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Traditional Chinese medicine: Concept of Chi, efficacy etc.

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Jenny, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. zzz

    zzz Senior Member

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    I missed the first part of this quote in my previous response:
    Although acupuncture can be used with lymph disorders, lymph and chi are two completely different entities, and the treatments for them are different is well. From my experience, the movement of chi feels like some sort of energy, and is much more rapid than the flow of lymph could possibly be.

    Some people may say, "Wait a second. Energy is a very clearly defined entity in physics." It certainly is, as defined by the formula E = (mv(squared)/2), or in the famous formula E = mc(squared). But that just tells you how to calculate the amount of energy; it doesn't tell you what energy is. From the great quantum physicist Richard Feynman (also quoted in my signature):
    (This and many other perceptive quotes of his can be found on the Wiki Quote page for Richard Feynman.)

    Meanwhile, as for the use of acupuncture in lymph disorders, here is an excerpt from Study Shows Acupuncture May Relieve Chronic Lymphedema after Breast Cancer Treatment, done at the world-famous Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
    As for the efficacy of acupuncture in general:
    I can't say "always" (people do make mistakes), but I can state from my personal experience and those of many people I know that acupuncturists tend to be as unanimous in their diagnoses as medical doctors are in theirs. Simply from a logical perspective, this makes sense. Without consistent diagnoses, there would not be consistent treatment for the same condition, and acupuncture would be useless as a treatment modality. Your own quotes from published papers support the assumption of consistent diagnoses.
    The study I quoted above is one. I'm sure you can find others easily.
    You have given no evidence for what you suspect. And as I pointed out, if it were true, acupuncture would be useless. In just the example that I quoted, the researchers at Sloan Kettering obviously disagree with you.

    In the example of my friend that I mentioned in a previous post, she had diagnoses from a number of acupuncturists and TCM practitioners, many from different countries. She even had diagnoses from Tibetan medicine, which shares some basic principles with Chinese medicine. All the diagnoses were the same.

    To you it is. To me and millions of other people, mostly in Asia, it is something tangible that can be felt, and that is different from anything described in Western medicine.
    I have experienced something that is described by TCM as chi. There is no cognate for this in Western medicine. This doesn't mean that I know exactly what chi is, any more than Richard Feynman knows exactly what energy is.

    And if we're talking about lack of objective proof of something that we all know is real, why don't we take a look at the elephant in the room and talk about consciousness? We all know it exists, due to our direct perception of it. But what objective proof is there?

    Physics attempts to explain the entire universe. But so far, it has made no inroads on the nature of consciousness. Some neuroscientists claim that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain, but there is no evidence for this. There is certainly evidence that consciousness and the brain are linked, but what the nature of that link is is completely unknown at this point.

    I'll conclude here with a famous example of how Western medicine differs from Asian medicine. In Western medicine, a pulse is a pulse. It has a frequency and a strength, and that's it. In a given place in the body (e.g., the wrist), you have exactly one pulse.

    The following is taken from a radio interview with Diane Toomey:
    Note also that by simply examining the pulses, the doctor was not only able to detect the heart defect, but also to determine that it was congenital.

    I used to know more of the details of this particular incident, but although I have forgotten them, I'm sure you can find them in the book referenced in the quote.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
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  2. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    http://www.acupuncturehamilton.com/36/world-health-organizationacupuncture-proven-effective-for

     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
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  3. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    I spoke to Erle on the phone once and he kindly sent me a free tai-ji video (b4 internet). he goes into healing with chi without needles. i don't share this as proof but as possibly of interest to some people. the man being healed gives an appraisal at the end.



    "the best colon i ever felt" lol

    this is good too i think.
    Erle Montaigue interview 1992 - 1http://youtu.be/9uRYmoCK0

    part 2 http://youtu.be/9uRYmoCK
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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  4. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357513

    Read the rest of the study here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
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  5. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    manna likes this.
  6. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    I don't have the precise skill that Mr. Montaigue does, not even close, but when I received attunements to Reiki I and II my hands did the vibrating and shaking over painful parts of the patient's body, just as this healer. My Reiki Master has always had some healing ability and when she visited her father at work (he was a doctor) her hands would start vibrating and shaking so much she had to clasp them together, just because there was so much sickness nearby.

