Tag Archives: Asthma

My illness is my friend

rock-hole-blue-lakeYesterday I received the news that one of my most influential teachers, Bob Duggan, has passed away. Bob was an acupuncturist but he was also a wellness visionary, seeing ways of bringing health and healing outside the treatment room.

In 1991 I was fortunate to be part of a group of 20 who made up the SOPHIA training in San Francisco. Bob, along with Diane Connelly, Julia Measures and John Sullivan, made seasonal trips from Maryland to teach us about using the wisdom of the Five Elements to support change and healing in all areas of life, not just in the treatment room. My own path owes a great deal to this training. My acupressure courses, my books and my direction in life were profoundly influenced by Bob’s view of the world.

When I received the news about Bob’s change of vibration, I went Googling and found a short interview with him from 2009 which I recommend to you. In it he tells this story:

I’ve practised acupuncture for 35 years now and some 30 years ago a man came back into me and he said, “I never thought asthma would be my friend.” I said, “Charlie what are you talking about, asthma is your friend?” And he said, “Well before I came to you I was in and out of the emergency room, I was constantly on prednisone. Now I pick up the wheezing about three days earlier and if I pay attention I realise I’m overtired, I’ve had too much caffeine, I’m having a fight with my wife. And if I change the life circumstances I don’t ever get an asthmatic attack.” That story has stayed with me. I’ve told it to virtually every patient since then and found that people say to me, “My body’s very smart.”

This reminds me of what I already know but try to forget. My headaches are my friends, my neck stiffness is my friend, my insomnia is my friend. These symptoms are kindly pointing out the ways that my life is out of balance. I just need to investigate and find out what needs to change, whether it is what I’m eating, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling. Or not feeling.

As a practitioner it reminds me that my role is to support my clients to discover these things for themselves. And that if I simply “fix” their problems and nothing more, then I am doing them a great disservice. If I help them to turn off the fire alarm without finding the fire that triggered the alarm, then the change that the alarm is suggesting will not happen.

Thank you Bob Duggan for your wisdom and guidance. Thea Elijah called you a radical healing provocateur. I hope that you continue to provoke healing in whichever dimension you inhabit.

bob-duggan

A Fork in the Road

Lieque – Broken Sequence – Lung 7

6.11 It was Yogi Berra who advised: when you come to a fork in the road, take it! The Metal fork we are taking here lies on the pathway of the Lung meridian at the point Lieque – Broken Sequence. The break in the sequence refers to the fact that Qi exits the Lung meridian at this point, rather that the last point of the channel, and enters the Large Intestine meridian at LI 4 rather than the first point of that meridian.

The reference to forks doesn’t end here. The famous 12th century physician Ma Dan-yang, who included this point as one of his Eleven Heavenly Star points, described it as ‘a thunderhead splitting fire’. His description is derived from the fact that Leique was an ancient term for lightning which descends to earth in forked bolts. A look at the pathway of Lung channel at this point reveals a sudden deviation that resembles a lightning bolt.

As a significant point on the Lung channel, it treats respiratory conditions such as asthma, phlegmy cough, wheezing and difficult breathing. It is particularly useful for conditions of the nose, including loss of the sense of smell, nasal congestion, discharge and obstruction. Because of its capacity to expel wind, circulate the defensive Qi and stimulate sweating, it is often used in the early stages of colds and flu. For these its effectiveness is increased when used in combination with LI 4 and LI 20.

Not only is Lieque the exit point of Lung, but also the luo-connecting point which connects it to the Large Intestine meridian. This twin connection to its partner meridian makes the point doubly effective in treating conditions along the pathway of Large Intestine, including pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulder, throat and face. It also treats constipation and headaches, including migraines.

The emotion of grief is said to reside in the Lung and Lieque is helpful in releasing the oppression of grief and sadness that have been held inside. It helps to open the chest, improve breathing and can facilitate the release of grief by crying.

