From Seahorse
Revision as of 10:52, 23 February 2011 by Skipper (talk | contribs) (The Meridians)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ming dynasty acupuncture chart

Hsia Chen Pien

Hsia Chen Pien is the Chinese name for acupuncture, which is derived from Latin, and means 'to puncture with a needle'. It is an art that is truly unique to the Chinese, and which has become a part of their heritage, through the knowledge imparted to them by the 'Sons of Reflected Light'.
Originally, only stone needles were used for this work, but today they are made of gold, silver and stainless steel. All of them are made in a variety of lengths, the shortest being half an inch long, and the longest up to three inches. More publicity has been given to this art over the last few years, and more and more of the general public are becoming aware of it. Therapy is effected through the use and manipulation of the needles, which have the tendency to influence, stimulate, sedate and activate, and to eradicate the causes of many forms of sickness, helping to achieve internal harmony, and thereby enabling the body to fight its way back to good health.
But what are the underlying principles of this art, and what do we have to know and eventually accomplish? For we cannot utilize Hsia Chen Pien to heal others unless we have this knowledge and the skills to apply it.
The natural internal energy of the body (Sheng Ch'i or just 'Ch'i'), is sometimes referred to as the 'vitality force', was passed on to you whilst you were still in your mother's uterus, and when you were born it became your responsibility to ensure that its level remained at a constant state to give yourself good health. This energy should be a part of every organ and every cell in the tissue of your body. It is the natural manifestation, activation, flow and rhythm of it that enables it to conform to the universal laws, and it is through the nutritional value of the food that we eat, and our respiration, that cultivation of this energy is possible.
Due to bad eating and drinking habits and poor breathing tendencies, however, this energy (Ch'i) slowly becomes depleted, and illness becomes a reality. It can also go the other way: through these same bad habits an excess can be built up so that another imbalance is created, and again sickness rears its ugly head. If there is a complete lack of energy then cancer or death is not far away. In conformity to the principles of the Five Elements (Wu Hsing), Sheng Ch'i has five stages:

  1. Greater Yang, when you are still in your mother's womb.
  2. Lesser Yang, from infancy to adolescence.
  3. Central, when you are mature and fully grown, and your energy settles down to its natural healthy level.
  4. Lesser Yin, your later years, when deterioration of your internal energy starts to take place.
  5. Greater Yin, when all energy disappears and death results.

You will have noticed that this is not based on a specific total or number of years, because you can create an imbalance at any time within your own system, and if you don't correct it in time and restore it to its natural healthy level, then you will automatically enter into stage 4, which is the stage of deterioration, and thereby shorten your own lifespan.
The practitioner of Hsai Chen Pien must be able to recognize the illness or disease through his skill in the five sections of diagnosis, and in many instances, if the patient comes to him in time, he can combat a complaint long before any symptom of the illness can manifest itself, and thereby he can actually prevent it at its source. So he finds the energy imbalance and the organ or organs that are involved, then through his work he endeavours to restore the energy to its correct level by the insertion of the needles.

The Meridians

Modern acupuncture meridian doll

Ch'i circulates through our body system along well-established channels, which are called meridians (Ching), which link the meridian points or spots, so that they form a definite pattern of lines, each of which is associated with a specific organ of the body and takes the name of that organ. The existence of the meridians and their points has been repeatedly questioned by many Western doctors, who often consider the Chinese ancient therapy doctor to be a quack. Many countries, however, such as Japan, Russia and France, have themselves proved the scientific value of this very ancient art. This has been facilitated by the modern usage of very highly electro-sensitive instruments, which have proved that the ancient Chinese were absolutely right.
Ch'i energy and its flow are closely associated with the autonomic nervous system, which is linked to every organ and to all parts of the anatomy, including the skin tissue and glands. It is the sedation or activation of the meridians and their points that affects the flow of Ch'i, either by slowing it down, or by giving it a boost so that the benefits may be felt and recorded by the autonomic nervous system, which will, in turn, affect specific areas of the organs or various parts of the body.
There are twelve meridians or channels, ten of which are connected to specific organs, the other two being related to internal body activity. These twelve meridians are known as bilateral as they have a uniformity of lines on both sides of the body, and Ch'i energy is constantly flowing along them in a specific direction. These meridians and the direction of flow are as follows:

