An Acupuncturist’s View of the Human Body

JoeSiuda

Joe Siuda

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body
As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.
As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.
As is the atom, so is the universe.
– The Upanishads.

It’s been said that what you focus your attention on expands, deepens, and amplifies. That has certainly been true of my experience of the body when I was introduced to a different viewpoint of what it was through my years as a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Let’s look at the skeleton. The bones of our body give us structural support and allow us to move. As a child and young adult I was dimly aware of this if I thought about it at all. The long bones of the body were like pieces of rebar to me, no more alive than a rock. In physical anthropology we studied bones more in depth. Age, sex, ancestry and other characteristics of a person are all “written” in the bones and can be decoded by the anthropologist. Bones were alive, constantly reshaping themselves to external forces. A runner’s shin bone may look elliptical in cross-section, whereas the shin bone of a walker may be more cylindrical. Bones are piezo- electric. An electrical current passes through the bone when stress is placed on it, signaling the body to fortify areas of stress. If bone is so responsive and malleable, how much more so is soft tissue? As an intern I was amazed at how much “empty space” I encountered while needling patients where needles could pass right through.

Acupuncturists deal with the body’s electrical system on a daily basis. Nerves signal electrically. While the experience of pain and suffering is subjective and difficult to gauge, the pain signal can be measured in millivolts. Acupuncture meridians have an electrical component and a commonly used handheld locator/stimulator measures the electrical resistance of the skin. Acupuncture points are thought to have lower electrical resistance with “active” points (points in need of treatment) having less resistance still. Acupuncture points with the lowest resistance are often treated electrically, especially on the ear. Electro-acupuncture on the body has long been used to override pain sensations and promote healing. Points are sometimes treated with light (laser and LED) and sound (tuning forks). The ability to treat humans with light and sound as well as electricity implies that we are beings of frequency.

Ancient Chinese saw the body as a microcosm of nature and the universe. This is similar to the western hermetic concept of “As Above, So Below” and arguably the biblical “On Earth as it is in Heaven”. Acupuncture meridians connect every part of the body to every other part, not just on the surface as shown on acupuncture charts but internally as well, much like waterways traverse the planet. Specific areas on the limbs are classified well, spring, stream or river points. Organ functions were understood metaphorically to be an interaction of five elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Climactic factors such as heat, or wind were known to have a direct impact on health and also had internal counterparts. For example a patient’s experience of arthritis might be seen as a pattern of wind, cold and dampness.

Not only is the body seen as the universe in miniature but different body parts are used as an image of the body in miniature. “Microsystems” are where ancient philosophy and quantum physics meet. In reflexology, the foot is often used to represent and treat the whole body. Acupuncturists are often taught an ear micro-system where the ear is imaged as an upside down human form in fetal position with the center of the lobe area corresponding to the eye. Theoretically any body part may be used as a micro-system but some systems are more intuitive than others and/or more clinically effective. The body seems to exhibit holographic and fractal properties and acupuncture points often demonstrate powerful non-local effects.

Do you have a health problem? Don’t get too attached, as it might not be yours. It may be changed through the application of something as immaterial as light, sound, electricity or magnetism. Moreover YOU might not be there at all. If our body exhibits holographic properties, what does that tell us about the macrocosm and our influence on it? Being the change we wish to see in the world may be more profound than being an elevated drop in a collective ocean or even the ripple effect. The whole universe is within you.

by Joe Siuda

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Neighbor from Hell

neighbor from hellFrom all appearances, this woman seems to have psychological issues. But could there be something else going on here? See Video.

Courtesy MSNBC.com

Many times when I see a piece of human drama, I wonder what the bigger picture looks like.

For instance, with regard to this video, it would be simple to say that one lady seems to have lost her mind and the other side in this drama is doing what they need to do, protect themselves and their property. Beyond that however, doesn’t it seem odd that a woman with a nice home and a good job who is seemingly normal in other ways, would act this way at all, much less for such an extended time?

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Cellulite is Beautiful

cellulite-is-the-new-blackIf you’re like most women and maybe even many men, you cringed or scoffed — or both — when you read the title of this post. After all, cellulite is supposed to be unattractive. The cosmetic companies certainly want you to believe that, so they can sell you creams to combat it. And you know the fitness industry makes a bundle off promoting the image that it’s undesirable. Even your besties might tell you it’s gross. Almost everyone thinks it is. But have you ever really thought about where that belief came from?

If this is the first time you’re considering this, your immediate reaction might be that you’ve always known that cellulite was undesirable. But how did you know it? Were you born with the certain knowledge that dimpled fat was not only ugly but somehow wrong? Or did that information come from your mother, grandmother, sister, father, brother, friends, billboards, the Internet, radio or TV? Chances are very good that it was from a combination of any or all of these, and probably other sources as well.

It might interest you to know that people didn’t always view fat this way. Hundreds of years ago, it was actually a sign of wealth to be heavy. In a world where food was scarce for many, you had to have a good amount of money to be what we now consider overweight. Because of this, being skinny was a sign that you were poor, and having ample weight was definitely a sign of your social status. So how did we get to the belief that women being thin is pretty (a rather frivolous view, since world hunger is rampant) and that cellulite is ugly? Especially considering that you don’t just get cellulite from being overweight: hormones, genetics, standing for long periods of time or even too-tight underwear that blocks blood flow to the legs can cause it. (And let’s be clear here: I’m not advocating obesity or being unhealthful. But even that’s subject to perception. I’m reminded of a documentary I saw once about a dance troupe of women who were all in the 250-to-450-pound range. They danced five nights a week and watched what they ate, yet none of them lost any significant weight over the months they spent practicing for their recital. So clearly not everyone is fat because of poor diet and lack of exercise.)

