DPA LIVE - Intro to TCM
Hello! I fully don’t expect anyone to join this first live... second live? I don’t remember. But I do think that this might be the best way to do this. No subtitles unfortunately but I’m shit at video editing so I’m just going to have to cross that bridge when I get there. I’m here, in my little “office” in my parent’s house, hiding from my kid so that we can do this! So the title of this is “Intro to TCM” and I just wanted to start here… I had something else planned for today but I think without THIS, you’re not going to know what I’m talking about. When I say that the Spleen is the center of digestion you’re going to be like: “Cherron! The physical Spleen is not related to digestion AT ALL!” And I’m going to say “Yeah, that’s true, but in TCM it is.” So, anyway. I’ll get into that later. But the point of this is to introduce everyone to TCM- Traditional Chinese Medicine- very basic philosophy and how it's set up in the hopes that you guys can understand what it is I’m talking about, and not just think that I’m a crack-pot crazy person.
I am, obviously, a white person, learning all of this um second and third hand so you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m still learning also, I’m still, you know, trying to adapt all of this into my life because I was obviously not born into this culture. But I recognize its validity and its truth. I live it every day. So yeah. Let’s jump in.
So um the first thing we need to talk about is um Yin and Yang. And yes it's “yang” [like yawn-g] not “yAng” [like yay-ng]. Yin is also not pronounced correctly but we all recognize yin as yin so I’m just going to leave it at that. So yin and yang are the two polarities, it's the duality in TCM. You have yin energy and you have yang energy. The yin energy is the quiet, dark, more introspective, it goes down. I like to kind of think of it as that Earth energy, that yin energy that we pull up from the earth; as opposed to yang which is the action, it's the movement, it's the light . It is day where yin is night. Yang is like I said action, its direction is up. I like to think of it as the heaven energy, the “above” energy, the space energy if you will, however you need to think about that, that we’re pulling down from the heavens, that we’re pulling down from space. So that’s yin and yang.
You’re likely very familiar with the Tai Ji symbol which is that ying and yang, very classic symbol we’ve all seen. This was like huge when I was growing up. I had stickers and wallets and belts and everything all with this Tai Ji symbol and I didn’t even know what it meant. So you’ve all very likely seen this before with the white on the one side and the black on the other with the two little dots. So that’s actually a fundamental symbol of TCM. It's not just something that’s cute and pretty. The white side symbolizes the yin - the yang - and the dark is the yin and then the two little dots indicate the yin within the yang and the yang within the yin. Um so they always coexist together. You can never have yin without yang and you never have yang without yin. They’re always together. If you think about that symbol if you take a line from the center, you’re always going to cross through white and black. They’re always together- you can have a lot of yang and a little yin, you can have a lot of yin and la little yang- but you’re always going to have both. And the basis.. what we try to do with acupuncture and TCM is we try to bring those back into balance. If you have too much yin and not enough yang, we’re going to attempt to bring that back into balance. And we do that via the channels, the meridians that we work with, the acupuncture points that we use, all in an attempt to bring those two main” energies” back into balance. Energy’s not really the right word but that’s the word we’re going to use.
So that brings me to the channels. We have 12 main channels associated with twelve organs. And then we have 8 extra meridians that we also use. And when I talk about the organs in TCM, I am not talking about literal organs in our body. When I’m talking about the Heart in TCM, I am not talking about the organ that pumps blood through our body. When we talk about even Large Intestine, Small Intestine, we are not talking about the literal intestines that are running through your body right now. They are more energy centers- again energy’s not quite the right word for that but it's the best that we have.
So yeah so that brings us to Qi. Qi is the life force, the energy force, it is what flows through all things, animate and inanimate. It was what makes the world go round, it is what makes the birds fly south for the winter, it is what keeps us all alive, it is what’s flowing through our channels and organs right now that keeps my body going. So Qi is flowing through the channels, and it flows through the organs, and Qi is what we are affecting with acupuncture needles to bring the Yin and Yang into balance. There’s different types of Qi, we break down Qi.. you know, if it's like the one thing, and then you can kind of go yin and yang, and then you can break it up so we have different types of QI that we talk about, but it's really all just the same, comes from the same thing. Its Qi. The energy of life. Again, a lot of people are going to argue that its not “energy” based on, you know, the classical definition of energy. But I would again, argue that we don’t have a better word for it. The word for Qi is Qi and when you try to describe it or quantify it, you kind of run into problems. We don’t have a way of measuring Qi yet, in our science, which is really fun, and I think part of the reason why we’re not accepted yet into mainstream medicine, because we can’t prove it. We can try, and people are using what we do know to try and measure it but in and of itself, we don’t have a way to measure Qi, but that doesn’t mean it doesn't exist. It's there, I promise.
