An Acupuncturist’s View of the Human Body
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