The influence of this point on Metal is only half of its story, for Lieque is also the master point of the Ren Mai (Conception Vessel). This vessel is an energy field covering the area from the perineum to the chin which unites all of the yin meridians. Lieque can release blocks throughout the Conception Vessel but has a particular effect on the chest, uterus, genitals and upon a wide range of urinary disorders such as difficult, burning and painful urination.

As the luo-connecting point of a yin meridian it has particular powers to treat psycho-emotional disorders. It assists in letting go of those things that are no longer serving us, making space for the new. It is also known for uncontrolled laughter and frequent yawning. And one final thing before I forget, it is noted especially for poor memory.

So if you forgot where you put that fork, try Lieque.

6.12Location of Lung 7

 

Located on the side of the radius bone, 1.5 cun above the wrist crease in a cleft between the tendons of brachioradialis and abductor pollicus longus. Use moderate, direct pressure.

 

 

News about the forthcoming book

Thanks very much to all who suggested titles. Your input is appreciated. My publisher and I have decided upon The Way of the Five Elements as a title.

Publisher: Singing Dragon Press (Jessica Kingsley Publishers), London

Publication date: 21 November 2015

Price: £14.99

Colour Hardback 240 pp.

Stay tuned for more news.

Catching a breath – Reaching the depth

BlakeIn the southern hemisphere, winter is waiting in the wings, anxious to take its place onstage during the dark months. But before autumn is done, let us take one more excursion into the realm of the Metal Element.

In the early years of my practice, I discovered the power of Lung 9 to help asthma sufferers. One client in particular found that by holding this point for herself whenever she felt an asthma attack coming, she was able to reduce the use of her inhalant medication by two thirds. Lung 9 is the source point of the meridian and as such it directly relaxes the organ as well as balancing the meridian. Source points are powerful points and if all you know about acupressure is the 12 source points, you have a valuable tool set

Other physical conditions that this point can treat include cough, wheezing, difficult breathing, dry throat, phlegm in the lungs, cold hands, weak voice and the weakness and fragility that result from Qi deficiency.

Reaching Deeper

Later in my practice, I came to discover that Lung 9 can go much deeper, to the psycho-emotional and spiritual levels of a person’s being. Indeed, the name of this point, Very Great Abyss, suggests more profound possibilities than simply treating the lungs.

Very Great Abyss influences the Po which is the spirit of the Metal Element. Of the five spirits the Po, also known as the Corporeal Soul, is the one that supports the functioning of the body. It is what gives us our instincts, our animal nature. It is our animal soul. Paradoxically, the Po also allows for a tricky balancing act of living life as a human being, namely that of being a creature of spirit inhabiting the body of an animal.

When the Po is troubled, this balance between spirit and body, between heaven and earth, can be disturbed. Lung 9 is able to go down into the abyss, to the depth of the soul. It can retrieve a person who has lost their way, calm one who is manic, stabilise someone who feels like they are cracking up or losing control. In short, it can reach down into the very depth of a person, calming, revitalising, rejuvenating and bringing a sense of security and stability.

Whether you simply want to breathe more deeply or if you want to feel more at ease in your body-soul, Very Great Abyss will help bring you back to yourself.

Location of Lung 9

LU 9Hold your left hand with the palm facing you. On the thumb side of the wrist crease, find the hollow between a tendon on the thumb side, the radial artery next to it, and the bone at the base of the hand. Hold the point with gentle pressure for 2 to 3 minutes. Tune into the Qi at the point. Notice how you feel as you hold it. Notice whether it affects your breathing or your mood. When you feel done, hold the same point on the right wrist and tune into the Qi there.

If you want to explore further, you can hold Lung 9 in combination with Large Intestine 4 which we learned earlier in the autumn. (See previous blog post). By holding the two source points of the Metal meridians together, you will be balancing the yin and yang of Metal. Doing this in the autumn, the season of Metal, makes it more powerful still. Try this on your friends and family. Self acupressure is good but treating another allows the work to go much deeper.