    I feel electricity, a very strong buzzing in my hands also when I go over painful areas. When I move my hands away, the buzzing stops. Those counter-clockwise and clock-wise movements.....wait for it.....I did those intuitively with Reiki. No one showed me that is what you do. When my Reiki Master and I were working on a patient, I would say, what area should I treat, how long do I stay there, etc. and she told me to rely on myself for the answers. Some other things we more cut and dried, like how to hold the hands to transfer the maximum amount of energy.

    Just for giggles, when friends come over I sometimes ask them if I can do a quick scan of their bodies while they're stranding up. I just move my hands up and down all sides of the body. Whatever location my hands start to vibrate is where the pain is and I confirm it with my friend. Then I offer them Reiki, so since I am effective at sending Reiki by distance, I initiate the treatment, then we just sit back and have a chat as two people normally would, both of sitting on the couch having a conversation with my hands in my lap.

    Reiki energy does not use any of the healer's energy at all, so the healer is insulated from energy depletion and isn't using up any of their own chi. The energy is drawn from the universe.

    I liked how he mentioned that the intent of the healer was very important, whether the needle gets jabbed in with no care for the patient or put in with love. In my work as a Medical Technologist I was an exceptional phlebotomist and people would ask for me if they were "regulars." I've seen experienced techs essentially jabbing people. I always exhaled as I placed the needle so that my body was relaxed. No one ever taught me that either.
     
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  7. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Sorry but I don't have time to read all the above posts, but thank you for taking the trouble to post them, @CFS_for_19_years.

    I don't dispute the fact that acupuncture can relieve symptoms in both humans and other animals. Do any rigorous studies (i.e. double-blinded, controlled, good-size cohorts, good stats, etc.) show cures for conditions with multisystemic dysfunctions, or even clearly-defined physical entities such as cancer?
     
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  8. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    In my experience, and that of most people I know, conventional doctors are very inconsistent in their diagnoses. I found the same when looking at the diagnosis of dementia for one of my Master's projects. The doctors and scientists could not agree - even on post-mortem brains - which type of dementia a patient had had or even whether they had had dementia at all!

    So the consistency you cite is extraordinary.
     
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  9. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    It's the release of endorphins that may make acupuncture helpful for some and hasn't anything to do with the mythical "chi". There have been studies where patients have received acupuncture using the chi meridians and a control group treatment where the needles are placed randomly and there is no difference. I will come back and cite these studies when I find them.

    This is why people who are cutters are so difficult to treat. Cutting releases a lot more endorphins than acupuncture but works on the same principle.

    In the meantime, believing acupuncture will cure this percentage of me/cfs/fm based on shoddy research uand not used as an adjunct therapy that may help some patients get a bit of short term relief, only sidetracks research ilooking into real treatments that will help us.

    Barb
     
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  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    And unknown to Eastern medicine as well, because merely labeling this acupuncture mechanism as "chi" does not identify or explain the mechanism. It's only a label.

    Worse still, labeling this mechanism as chi is a logical non sequitur, because chi is an pre-existing theoretical and philosophical concept, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the mechanism(s) at work in acupuncture is any way related to this theoretical concept of chi.

    So it is completely wrong for acupuncturists to assume without any evidence that the analgesic mechanism of acupuncture is based on chi. This is a fundamental conceptual and logical flaw in the Chinese theory of acupuncture.

    The reasons given above are a very good reasons why acupuncturists should drop the concept of chi. If anything, using this concept of chi will muddle and obfuscate the search for the actual mechanism or mechanisms of acupuncture.

    Using the term chi gives the illusion that acupuncturists have the explanation of how acupuncture works, but in fact chi is just an empty label, that holds no explanation and provides no mechanism. It's a dud.



