By Are S. Thoresen DVM
Veterinarian acupuncturist homeopath osteopath agronomist
The system of meridians and acupuncture points has been developed by ourselves through the billions of years as a system of self-healing or auto- regulation, as an ECIWO-system (Embryo Containing Information of the Whole Organism). A Point that needs stimulation to be able to re-establish the normal balance shows tenderness, scratchiness, changed blood circulation and decreased electric resistance (Ohm) as described on page 00. These changes will lead to these points being treated more often by the individual itself, by other individuals in the group or flock and by several factors in the environment such as electric charges, colours, sounds or plants.
Of themselves, the AP Channels do not represent or are not part of the processes themselves; they are an energetic infrastructure developed to balance the processes.
In China, acupuncture is called Zhen Jiu (Zhen = needle and Jiu = Fire, or moxibustion), which means to needle and burn the points in question. The word "acupuncture" comes from the Latin "acus" (needle) and "pungere" (to puncture). Many modern interpreters of AP theory have claimed that AP is an empirical method, i.e. one based on anecdotal experience and one with little or no scientific basis for development. This theory is not correct. AP is inextricably part of Chinese culture and civilisation. We can trace the therapeutic use of needles to at least five thousand years ago, when AP was already a highly respected and organised medical method. We should remember that at the time when AP was evolving, Chinese culture and science had a knowledge base significantly ahead of that of western cultures. Also, recently we have acquired new insight into neurophysiological mechanisms that explain many of the clinical effects of this ancient Chinese method.
The Chinese were familiar with such things as the timing for the spring equinox and the fall equinox. They were also familiar with the fact that the Earth's axis is tilted on the solar level. They knew this as early as the 22nd century BC. They calculated the Earth's axis to be 22.5o. We now know that it is tilted exactly 23.27o. The accuracy of the ancient calculation is such that the greatness of the Chinese ability to observe must be admire
The Chinese culture yielded bronze vases in the 22nd century BC. They also mixed copper and aluminium, whereas western science has known of metallic aluminium for barely 100 years. Although certain amalgams containing aluminium have been known since antiquity (alumen), metallic aluminium was not produced until 1825 here in the west. To be able to do this, we need temperatures of 1300oC. This means either that the Chinese have been able to generate these temperatures, or they have had the knowledge of the processes by which to make these alloys of which we are not familiar.
A thousand years ago, a Chinese astronomer described with great precision the development of the galaxies and the spiral galaxies. He determined that the distance between them was increasing and that the universe was expanding. This claim can be interpreted poetically and is not necessarily meant to be a scientific statement.
European scientists and philosophers were burnt at the stake only a few hundred years ago because they said that the Earth was round and circled around the Sun. An example of this is Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) who was burnt on Campo dei Fioro in Rome in the year 1600.
The ancient Chinese were also familiar with the art of printing books. They also knew that the blood circulated within the body 3500 years before William Harvey (1587-1657) made the same discovery in Europe in the year of 1628.
Over several millennia, the Chinese made very precise observations of the laws that determined changes in nature, in humans and in the universe. They put their entire comprehension and ability to observe nature into the development of a very complete and auto-regulating cosmology. They committed these laws to writing in the old Classics, such as the Neijing, the Suwen and the Ijing. AP evolved and derived directly from these writings. Arising from these classical texts, the total system of TCM is amazingly comprehensive. It made extensive use of herbs, spices, massage, exercise, meditation and AP. In the west, we have adopted AP widely and view it as TCM. That is a great mistake as AP is only a small part, possibly the least important part, of TCM.
Computer tomography confirmed that "Öetzi, the iceman", found in the Alps (1994), had arthrosis of the lumbar spine. He also had tattoos on, or within a few mm of classical acupoints on BL Channel in the lumbar area and others on the pelvic limb (BL60, KI07, SP06). Those points are used in AP to treat lowback pain and hip disorders [http://www.akupunktur-arzt.de/oetzi/science.htm]. From this, we may conclude that AP was known in Europe already 5300 years ago.