Organ Yin or Yang Direction of Ch'i
Heart Yin Centrifugal
Small Intestine Yang Centripetal
Liver Yin Centripetal
Gall Bladder Yang Centrifugal
Spleen/Pancreas Yin Centripetal
Stomach Yang Centrifugal
Lungs Yin Centrifugal
Large Intestine Yang Centripetal
Kidneys Yin Centripetal
Urinary Bladder Yang Centrifugal
Heart Circulation Yin Centrifugal
Triple Heater Yang Centripetal

We know that each Yin organ is paired off with a specific Yang organ, and the direction of energy will flow along one meridian until it reaches the extreme limits of the limb, and then it will flow along the path of the meridian to which it is paired. This is why we have two different directions of flow with each pair of organs, as you may have noticed above.
The Heart Circulation, sometimes referred to as the Controller of the Heart or Heart Governor, is involved in the complete circulation of the blood, and the energy that is within the blood throughout the whole body. The Triple Heater, sometimes called the Three Burning Spheres, controls the chemical activity within the body. In addition to this, however, it also has other important jobs to do, for it also regulates and adjusts body temperature changes, and transfers heat and Ch'i energy from one area to another. However, neither Heart Circulation nor Triple Heater are organs' in the strict technical sense of the word.
All of the Yin meridians have their lines or paths running on the inside of the arms or the legs, whilst the Yang meridians run along the outside of these same limbs. Ch'i energy circulates through the entire body within a twenty-four-hour period, with each organ having a two-hour minimum period of activity, and a two-hour minimum period of flow, so even our energies conform to the Yin and Yang principles.
However, if the Ch'i flowing through the body is slowed down or restricted by some internal blockage, or is made to flow faster than normal through an external influence, or there is extra energy in the system, then the organism of the body is thrown out of balance, and this can result in sickness.
It is on this understanding that the acupuncturist can give tonification to the organ or organs that have low energy levels, or even sedate them if they are overactive, and through this Yin and Yang application, harmony can be restored once again within the organism of the body.

Peak Periods

So accurate have the Chinese studies in the art of Hsia Chen Pien been, that they can tell when the high and low energy levels will take place in the years ahead, the seasons, the days and the hours. So let us look at the last of these and understand the two-hour peak period of each of the twelve meridians and their connected organs.

Time Yin/Yang Organ
1 to 3 a.m. Yin Liver
3 to 5 a.m. Yin Lungs
5 to 7 a.m. Yang Large Intestine
7 to 9 a.m. Yang Stomach
9 to 11 a.m. Yin Spleen / Pancreas
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Yin Heart


Time Yin/Yang Organ
1 to 3 p.m. Yang Small Intestine
3 to 5 p.m. Yang Bladder
5 to 7 p.m. Yin Kidneys
7 to 9 p.m. Yin Heart Circulation
9 to 11 p.m. Yang Triple Heater
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Yang Heart Gall Bladder

Bear in mind that if the Liver, for instance, is working at its peak between one and three o'clock in the morning, then it will be at its lowest ebb or weakest period between one and three oclock in the afternoon. It has been found that an excess energy complaint within an organ is more responsive to treatment during the peak periods of activity, so treatment would commence just a short time before maximum activity starts. In the case of those suffering from low energy or weak periods, then the ideal time to start the treatment would be immediately after the peak period has ended.

The Lung Meridian

The Lung meridian (Yin) is indirectly connected to the Large Intestine meridian (Yang) and sends its energy to it in a centrifugal motion. It has eleven points (on each arm), four of which are forbidden to moxa and to other forms of heat treatment. These four points are Nos. 3, 8, 10 and 11.
This meridian covers the disorders of the respiratory system, such as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, inflammation of the lungs, intermittent and tropical fever, fear and anxiety neurosis, facial paralysis, articular rheumatism, and vertigo.