    Regarding the concept of meridians and specific acupuncture points: this review paper suggests that these may not hold up to scientific scrutiny, as sham needle placement acupuncture (where the needles are inserted in places other than the proper acupuncture points) may be as efficacious as true acupuncture.

    Though this fMRI study found that different acupoints on the same meridian may activate similar areas of the brain, suggesting that the are some sort of channels on the skin. However, this may be due to nothing more mysterious than different nerve branches issuing from the spinal column and enervating different zones of the skin.



    Regarding the following text that you quoted, @zzz, from this 2013 study:
    I am perplexed at why the authors of that review on acupuncture for chronic pain have not even mentioned the fact that electro-acupuncture raises endorphins and raises substance P, both of which are potent pain relieving factors. I saw papers published as early as the 1970s that suggested endorphin release was the likely mechanism of pain relief afforded by acupuncture.

    Though I have been unable to find any studies that detected a release of endorphins or substance P from regular acupuncture, so I am not entirely sure what the status of regular acupuncture is regarding these pain relieving substances.

    But if endorphins and substance P are the mechanisms by which acupuncture relieves pain, there are indeed known mechanisms that explain the analgesic effects.
     
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  11. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    Direct demonstration of chi:



    This was taken from the 1993 Bill Moyers PBS documentary "The Mystery of Chi", full-length version here:

     
  12. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    The limitations of technology:

    We live in a world where we want thinks proven by meters, MRIs, scans, chemical analysis, etc.

    Let's pretend for the moment that we live in a time before electricity existed. We are sitting around sipping some tea when we notice that someone's child is repeatedly hitting his younger sister. Someone comments, "What a brat!" A guest says, "Perhaps we should dig out that brattiness meter just to be sure; has Edison invented that yet?" "Splendid idea, let's give him a visit."

    We visit Edison and he turns us away, saying, "Sorry, I have yet to even invent the lightbulb, let alone a brattiness meter - let me have a look at the boy." Edison observes the child and confirms that in his mind, he is indeed a brat. The guests leave, muttering something like...."we'll have to postpone judgment until we can actually measure this, as it would be unkind to place a label like this on such a lively little man." His little sister runs away from home to go live with Edison. She's not going to wait for the invention of a brattiness meter; in the meantime, the cat is having second thoughts too.

    Moral of the story: you can wait for a meter to be invented that will measure chi and show you meridians all nicely lit up on a human scan OR, perhaps, by direct observation you can make some judgments on your own. Western Medicine is in denial of the mind/body connection, as much as they try to pander to it.

    I'll post this link again to direct observation of chi. If you think it's all rubbish, then that's as far as your mind is going to take you:

     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  13. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    @zzz As I was reading your post I had that very example in mind. I heard it in a Jack Kornfield talk. What the quote fails to mention is that the Tibetan doctor sat quietly feeling the pulse for half an hour. Just sitting and feeling. Amazing.

    I have heard other examples in the book Hotel on the Roof of the World: 5 Years in Tibet. After sampling a patient's pulse the doctor said he had serious issues with his spleen. As it turned out the patient had had his spleen removed after a traffic accident. His wife had a similar amazing diagnosis. The person relating the story - the author of the book - said prior to witnessing this (he was there to translate) he was utterly sceptical, but was completely converted afterwards.

    Unfortunately he also says that the institution where this is taught in Lhasa was torn down by the Chinese after their occupation of Tibet.
     
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  14. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I wonder if that book is anything like the famous book called The Third Eye. The Third Eye was a highly influential book, written by a Tibetan monk named Lobsang Rampa.

    In this book The Third Eye, it described a Tibetan technique in which a thin slither of wood is carefully inserted through the forehead and into the brain, so that this slither penetrates into the third eye area of the brain, and activates the latent psychic and clairvoyant powers in that individual. Once their third eye was opened, these individuals would then become assistants in the Dalai Lama's court. The book by Lobsang Rampa became a bestseller, and influenced many people in the West.

    However, when some investigations were made, it turned out that this book was not written by a Tibetan monk at all, but rather by a man named Cyril Henry Hoskin, from Devon in the UK. Hoskin later admitted he fabricated the whole story.