For more than 6000 years ago, there was a great and catastrophically draught in the area north of the Caspian Sea. This period lasted for 2000 years and lead to wanderings of the people living there to the west and north-west. Without the use of the horse, this movement would have been impossible and on horse-back, these people changed the European history for all time. They came to Europe in three great waves, just parted by a few hundred years between each, and 5000 years ago these people had influenced the greater parts of Europe and South Scandinavia. 4000 years ago also the British islands and Iberia (Spain/Portugal) was part of their sphere.
Everywhere these people came to dominate. The old gods representing fertility and female qualities (the moon-cults, Vanene) were exchanged with a war hero on horse back (Odin, the sun-cults, Æsene / the Aesir).
The so-called Troy castles are other signs or indications that Asian tradition and thinking was known in Europe long ago. Close to my home in the Norwegian costal town of Sandefjord is a marine peninsula called Østerøya ("East Island"). About 1000 years ago, this land was separated from the mainland. It was a real island, with a narrow straight used by the Vikings as they sailed between the two main cities of Norway at that time (Kaupanger and Tönsberg). On the southern part of the peninsula there is an area called Yxney. A part of Yxney forms a separate and smaller peninsula as an appendix to the main peninsula, the Truber headland (Truberodden). Two small fjords, the south and north Truberfjord, form this headland. Between these small fjords there is a quiet isthmus (eid), over which one can walk out to the headland of Truber. Up to the year 1800, a strange man-made stone formation was visible on this isthmus. It was a row of stones placed in a special pattern to form a labyrinth. This labyrinth has given the name to the area; as such constructions are called labyrinths of Troy, in this special case; "Truber".
Several labyrinths like the one near Sandefjord are known in Europe but especially in Scandinavia. From ancient times, these constructions have been called "Labyrinths of Troy". Variations of this name, such as Trøyenborg, Trøborg, Trelleborg, Troytown are found all over Europe. The origin of the name lies in the mighty old city of Troy. Why this name is connected with the labyrinths is uncertain but we may see some relationships if we investigate the ancient city culture of Troy.
Homer’s Iliad describes in detail the fierce war between Sparta and Troy. At that time, Troy was the most western outpost of eastern philosophy and thinking, while Sparta was more western orientated. The people (read prince) of Troy had captured and imprisoned Helen, the beautiful princess of Sparta. After several years of fighting, Helen’s followers set her free. They managed to conquer Troy by the help of a giant hollow wooden horse, in the belly of which they managed to get into the city. Via the wooden horse, the western way of thinking got access to the eastern philosophy. As we will see later, the constructors of the Troy castles possibly were oriental horse-warriors that rode from the east during the time of population migrations and settled in different parts of Europe, especially Scandinavia.
A Troy labyrinth found in Finmark, North Norway.
With regards to the Troy castles, there are usually myths about horses, showing that the parallel to the Iliad may be of some value, at least of some interest. Much, which has been written over the years about the Troy castles often mentions visions or myths of black horses in connection with the labyrinths. In Sandefjord, seamen tell stories about seeing a couple of black horses just before bad weather or storms. Such visions usually made the seamen return to shore. This has also happened to me once. If I had not returned at that moment, my boat would undoubtedly have been wrecked in the oncoming storm. A glowing castle has also been observed several times at the headland.
Most of the labyrinths have several other stories associated with them. These stories include the ability to warn of storms, or that a ritual held in the labyrinth would prevent wreckage and guarantee a good catch of fish, as the fishermen then would have more power over the winds and the movements of the seawater, as well as over the fish.
Most scientists are also convinced (Colin Bord, Lorens Berg) that there were rites connected to the labyrinths, rites to prepare the seamen to cope with bad weather, fish catches, or horsemen to manage and tame horses. The same scientists have also agreed on the age of these labyrinths and dated then to 1500-500 BC. As earlier mentioned, it is highly possible that the builders of these labyrinths were Asian shamans who came together with Mongolian conquerors on horseback during or before the times of the folk migrations.
