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East West Blog

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, for Today's World

Three Treasures Series

Qi, instrument of our health and destiny

 

Qi can wear many hats, from mundane “air” (you put “Qi” in your flat tires), “function” (the “Qi of the Heart” makes it beat) to”activity”, “strength” or “life” as no qi means death. It also includes modern concepts of “energy” “electricity,” or “electromagnetism”

The main medical role of Qi in our body is “transformation,” metabolic and enzymatic functions being its modern names. Our Lung, Spleen/ pancreas and liver constitute its main “transformers”.

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Three Treasures series

Shen, radiance of our spirit and flame of our soul

Shen is the most subtle of the three treasures. Often translated as spirit, Shen can also mean soul, mind, character, personality, emotion, charisma, talents or radiance. Shen resides in our Heart and its nature is Fire. Heart health and Shen are therefore closely connected. Interestingly enough Oriental medicine assigns to the Heart many of the functions that we assign to the brain. Concentration for example is a function of our Shen. The separation between mind and heart is of our making!

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Three Treasures Series

Jing, source of our longevity and vitality

Oriental medicine lists 3 fundamental treasures essential to human health: Jing, Qi, Shen. “Treasure” means something precious and unique to be cherished and protected, like our. national parks designated “national treasures” to protect them from mindless exploitation. Treasure entails the necessity of conscious care and awareness of irreplaceable value.

Jing is the first of the three treasures, sometimes translated as “kidney essence” but much wider than that. Some other Western terms could include “vital energy,” “DNA,” “constitution,”. “body fluids and lubrication” or “libido.”

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Today, in this little blog, let me just tackle the most common question: “what is acupuncture good for?” or another version of it “Can it treat X, Y, Z…?”

In a way, that is like asking “What is medicine good for?” While acupuncture in the West is best known for its pain applications (knee, shoulder, elbow, lower back and all kinds of arthritic pains) its uses cover a much wider scope.

The best way to understand acupuncture is to see it as a resetting of the deep electrical wiring sending signals to all our tendons and joints but also and every single one of our organs and cells. This is why acupuncture can reach anywhere along this electrical grid and different points can relieve headaches as well.