Imbalance, disease or physical symptoms are recognised as often having origins in the mind/emotions, spirit, lifestyle or surrounding environment, where a sense of "dis-order" can manifest into the body. The approach focuses on the cause of the imbalance, rather than the symptom itself, as TCM shows us how to correct an imbalance from the source. This in turn brings balance to the whole.
I utilise the principles and philosophies of TCM in clinic through Kinesiology and Acupressure. Since it is such an important part of how I work, I would love to share with you the basics of TCM so that you can better understand the wisdom offered by this ancient form of medicine and health.
TCM and Taoism
Taoism is also based on "Three Jewels" - humility, compassion and moderation. It is about walking the "middle road" and realising that balance is dynamic, and requires awareness and flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing reality we live in.
The word "Tao" means "the way" and its principles are shaped around being in harmony with natural law and the functional relationship between the elements of nature, creating a whole and interconnected model. There is an understanding that humanity is a part of the natural world, and that like the rest of nature, we are made up of various natural elements and forces. It is believed that balance and health can be achieved when there is harmony between these elements, as well as harmony with the natural cycles of life.
TCM and the Chi cycle / Horary cycle
The Horary cycle is a 24 hour cycle of chi flow, whereby each organ has a 2 hour window when the flow of chi is maximised for that organ.
An idea I love is to align your daily routine with the Horary cycle to get the best alignment and flow of chi to support you. Jost Sauer wrote The Perfect Day Plan which I recommend to my clients as a great resource and tool for learning about this idea. By aligning our actions and routine with the Horary cycle, we can harness Chi to create improved health, prosperity and harmony in our body and life.
Yin and Yang
Yin is the embodiment of the feminine/ negative/ dark/ receptive/ cold/ cyclical/ passive energy.
Yang is the opposite - masculine/ positive/ light/ expressive/ hot/ linear/ active energy.
When in balance, there is a harmonious relationship of opposites. Everyone has a balance of Yin and Yang, and even external objects are said to be more Yin or Yang.
In Kinesiology, Yin and Yang can help us understand the expression of an imbalance. It helps us locate causes to be internal or external, to be having too much or too little expression of something or receiving something. Sometimes, we refer to an element as being "under-energised Yin" or "over-energised Yin" to indicate the state of imbalance. Under-energised (u/e) Yin essentially points to not receiving enough of something, and over-energised (o/e) Yin is receiving too much of something.
The Yin and Yang theory can assist us to read the body's state of (im)balance, which then allows the practitioner to gain insight and understanding into the nature of what is needed to correct the imbalance. If the client is "not receiving enough" of something, we can explore the element or meridian/organ that it relates to and find a solution.
Note for later in this blog that the corresponding meridians for Yin and Yang, are the Central Vessel (Yin) channel and the Governing Vessel (Yang) channel.
5 Elements and the Sheng and Ko Cycles
When the elements flow harmoniously in a clockwise direction, they form the "sheng cycle" or "creative/generating" cycle - where the previous element feeds the growth and creation of the next element. It is also known as a Mother-Child cycle, where the mother nurtures the growth of the child.
If there is a block in the flow of this movement of energy, imbalance and dis-ease can follow.
"Wood creates Fire by burning, Fire creates Earth from ashes, Earth creates Metal by hardening, Metal creates Water by containment, Water creates Wood by nourishment" - Joseph Needham
The "Ko cycle" is one of restriction and destruction, and it can also be known as the "Grandmother-child" relationship. It is an important cycle that maintains unity through control.
"Fire controls Metal by melting, Metal controls Wood by cutting, Wood controls Earth by covering, Earth controls Water by damming, Water controls Fire by extinguishing"
As you can see, there is intricate balance between all of the elements required to maintain unity and balance.
When we understand the nature of each element, and how they work together, we can consciously understand the energy of life from a whole new perspective, and apply this knowledge to enhance our personal growth and health.
Each element has an association with a pair (Yin and Yang) of organs which work together to create each element. Each element has corresponding emotions, virtues, sensory association, season, colour, time of day, stage of growth association, taste association, and each element also houses a particular Spirit, and has a cardinal direction allocated.
I will list the associations of each element, and in further blogs go into more detail on each.
Yin Organ/Meridian: Liver
Time of day: 1am - 3am
Yang Organ/Meridian: Gall Bladder
Time of day: 11pm - 1am
Voice sound: Shouting
Body Tissue: Tendons/Ligaments
Sense Organ: Eyes
Yin Organ/Meridian: Heart
Time of day: 11am - 1pm
Yang Organ/Meridian: Small Intestine
Time of day: 1pm - 3pm
Voice sound: Laughter
Body Tissue: Blood Vessels
Sense Organ: Tongue
*Pericardium and Triple Heater are also part of the fire element, however do not have physical organ associations.
Pericardium: 7pm - 9pm,
Triple Heater is 9pm to 11pm.
Yin Organ/Meridian: Spleen
Time of day: 9-11am
Yang Organ/Meridian: Stomach
Time of day: 7-9am
Voice sound: Singing
Season: Late Summer
Body Tissue: Muscles/flesh
Sense Organ: Mouth
Yin Organ/Meridian: Lungs
Time of day: 3am - 5am
Yang Organ/Meridian: Large Intestine
Time of day: 5am - 7am
Voice sound: Weeping
Body Tissue: Skin
Sense Organ: Nose
Reflector: Body Hair
Secretion: Nasal discharge
Yin Organ/Meridian: Kidneys
Time of day: 5pm - 7pm
Yang Organ/Meridian: Bladder
Time of day: 3pm - 5pm
Voice sound: Moaning
Body Tissue: Bones/Marrow
Sense Organ: Ears
Reflector: Head Hair
The Meridian System: the physical-etheric interface
There are 20 meridian channels, 12 are the main organ-related channels, plus 8 Extraordinary channels.
Each meridian has acu-points along it which control the flow of energy through the meridian. Imagine them like mini gateways that allow energy to move through (when they are open and clear) or which block the flow of energy when out of balance.
In TCM, Acupuncture utilises these points by sticking fine needles into specific points to adjust any imbalances in the flow of energy, by either stimulating (tonifying) or sedating these points. Acupressure is similar except instead of puncturing the skin with needles, the point is pressed and held firmly either in the same or opposite direction to the flow of energy through the meridian.
Each acu-point has its own unique energetic signature and information on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual consequences of each point being in our out of balance.
The benefits of utilising Kinesiology with Acupressure
Its unique approach to understanding the human body and human health involves a different way of looking at illness and disease. In the West, health is often defined as the "absence of disease" and is often very symptom orientated, whereas the TCM model offers a system in which health is viewed as a complete state of wellbeing in the body, mind and spirit and will look to where there is a lack of balance to seek answers for the cause of the imbalance and symptoms.
Kinesiology can be a fantastic tool to marry with Acupressure and TCM 5 element theory, since muscle testing can help the practitioner to locate the exact areas out of balance, as well as utilise muscle testing of specific muscles which can show the imbalances present in the meridian system. Once the imbalances are noted, corrective techniques can be applied.
If you are interested in experiencing acupressure or an introductory Kinesiology 5 element balance, contact me to arrange a session!