsum of one’s hand, in the web space between the thumb and index finger.  If you are palpating it now you may notice its tenderness.  This is a very powerful point.  Traditionally it is used for a long list of indications, especially for the head, face, digestion, and overall body pain.

Scientifically LI 4 has been shown to have a relatively high electrical conductance field when compared with other acupuncture points.  A 1976 study published in Psychoenergetic Systems found in general that acupuncture points and meridians maintain electrophysiological conductance patterns when compared to areas of the body where there is an absence of an acupuncture point, and therefore a meridian[1].  This very potential of electrical conductivity may be part of the explanation Western science desires in order to understand the mystery behind acupuncture’s mechanism of action.  More importantly, this may also explain to patients, and practitioners, why LI 4 is indeed often so darn tender.


[1] Becker RO, Reichmanis M, Marino AA, and Spadaro JA.  (1976).  Electrophysiological Correlates of Acupuncture Points and Meridians.  Psychoenergetic Systems.  1: 105-112.

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