The Large Intestine Meridian

The Large Intestine meridian (Yang) receives its energy from the Lung meridian, and in turn, it transmits Ch'i force to the Stomach meridian (Yang). This meridian starts on the index finger at the root of the nail, but slightly towards the thumb. It then runs externally up the arm, ventral side to the clavicle, then slightly over the shoulder, and then back to the upper breastbone, then via the lower jawbone and the corner of the mouth (where it influences the lower lip), then to the other side of the nostril to the depression known as the nasogenion fold. There are twenty points (on each arm), three of which are banned to moxa and other heat treatments, and these points are Nos. 13, 19 and 20.
Many of the throat, mouth and nose complaints can be attributed to the Large Intestine, such as dry throat, parched lips, inflamed tongue, tonsillitis, toothache, swollen jaws, catarrh, bronchitis, absent sense of smell, as well as headaches, apoplexy, depressions, fear and frights in children, polyps of the nose, and poor eyesight.

The Heart Circulation Meridian

This meridian obtains its Ch'i energy from the Kidney meridian, and it starts halfway between the nipple and the armpit, travelling along the inside of the arm, and finishing its journey on the inside of the tip of the middle finger, at the root of the nail.
The Heart Circulation meridian, sometimes called the Heart Governor,is Yin, and it runs in a centrifugal direction. There are no points along this meridian that are banned to moxa or heat treatment. It has a total of nine meridian points (eighteen if you count both arms).
The West does not recognize this particular system as an organ, and technically it is not, but the Chinese in their ancient wisdom, appreciated that an organ does not necessarily have to be in one piece to be effective, so they considered the whole vascular system to be an organ within itself. It covers the arteries, veins and capillaries, which deal with the circulation of fluids in the body, haemorrhages, gastritis, insufficient milk in the breasts, female sterility, and inflammation of the heart.

The Triple Heater Meridian

This is another organ not recognized in the West, and we agree, it is a tough one to imagine. The Chinese saw it as being composed of three sections: respiration energy; the regulating of the digestive system; and the control of the processes of the urogenital and sex organs, including the chemical changes within the complete system. It is Yang and receives its Ch'i energy from the Heart Circulation meridian, and in turn, passes on the surplus to the Gall Bladder meridian. The Ch'i flows in a centripetal direction, from the little finger edge of your ring finger nail and runs up the outside of the arm, to the rear of the shoulder, then round the back of the ear, circles up and down round the ear, then passes to the joint of the lower jawbone, and out to the temple at the corner of the eye. It has a total of twenty-three points, or forty-six if you count both arms. It covers a very wide range of illnesses, including contracted lips, toothache, neuralgia, vertigo, apoplexy, cerebral congestions, deafness, epilepsy, gingivitis, nephritis, and paralysis and spasms in the arms and neck.

The Heart Meridian

The Heart meridian (Yin) get its Ch'i energy from the Spleen meridian, and in turn, passes this energy, which flows in a centrifugal motion, on to the Small Intestine. It has a total of nine points on each arm, making a total of eighteen overall. The first point is situated at the every top of the arm in the apex of the axilla, and it runs down the inside of the arm, and then on to the inside edge of the little finger to the final point, which is near to the fingernail fold. This meridian is of great value in combatting a number of psychologically and emotionally caused stresses, as well as other physical illnesses such as nervous anxiety, hysteria,psychopathy, melancholy, depressions, neuralgia of the arm and pulmonary tuberculosis, leucorrhoea, epistaxis, arthritis in the elbow, cold sensations in the elbow, wrist and arm, vulvar pruritis, endocarditis, adenopathy, metrorrhagia, and general weaknesses caused by fevers and influenza. It is also excellent for those who suffer from insomnia.

The Small Intestine Meridian

The Small Intestine meridian is Yang and its receives its Ch'i energy from the Heart meridian, and transmits it in a centripetal direction from the outer edge of the little finger s nail root, up the exterior side of the arm to the back of the shoulder joint, over the shoulder blade, up the side of the neck, to the upper part of the lower jaw bone, out to the centre of the cheek, then back to a point in front of the ear. It has nineteen points, thirty-eight for both arms. Overactiveness or weakness in the state of this meridian will indicate a wide range of diseases and sickness, including swollen throat, tonsillitis, coughs, stiff neck, oedema, epilepsy, coryza, neuralgia, gingivitis, tinnitus, pneumonia, aphonia, toothache, fever, weak eyesight, mastitis, madness, paralysis of the arm fear and apprehension in children, anal fistula, pleurisy, sternal pains and agalactia. It has only two points which are forbidden to heat treatment.

