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Clinical Insights: Treating Painful Periods (Dysmennorhea) with Acupuncture Part 2 - New York City

In part 1 I have mentioned the circulatory pattern from the bladder through the uterus and sacrum. Treating the acupuncture point regions UB 28-34 are often used, but there are other ways to treat this area with according to the Yellow Emperor's Canon.


Ling Shu Chapter 7 discusses twenty-six different needling techniques that are tissue specific, location specific, and situation specific. A tissue specific needling technique refers to the 5 tissue types: skin, vessel, tendon, subcutaneous tissue, and bone. Location refers to the place obstruction is occurring whether it is deep, mid-level, or superficial. Then there are certain situation techniques for example when a person is having chest pain or pain that travels.


When we look at the sacrum we see a structure that covers the muscles of the low back and the sacrum. This is the thoracolumbar fascia, or thoracolumbar aponeurosis. This tells us the type of technique we need to use, a sinew technique.

In the Nei Jing there are 3 specific sinew techniques depending on location. One occurs in the belly of a muscle, the other at insertions at the end of bones or joints, and the last is the fire needle technique for pain that is worse upon cold exposure. The fascia overlying the sacrum is considered more of an insertion technique, so we would use Barrier Pass Technique (Guan Ci).


"The third method is called Guan Ci (Barrier Pass) technique. It means to needle at the end of sinews near the joints (where it attaches to bone). It treats obstructions of the sinew and corresponds to the liver (Ling Shu Chapter 7)."


Huang Di Nei Jing is written in such a way, that if you piece together different parts of the book, you can gain insight into how the people of this time viewed the body and how this medicine may have been practiced in ancient times, which I believe is much more sophisticated and much more beautiful then how we practice acupuncture now (point and action based).


The ancients viewed the body as an entire ecological system resonating with the outside world, the heart resonated with the sun it sits at the center of our body and universe providing the proper timing and seasons of our world, the channels were like a series of rivers circulating and nourishing life, these rivers would pass along bamboo forest which are represented in our body as the sinew (muscular) system. The sinew system relates with the liver. Our subcutaneous tissue (fat) resonates with the soil in nature, it corresponds with the pancreas/spleen and provides nutrients to the body, lastly our bones were like mountains resonating with the kidney, storing our resources and regulating river volume.


If these rivers flowed, the body thrived, Treatment was to restore the natural ecology by removing impairments in river flow. Knowing the exact location of impairment and the corresponding technique is a vital key to practicing this medicine which we will continue exploring in the final part of this series.