Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oriental Medicine and Biorhythms


We all know something about biorhythms. Basically, a biorhythm is an internal clock that regulates our bodies in relation to the daily positions of the sun, and the monthly positions of the moon. This can be seen in the time it takes our bodies to adjust to small changes, such as the changes of daylight savings time, or in large changes, such as jet lag. Our understanding of and interest in biorhythms has been recent, within the last thirty or forty years.

The ancient Chinese observed this connection between our bodies and the planets many centuries ago, and use it intheir practice of acupuncture. They list a number of different biorhythms, from the normal twenty four hour cycle up through longer several day periods. All of these are used to follow and influence fluctuations in body energy. In acupuncture, this energy circulates through each part of the body throughout the day, each organ having a two hour time for maximum energy and a time for minimum energy.

For example, the major organs have their maximum energy in the following order: first the liver, then the lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, etc., in sequence, for all of the twelve major organs. This order was discovered by years of observing the times of day that the disorders of the various organs displayed their worst symptoms. The acupuncture practitioner can use the times of a patient’s symptoms to help determine which organs and energy channels are affected, and also help select the favorable times to treat the patient. For example, many of the worst asthma attacks take place during the wee hours, which is the maximum energy period of the lungs.

The best time to treat these cases is at a time as close to this time as possible. In the science behind acupuncture, a symptom may be caused by too much energy at an organ, and other symptoms by an insufficient amount of energy. (The determination of which symptoms fall into which category has been catalogued over many centuries, and there are many books on acupuncture detailing these for each of the major organs.) The best time to treat a symptom associated with too much energy is during its maximum energy output, and a symptom with a deficiency in energy is just after the maximum output is over. Of course, it may not be possible to get to your practitioner at those particular times, and there are also other good choices at other times of the day.

In addition to the daily biorhythm, there are also ten day intervals associated with the moon, and so the acupuncture practitioner might strongly suggest that a particular day would be better for treatment than another, based on the particular symptoms reported. Each day of the ten days is associated with one of two aspects of the Qi energy, and also associated with one of five elements. Particular organs are associated with particular elements, and so stimulation of these organs will be more successful on those days associated with the correct element.

It is important for us to take note of the times our symptoms occur as well as what our symptoms are, for that is important information in our acupuncture treatment plan. And know that the time and dates for our treatments are an important part of how well the treatment works.

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