The Spleen Meridian

This meridian obtains its energy from the Stomach meridian, and it is Yin. It directs its energy in a centripetal direction of flow, and then eventually it passes it on to the Heart meridian. It has twenty-one points on each leg, with three points banned for heat treatment. This meridian starts on the outside of the nail fold of the big toe, then runs directly back to halfway along the foot, and up the outside of the leg, through the groin to a point just below the navel, then up to the second intercostal space, from where it drops down to the sixth intercostal space almost under the armpit. It covers a vast range of disturbances — all diseases of the genital organs of both sexes, abdominal swelling and pain, fever and fatigue, buttock pains, menorrhagia, orchitis, influenza, dyspnoea, dysuria, haemorrhoids, lumbago, vomiting, ascites, hyperacidity and cardiac pain.

The Liver Meridian

The Liver meridian is another Yin character for it flows in a centripetal direction, and obtains its Ch'i energy from the Gall Bladder meridian, before passing it on to the Lung meridian. It has fourteen points on one side, making a total of twenty-eight if counting the bilateral points. It starts on the inside of the big toe, runs up the inside of the leg and thigh, up to the femoral artery in the groin, to the base of the floating ribs, and up to the nipple just below the costal border. In China it has always been said the 'the Liver governs the eyes', and this is very true, for many eye complaints can be related to liver complaints, and in addition to this, the Liver meridian has direct influence for the cure of anaemia, diabetes, neuralgia, night, sweats, weakness created by cold weather, pains in the chest, abdomen and lower limbs, cystitis, arthritis in the knee, anuria, nephritis, urine troubles, muscular spasms in the chest, dyspnoea and hypertension, and leg cramps.

The Stomach Meridian

This is another Yang meridian and it receives its Ch'i energy from the Large Intestine, and then passes it to the Spleen meridian, which we know is Yin. The Stomach meridian energy flows in a centrifugal direction, and is the second longest meridian in the body, connecting forty-five points (ninety if you count both sides), and it is the only meridian in the body where certain points are forbidden even to the acupuncturist's needle. It starts just under the eye, runs down to the side of the jawbone, then up to the top of the temples, back to the clavicle, down through the centre of the nipple, past the navel, then on to the front of the hip, thigh, leg and foot, ending in the root of the nail of the second toe. It covers many complaints of the head (migraine, etc.), ear complaints, throat disturbances, a vast range of eye troubles, inflammation of the breast, infection of the ovaries, stomach and intestinal ailments, myositis of the lower limb, rheumatism, and arthritis in the foot and knee.

The Kidney Meridian

As the Kidney meridian is under the influence of the element of water it is natural that it is Yin, and so its energy flows in a centripetal direction, and is received from the Bladder meridian, and passes on to the Heart Circulation meridian. It has a total of twenty-seven points on each side (fifty-four in all). It starts on the ball of the foot towards the toes, carries on up the inside of the leg, first having circulated round the ankle, then runs up past the bladder, navel and breastbone to a point near the clavicle by the parasternal line. Because of its length and the large number of meridian points, it can have great benefits for many complaints such as heart afflictions, liver affections, bladder and stomach upsets, urinary urgency, pruritis, spermatorrhoea, cystitis, eye congestions, anorexia, pulmonary emphysema, epigastric conditions, insomnia, poisoning, insufficient menses, constipation, mammitis and diabetes.