The point I’m making is that we often take on other people’s perceptions, whether they’re about cellulite or virtually anything else you can think of. When you really think about it, how many of your beliefs and perceptions came from conclusions you arrived at on your own? There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting input from others; that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just suggesting that if you absorbed your beliefs about cellulite without questioning them, what else might you have taken on without giving it much thought?

By: Stephanie Stacies

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How Bias Affects Our Choices

Gershwin-quoteWe may think that our beliefs are based on solid facts and reason, but, in the words of George Gershwin’s old song, “It ain’t necessarily so.” The way our minds work actually limits our ability to discern the truth or make rational decisions. Psychologists have been studying the way we think for many years, and have identified several biases that cause this.

Prejudices and preconceptions
We all tend to pick and choose information that supports our prejudices and preconceptions while ignoring a heap of evidence to the contrary. Right or wrong, climate change deniers provide the most obvious example today, focusing on a tiny minority of expert opinion and brushing aside the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists. Similarly, most of us don’t listen carefully to politicians’ speeches or analyze their policies in detail. Instead we pick up the fragments of information that reinforce our party preference.

This “confirmation bias” even penetrates scientific thinking. For instance, the evidence for the reality of paranormal phenomena is far stronger than the evidence for the effectiveness of many pharmaceutical drugs. And yet most scientists reject out of hand any suggestion that psychic abilities are real because they don’t believe they’re possible. In less-dramatic ways, confirmation bias distorts our thinking and decisions about many aspects of life. Despite my high level of education and career as an academic, I frequently catch myself doing this.

The attraction effect
Another source of bias in our thinking is the “attraction effect.” Imagine you’re comparing smart phone options, and are drawn to the cheaper Basic contract rather than the more expensive Advanced one because it meets your needs adequately. Now suppose that you’ve been offered a third Luxury alternative that costs more but provides no more benefits than the Advanced contract. Research shows that the presence of this third option increases the probability that you’ll choose the Advanced contract. One possible explanation is that the Luxury option makes it easier to justify your choice by claiming you’ve got a bargain — perhaps our decisions are normally biased towards ones we can easily justify rather than what is best for us?

The framing effect
Three decades ago, a third type of bias was identified. The “framing effect” leads us to make choices depending on how the information is presented. In one classic experiment, people were asked to imagine an outbreak of disease threatening a village of 600 people. Plan A would definitely save 200 lives, whereas Plan B would have a 1 in 3 chance of saving An example of how bias affects rational thinking everyone, and a 2 in 3 chance of saving no one.

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Suicide Questions

live-and-let-liveTragedy struck close to home this week with the painful announcement that a family member of a close friend had committed suicide. At times like these, being empathic feels more like a curse than a blessing. I feel acutely the agony of those he left behind — his wife, his daughters, his parents, and all those who loved him. In their struggle to understand the journey that led him to make this fateful choice, they lean on their faith, which is now amplified by the hope of forgiveness, redemption, and a merciful God.

I want so badly to tap them on the shoulder and politely interrupt their mourning to ask them if they would like some insight into this man.
I wonder if it would provide relief or more turmoil for them to know that their beloved did not share the family’s religious views; that he only pretended to because it was easier for him than facing their condemnation. I wonder if the slightest bit of Unconditional Love — the kind that is not predicated on the fulfillment of a pre-defined role or maintaining a certain set of religious standards — might have given him hope to continue living.

Though his family ponders why he would choose to take his own life, I do not. I understand very clearly the depths of his despair. The fear of his family’s alienation kept him trapped.  He spent his whole life struggling to reconcile the glimpses of his inner knowing with the doctrine that was shoved down his throat. He was expected to swallow every bit of the dogma whether he enjoyed it or not, with no consideration for his own personal preferences.
Yes, I understand the torment of a deeply spiritual man who never felt free enough to explore outside of ‘the box’. I do, however, have an entirely different set of questions:

·    How often within the family unit, does one member suffer silently, fearing the judgment and persecution of those  who claim to love her/him the most?
·    When did our culture start withdrawing love and acceptance as a means of punishing the dissenters?
·    Why is the fear of disapproval so much stronger than the courage it takes to trust our own feelings?
·    Why should anyone feel the need to hide their true self? Especially from their loved ones?
·    Do parents and family members understand how damning their condescension and criticism feels? Do they care?
·    Why does it take something as drastic as a suicide for others to consider an alternate, compassionate approach?
·    Is it possible to prevent others from making a similar choice?
·    What would it take?

When I look at this situation, my heart aches for every person who is affected by his death. The loss of a father, son, brother, and friend is tremendous — and when you add the weight of confusion and guilt, the burden may be quite difficult to bear. We can all stand to learn from their experience.

If you recognize yourself as one who is trapped, I am grateful you are reading this. You need to know that you are not alone. Your thoughts and ideas have a basis outside of the limited trappings of religion and you are valued for your uniqueness. There are others who deeply empathize with you and are willing to offer you encouragement and support as you build up courage to acknowledge your truth.

And for the rest of us — we can do more to reach out to those who feel isolated within their own circle of family and friends. Let us extend unconditional love and acceptance to everyone. I invite you to co-create an environment of safety and trust, so that our friends and family members have full confidence they can explore their own questions without fear of condemnation or any kind of repercussion.

by Janet Louise Stephenson

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