Before we take a closer look at the construction of the Troy labyrinth, we should discuss the Asian view of human energetic physiology. Qi (the meridian energy) flows in a highly complex 3-dimensional network of specific Channels and Pathways throughout the body. The network of the 12 Main Channels, their pathways and organs is called the Channel-Organ System of TCM. Qi itself is 12-fold. TCM Theory held that the body and soul were 12-fold. Man stands between heaven and earth and in communication with the 12 cosmic Qi streams, or energy forces, also represented by the 12 signs of the zodiac. These streams transverse the human body in 6 levels or depths (divisions), named from the outermost layer to the deepest into the body; the Taiyang (Greater Yang), Yangming (Yang of Sunlight), Shaoyang (Lesser Yang), Taiyin (Greater Yin), Jueyin (Reverting Yin) and Shaoyin (Lesser Yin).
Qi flows in the Channels and Collaterals in a sort of “lemniscates,” or 8-shape. It flows through the arms, through the body and then out in the limbs.
Qi enters the human body with or through all sense organs (smell (LU), sound (KI), sight (LV), touch (HT) and taste (SP). It enters LU, where it goes into the Channel-Organ System of the body and flows in specific streams; Qi circulation starts in the middle layer of the body (in LU, Taiyin), moves in lemniscatic form outwards in two rounds (Yangming, LI-ST) and then returns to the middle layer again (SP, Taiyin). Then Qi flows inwards to the deepest layer (HT, Shaoyin), where it gathers a lot of Qi or strength before it goes out to the exterior of the body in 2 rounds (Taiyang, SI-BL) to protect it against all influences of the Stressors. Then Qi enters the depths again in a two-round lemniscatic circle (Shaoyin, KI and Jueyin, PC), then to the exterior in two circles (Shaoyang, TH-GB). Finally Qi flows to the Interior to reach Jueyin (LV), from which it flows to LU, to begin the whole Qi cycle again.
According to the Chinese sages, it is very beneficial to meditate on these lemniscatic Qi flows throughout the body. This form of meditation is a form of Qigong; it gives power over bodily Qi and also over the Qi in nature, helping both internal and external balance, health and harmony.
Does this indicate some sort of correlation with the construction and myths of the Troy labyrinths? If we walk the paths of the labyrinth, we start in the middle layer. After that we move outwards in two turns. We head inwards in two turns almost to the centre, outwards again two turns and finally towards the absolute centre. The correlation of the labyrinth with the Asian teachings concerning the situation (paths) or construction of the Qi flow in the body and the clamed effects in “walking” or “thinking” these paths is not absolute but is amazingly coherent. These imaginations or beliefs are amazingly coherent with the beliefs of our forefathers occupied with fishing and hunting. The only difference is that our Scandinavian forefathers went physically where the Asian shamans did the exercise in their minds. It is uncertain if this knowledge was universal at the time or was discovered by our European forefathers or if Asian horse-warriors imported them before or during the times of the population migrations. However, I argue that the last possibility is the most probable.
It is probable that TCM was already in practice around 2000 BC, as the oldest of all medical books, Neijing, usually is believed to be written by the legendary Yellow Emperor (2698-2598 BC). The first physical sample of this book, the Neijing Suwen, is only from circa 300 BC. This book describes the AP system in detail, as well as other medical knowledge.
Horses were very important during this time and horse-priests practised veterinary medicine from at least during the time of the Zhou Mu Emperor (974-928 BC). The first book on veterinary acupuncture was written by Sun Yang around 630 BC. Many books on veterinary medicine were written in the period from 221 BC until 1608 AD.
One of the most famous books, called the “Horse Classic,” was written in 1635 by the brothers Yu Benyuan and Yu Benheng. This book is translated to German by Michael Heerde. There are a lot of interesting observations in this book, although I doubt several of the observations to have reference to reality. The two veterinary educated brothers describe horses with only 12 ribs and they also describe several signs that indicate that the horse will be able to live up to 90 years. This shows that we must be very critical to old Chinese observations, and not accept all old books as authorities.