The Gall Bladder Meridian

The Gall Bladder meridian is Yang and receives its Chi energy from the Triple Heater meridian, in due course passing this energy on to the Liver meridian. Being Yang, it has a centrifugal direction of flow. It has forty-four meridian points, with a total of eighty-eight if you count both sides. It starts its long journey at the corner of the eye, heads towards the lobe of the ear, and passes round the side of the head, touching the forehead, then back over the head, down the side of the neck, past the intercostal space, then on to the outside of the thigh, leg and foot to the external edge of the fourth toe. It covers all nose infections, neuralgia in different parts of the body, leucorrhoea, inflammation of the ear, anaemia, pain and paralysis in the face, constipation, rheumatism, urinary complaints, cystitis, anxiety neurosis, tympanism and cancer.

The Bladder Meridian

The Bladder meridian is another Yang character and receives its energy from the Small Intestine meridian, flowing in a centrifugal direction and then passing this energy on to the Kidney meridian. It is the longest meridian line in the body, having sixty-seven points in all, and a total of 134 if you count both sides. It starts in the corner of the eye near the nose, goes over the head, and runs down the back in two parallel lines; it goes close to the coccyx, over the buttocks, down the back of the leg, to the rear of the outside ankle bone, then on the outside of the foot, till it reaches the external fold of the little toe. It covers all afflictions of the heart, liver, stomach, ears, eyes and nose, as well as articular rheumatism, paralysis in many parts of the body, lung complaints, digestive complaints, mental depressions, apoplexy, constipation, stomach cancer, Menorrhagia, adenopathy, orchitis, meningitis, and troubles in the sexual organs of men and women. So far, we have briefly described the Ch'i energy paths, which are generally referred to as the meridians of the organs, as each one is associated with an organ source which can be stimulated or tranquillized to combat specific illnesses or sickness. However, it must be appreciated that all Ch'i energy in the body will, in a truly healthy person, permeate all cells within the tissue of the complete system, and it is merely through the meridain points that we combat the symptoms of illness and influence the various organs of the body.

The Special Meridians

In addition to the twelve meridians already shown to you, there are other special energy lines, all of which have special functions, which are to act simply as containers or reservoirs to hold and regulate the use of surplus energy. So whilst the organ meridians can be likened to rivers, and the special meridians to lakes, between the lakes and the rivers there must be brooks and streams to cater for the overflow, and this smaller connection is also covered by the body, through what are called the subsidiary or extraordinary meridians. So within the body, Chi energy has three main routes which it can take to help the body to keep healthy, fight disease, combat weariness in any particular part of the anatomy, and generally harmonize all the internal organs and systems into a unique and dynamic work force, these systems being:

1. The organ meridians. 2. The eight special meridians, or vessels. 3. The subsidiary meridians, or threads.

It is through this wonderful system of linkages that the Yin and Yang organ meridians are threaded together, and they are, in turn, connected to the vessel meridians. With a book of this size it is impossible to cover every aspect of the meridians, but let us just show you two of the special meridians which have specific points of their own, whilst all the others do not have any particular virtues which they can call their own. These two meridians are the Conception meridian and the Governor meridian.

The Conception Meridian

The Conception meridian is Yin and consists of only twenty-four points, which run directly from the gum of the lower jawbone, straight down the centre line of the body through the chest, abdomen and navel, and down to a point in front of the anus. It has some important alarm points along its path which indirectly react on various organs of the body. It has a vast influence over a huge range of illnesses. It is impossible to list them all here, but the following are a few: all diseases of the perineal area, frequent micturition, urinary diseases, vaginal discharge, irregular menses, abdominal pains, spermatorrhoea, impotence, hypertension, cerebral haemorrhage, haematuria, gastritis, cardiac pains, jaundice, insanity, palpitations, hysteria, loss of virility and energy, intestinal abscess, tongue troubles, toothache, both breasts swollen, glosillitis, swollen throat, and lung diseases.

The Governor Meridian

The Governor meridian is Yang and runs from the anus to the coccyx and then up the spine, up the centre of the neck, over the head, down the centre of forehead and nose, till it arrives in the gum of the upper jawbone. It has a total of twenty-eight points. This meridian covers a quite large range of illnesses, such as impotency, spermatorrhoea, sterility in women, haemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, retention of urine, rheumatic diseases, delirium, headaches, nervousness and insanity in children, severe fright, forgetfulness, constant weeping, hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions, painful knees, hips, back and neck, rigidity in the spine, deafness, dumbness, vaginal discharge, oedema, eyesight deterioration, diarrhoea, neurasthenia, insomnia, dyspnoea, all kinds of nasal troubles, rhinorrhoea, eclampsia, sores on the face, fainting, and red itching and pain in the corner of the eye.