    So when you read apparently incredible stories in a book on someone has written on Tibet, they may not in fact be incredible, but just incredulous.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
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  15. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    i read one of the books by losbang rampa. good read. although he claimed it was all true;;the devices these advanced beings put on him etc, i never for one moment thought it was anything but fictional.
     
  16. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Whilst that is a truly fascinating story, literally the only connection is Tibet.

    Well since we're telling stories about Tibet: Did you know that in Tibet they chop their dead up and feed them to vultures? It is called a 'sky burial', and works wonders in such a cold, dry climate where rot might not necessarily set in.
     
  17. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Oh and books, both of our replies mentioned a book. Books + Tibet = fiction. Got it.
     
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  18. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    i think this is interesting. The structure and function of the Chakras
    [​IMG]
    A case study of how a clairvoyant perceives a patient's chakras and their correlation with the body.

    its been a while since i watched this but, if my memory is serving me, she is discussing with a neuro surgeon with the intention of using clairvoyant sight to view a chakra and then iindicate what is physically wrong, in western terms.
    http://www.theosophicalinstitute.or...7C1920E7#AD52ADB1-BB8E-425D-8945-6C277C1920E7
    hope thats not too much ot




    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  19. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

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    I have to agree. I didn't believe in anything about acupuncture and resisted the suggestion of going when my mother had a small amount of relief for her fibro. I was beyond skeptical, I was dismissive of the possibility.

    I've since learned that there is more to it than I could possibly understand.

    After several more 'encourages' from my Integrative MD, I decided to try it. One of the pain problems I've had in the past was sudden severe pressure (like a broomstick handle) struck to the middle of my back. Regular doctors spent years telling me it was nothing. Then telling me they found pluerosy (when it was at it's worst)... and another year passed (in agony) before I had to have my gall bladder out. Suddenly the pain was gone (funny that). It's rare, but not that uncommon to have pain in your center back as a symptom of a gall bladder attack (too bad no one thought of that during the four years I suffered from that one symptom). So imagine my upset when it started to come back.

    Told the story to the acupuncturist and got told (not that I believed her at the time) that the gall bladder (gone or not) chi lines are still causing the feedback of pain. And that she could treat it (not that I believed her at the time).

    First treatment, pain was gone for two weeks. Had a second treatment two weeks later, and I'm still back-pain free after four months.

    Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean that there isn't something that it does. And I cannot explain it away by talking about endorphins.

    THOUGH, talking about endorphins. I've always been someone who enjoyed the endorphins response from exercise. AND this condition stole that from me. The first time I got acupuncture (sadly only the first time)... about 24 hours after treatment I got hit by this tidal wave of endorphins. It's almost like my body had been making endorphins all along, but storing them up instead of letting them go through my system. Upon my treatment - the eight years of endorphins all dammed up, got released. I felt AMAZING. When I woke up, I didn't feel that bone-deep exhuastion. I had energy. I was a good girl and didn't over do it, but I did do some things I'd really REALLY wanted to do but just couldn't get to. That night when I layed down to go to sleep I felt the good kind of tired and slept really well. The next day I woke up feeling well-rested, but not ENERGETIC (and I know you guys know what I mean)... but mostly normal. Sadly by the next day, I was back to feeling pretty crappy. And even more sadly, recurrent treatments haven't had the same results. I still enjoy the treatments and am hoping they are doing some slow healing... but I do plan on sharing the studies posted in this thread with my acupuncturist. If there are things that can at least minimize the symptoms? I'll settle for that while we keep hoping for a true cure.
     
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  20. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    I met a woman on another mecfs forum who'd had her gall bladder removed. The chinese meridian clock has the gall bladder's high/repair phase at 11p.m.-1a.m. I guessed she would probably be quite hyper at this time and after checking her post history (chinese medicine geek!), nigh on half of all her posts were at that time. Many times like that their system has shown me how accurate it can be. I said to her at the time that, energetically speaking (meridian line), she still kinda has a gall bladder and it can still be treated, in a way...it may have worked for her like it did for you.
     
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