In the period around Christ's birth, many books on animal diseases were published and AP use in horses was common. Around the year 1000 AD, China developed a formal veterinary education system, of which AP was a part.
Jesuit priests, who had returned from Peking in the late 16th and early 17th century, introduced human AP to Europe. Harvieu, a Jesuit, was the first to translate a book on AP into French. However, the practice of AP in Europe fell into discredit, most likely due to the Jesuit's bad training and results.
Soulie de Morant, a French diplomat who returned from Shanghai in 1927, re-introduced AP in Europe. He translated some modern Chinese books on AP into French. This work became the basis for the French AP School and is still one of the greatest European textbooks on AP today. From France, the knowledge spread to the rest of the western world.
In the 1970s, AP was given a boost after China opened its borders during the Nixon (former American president) visit. For the first time, westerners could see film and TV documentaries on operations carried out under AP analgesia.
Unfortunately, the impression that AP had merely analgesic effects has surrounded AP since that time. However, AP analgesia is only one of many therapeutic applications of AP. Other important applications are the regulation of the autonomic nervous system, metabolism and of a myriad of vital Processes (which can be reduced to the 12 main Processes that keep the body functioning, from secretion of mucus, to hair growth, to excretion of urine, etc).
In Europe, interest in veterinary AP followed its use in humans. Drs. Oswald Kothbauer (Austria), Jacques Milin (France) and Erwin Westermayer (Germany) were pioneers of veterinary AP in Europe. Interest grew in America later; American pioneers included Drs. Shelly Altman, Marvin Cain, David Jaggar, Alan Klide and Grady Young. They were founders of NAVA (National Association of Veterinary Acupuncture) in 1973. IVAS (the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society) arose out of NAVA in 1974. IVAS is the largest and most highly organised group of veterinary acupuncturists in the western world. It has members from many different countries and has held 26 international annual congresses on veterinary AP. IVAS has trained hundreds of veterinary acupuncturists in Europe, America and Australia.
In 1989, NoVAS (Nordic Veterinary Acupuncture Society), a sister organisation to IVAS, was founded. Today, NoVAS has members in all of the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland). NoVAS organised the 19th International World Congress of Veterinary AP in Tromsø in 1993.
The Acupuncture Method
The principle of AP is simple; one inserts thin needles into the body at specific points, the acupoints. The acupoint locations and their relationships to the Processes and clinical uses have been documented for millennia.
The stimulus produced by needling the acupoints sends its “message” to the Processes that are Deficient, Excessive or otherwise imbalanced. If the body's Channel-Organ System is intact (without too much trauma) and if the process can respond, this message induces the Process Imbalances to normalise. In western terms, provided that the homeostatic capacity can respond, the AP stimuli mobilises the body's adaptive mechanisms to assist in the resolution of the functional imbalance.
- The stimulation of the points has but one message to the process; get in balance!
In TCM, needling and moxibustion were used as effective ways to stimulate the effects of a point. However, many other ways are effective also, including point-injection, massage, warmth, cold, electromagnetic waves (microwave, chromotherapy, laser, sonotherapy, ultrasound, etc) and many other methods, including the projected Qi and Yi of the therapist, especially of a therapist trained in Qigong, but the choice of the correct point (in fact the choice of the correct meridian is more important than which point is chosen on this special meridian) is more important than the choice of the method used to activate the effect of the point.
When we want to treat an acupoint we should be aware of the effects it has on the process in question, and the relation of this process to the other processes. Then we must know the laws that govern the different processes. These laws are described at page 00, but will in short be mentioned here. Two new laws, especially designed for the therapeutic use, are described in greater detail.
The Laws of Acupuncture:
- Five Phase Law.
- Yin-Yang Law.
- Chinese Qi Clock (biorhythm).
- Husband-Wife Law.
- Deficiency law.
- Mirror law.
There are also two more laws or classification-systems that many practitioners use in their practise. Personally I find very little use for these systems, but I mention them so that the reader will be aware of their existence.
- Six divisions.
- Eight principles.