So yeah we touched on organs…. touched on yin and yang so that brings me to the fact that this physical body that you see here… in Chinese medicine we believe that the physical body, the mental/emotional body, and then our spiritual body, those are all one. You cannot have one without the other, you cannot affect one without the other. Mental and emotional issues, strife, those big emotions that we feel, those all affect our physical body. Our physical body, when our Qi stagnates, binds up, gets tight, that’s going to affect your mood, that’s going to affect your emotions, that’s going to affect your mental state. If you spiritually are disconnected or confused, that’s also going to effect and show up in your physical body as physical symptoms. So physical symptoms for us don’t necessarily mean that it’s just physical. A physical symptom can be a manifestation of your emotional state, or your mental state. Or even your spiritual state, which we don’t see quite as much but it definitely definitely happens. Treating one treats the other… So when we say that acupuncture, when we say that traditional Chinese medicine is a holistic medicine, that we treat that person holistically, this is what we mean, is that we are not just treating the physical body, we’re treating you as a whole person. We’re treating your physical body, we’re helping you handle and deal with your emotions in a more healthy way. We’re going to affect that mental state, and we’re also going to affect your physical [spiritual] state, we can open up that physical, spiritual, connection if that’s something that you need or want or are interested in. So to me, this is the definition of a holistic medicine. There’s just nothing that does what acupuncture can do.
And so I touched on this a little bit already, but what acupuncture does, what we as acupuncturists, as traditional Chinese medicine practitioners with acupuncture and herbs and our other modalities.. What we attempt to do is we seek to bring balance to patterns of imbalance. So you have all of these organs, you have all of these channels, and of course you are an individual person. So the way that your Qi flows, the way that it maybe gets stagnant in some places or the way that it flows freely in some places, that all depends on you and your lifestyle and your constitution, so you have a unique pattern. Each person’s body presents with unique patterns of imbalance and so what we do is we look at you specifically, and we’re going to attempt to balance those imbalances. We’re going to bring everything that’s going crazy back into a harmonious state. We’re attempting to help the body maintain its homeostasis (for all of you western people). That’s really what we’re doing.
So my favorite thing is that we are not fixing mere symptoms. We are not just covering up symptoms with medicine . What we are doing is we are attempting to find out what’s happening behind and below the symptoms that’s even causing those symptoms to come out. And that’s what we’re affecting. We’re affecting those patterns behind what the symptoms are. So by bringing those patterns out of imbalance, and bringing them into balance, that’s how we fix those symptoms. And without getting negative and trying to drag western medicine down because they do a lot of things great.. but one thing they do not do great that you’ll probably hear me talk a lot about is just covering symptoms. If you're symptom- free, you’re healthy. And that’s not really the case. Sorry I dropped my little fidget ball so I’m not talking with my hands too much. We’re not just covering up symptoms. We are actually attempting to fix them, which is what we do a lot better. True health is not just the absence of symptoms. It is, um, it is free-flowing Qi and the absence of imbalance. Or at least imbalance that your body can then bring back into balance without going all hay-wire and crazy.
So there you have it! That’s my little quick and dirty intro to TCM. Just so that we all have an idea of what I’m talking about when I’m talking about these things. Again, organs are not literal; Qi flows through channels, and organs; we have that duality, we have that yin and that yang energy that are always coexisting together. Duality is huge I think, especially right now with the state of the world. We’re all just attempting to bring these opposing energies together in a harmonious way. So this really speaks to that and I think acupuncture will just gain more and more importance as our world goes on.
So I will hopefully be putting a transcript of this into my blog space on my website, so look for that. I’ll include that in the caption of this when I post this video. So if you can’t watch it, hopefully within the next day or two you can read it on my blog. Okay that is it for now, hopefully you enjoyed this quick live intro to Traditional Chinese Medicine and yes I’m always this all over the place and yes I’m always just pulling it right out. That’s how I roll. I don’t want to script stuff. It's boring and you probably wouldn't like it either. So that’s that. If you have any questions. comment, dm, text me if you know me, whatever you want. If you want me to talk about something else, I would love to talk about that. I could talk about this all day long. If you’re an acupuncturist and I fucked something up, also message me about that. It's been a while.. I’ve kept up, you know I live this stuff every day so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about but if there are any glaring issues you want to bring forward or address I would love to talk about that with you. And look for more of these! K! Thanks! Bye!
[This is a transcript of my latest IG Live. If you missed it, go follow me at @desertphxacu so you don't miss any more!]
Here's the link to the IGTV: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEFNHs5HWSy/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link