The Needles and their Use

The technique of Hsia Chen Pien is normally associated with the use of needles at the various meridian points, and, as you can now fully appreciate, it is not a haphazard affair, but an exacting and very methodical science. Before commencing the treatment the practitioner must consider the complaint, the point or points to be used, the type of needle to be inserted — in terms of material, length, diameter and shape — and whether this treatment is to be used in conjunction with other means, like heat treatment, as mentioned in Chapter 7. As every spot or point is a nerve control centre belonging to the autonomic nervous system, the practitioner having considered all the above items will make one more test to confirm his opinion, and he does this by placing one of his fingers on the point or points to be treated. If when the point is pressed with fingertip, nothing is felt by the patient, yet when a needle is inserted into the same spot, then he gets a slight spasm of pain something like a miniature electric shock, then this indicates that the particular meridian and its associated organ are sound and functioning correctly. If, however, pain is felt when the point is pressed with the finger, and yet no pain is experienced when the needle is inserted, then that particular meridian point is malfunctioning, and it is affecting its associated organ, and so therefore it requires the necessary treatment. So our ancient practitioner of this art had to conform to the Five Elements (Wu Hsing) before actually inserting the needle, on the following basis:

  1. Complete diagnosis.
  2. The meridian point or points to be treated, and the posture to be adopted, by the patient.
  3. The type and length of needle to be used.
  4. The direction and depth of the insertion.
  5. The length of time that the needle is to be left in.

It is vitally important that the patient is placed in the right posture for the needle to be accurately placed on the appropriate point. He must also be comfortable, and in some cases the body or head may have to be propped up to keep the body firm and unmovable, yet still relaxed. Even the postures conform to the Five Elements principles:

  1. Lying down on the floor on the back.
  2. Lying on the stomach fully stretched out.
  3. Lying on the side with the body propped in place.
  4. Sitting but leaning backwards with the back supported.
  5. Sitting but bending forward with the arms resting on a table.

The needle, too, must conform to the principles of the Five Elements, and as this instrument will do all the work, and obtain the necessary results, then its correct use and application play a very important part in the treatment:

Insertion of 90° to the surface of the skin. Insertion of 45° against the flow of Ch'i. Insertion of 45° with the flow of Ch'i. Shallow insertion. Deep insertion.

The general rules are laid down for the control of Ch'i energy in Hsia Chen Pien, and these rules are also governed by the principles of the Five Elements, and these enable every practitioner to stimulate or sedate the particular meridian point and the organ that is connected to it.

To stimulate:

Massage the meridian point which is to be treated, before inserting the needle. Insert the needle shallowly. Insert the needle slowly but in a rotary motion. Insert the needle at the same angle as the flow of energy. Introduce the needle as the patient exhales, and withdraw it as he inhales.

To sedate:

Do not massage the meridian point. The needle should be inserted deeply. The needle should be inserted quickly, or jabbed in, and withdrawn quickly. The angle of the needle should oppose the direction of the flow of Ch'i energy. The needle should be inserted as the patient inhales, and it must be withdrawn as he exhales.

Treatment is completed when the needle is withdrawn, but of course, it may be necessary for another two or three visits before the required results have been obtained. Some chronic or serious illnesses may take longer, so the course of treatment could continue for several weeks or months. Hsia Chen Pien generally obtains quick effects, especially with those who are suffering from pain, upon which it has a responsive effect of sedation. Since 1951, records have been kept in China noting down the results of all treatments of Hsia Chen Pien, and those cases that have been successfully cured reached a remarkable total of nearly 93 per cent, which shows the effectiveness of this very ancient art. Research is still going on inside China, and in other nations of the world, and new discoveries are still being made, and all due entirely to the early teachings of the 'Sons of Reflected Light'.


Taoist Ways of Healing - The Chinese Art of Pa Chin Hsien

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2012 reproduced with permission