By adam O’Mara
Chinese medicine has been in existence for thousands of years and during that time there were very profound books or scrolls written on a variety of medical subjects, such as the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor’s classic – 3-400 BC). This was not just an explanation on organ functions, or the interactions between the organs, or the roll of the substances such as blood, fluids, Qi and Jing, or an observation / symptomatic tool for an array of acute or chronic diseases of its time. This and many more classics were an education on how we needed to live (seasonally with constitutions in mind), if we want to live a long and healthy life.
There was a view that we needed to live in accordance with the seasons and understanding that elements external to us, are also in us. An understanding that all aspects in us, co-exists with-in us, thus this must be considered in the practitioners’ observations. Qi (energy) does not exist without blood, blood does not exist with-out Qi. That if the liver is out of balance then the Gall bladder, kidneys, colon, spleen will be affected differently. The Chinese even understood that genetics play a role in ones health but termed such differently. It was termed Jing.
One’s constitution was assessed at an early age and if the child has a congenital weakness in the lungs then we can eat the right foods through out life to support this deficiency. We also are told to avoid excesses and life style choices that will damage the lungs further. If you had asthma as a child you don’t smoke as an adult or disease will affect one much faster than a smoker with a strong constitution of the lung.
There were many schools of thought formed, and many interpretations of the ever evolving classics. Eventually these profound acupuncture & herbal classics were given to the Koreans, who in turn gave it to the Japanese, each forming their own interpretations of them and forming their own schools of thought, tried and tested over hundreds of years.
Menopause was a label that bears little relevance to treatment. Treatment was formed from observations of the tongue, pulse, skin colour, palpation of the abdomen and channels, observing yin and yang aspects (hormones), observations of demeanour and vitality, temperature changes and the substances. These observations then form patterns and from those patterns Such as “Liver & Kidney Yin xu”, herbal formulas and points are chosen. In fact I have observed men go through a similar symptomatic picture as woman in Menopause. We simply break down the symptomatic picture and treat accordingly, removing the label.
There are over 20 possible herbal variations for Menopause, with-out combining. Point selection is based on presentation and these approaches to treatment have completely different schools of thought towards treatment, based on culture, Master, and time in the evolution of acupuncture. Diagnosis & treatment will be discussed in part 2.