In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), energy flow channels called meridians are found through the body and on its surface. When there is stagnation or blockage of energy flow, it causes both painful and non-painful medical conditions which TCM attributes to Yin-Yang imbalance. Scientific researchers discovered that there are neurovascular complexes (arteriole, venule, nerve fibre, lymphatic vessel) within these acupuncture points throughout the body, auricle and scalp that link to various regions of the body through spinothalamic and reticular systems.
By needling the acupuncture points, a plausible explanation is that of eliciting neural responses through neuro-transmission of A delta and C nerve fibres to the relay Thalamus, which in turn will influence the Central Nervous System to perform auto (up or down) regulation of neuroreceptors to re-establish homeostasis. TCM claims that the mechanism of self adjustment to be tonification when in a deficent state, and sedation when in an excessive state of body function. Acupuncture can help to re-establish regular flow of energy through the meridians in order to correct imbalance of musculoskeletal dysfunction or internal organ function.
Acupuncture is generally recognized to have originated in China more than two thousand years ago. It is now practiced as an alternative medical treatment in more than 130 countries worldwide. It is estimated that about 3 million Americans are receiving acupuncture treatment annually.
There are different ways to perform acupuncture, namely body acupuncture (proximal Ashi points or distal Balance points), auricular and scalp acupuncture which can achieve similiar efficacy in these treatment modalities.
The Balance Method (dynamic and static) of Dr. Richard Tan is a system of acupuncture selection points based on principles from classic Chinese texts Yi Jing (The Book of Changes) and Nei Jing (the first Chinese Internal Medicine book). Each of the body organs and corresponding meridian channels are connected to others through a complex matrix network of inter-relationship of what is called Yin-Yang balance.
Ever since Dr. Tsun Nin Lee postulated his Thalamic Neuron Theory in 1977, advances in functional neuro-imaging techniques such as PET and fMRI have made it possible to study a wide spectrum of neuro-anatomical and neuro-physiological responses associated with acupuncture needle stimulation.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The National Center for Complimentary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) have reported studies using fMRI to demonstrate both activation pattern in the sensorimotor cortical network which exerts its analgesic effect and deactivation (decrease in regional blood-oxygen signal) in the limbic-paralimbic-neo-cortical network which controls affective and cognitive processing.
It will be interesting to use these advanced neuro-imaging techniques to illustrate the ancient acupuncture treatment strategy of Ba Gua balance method, by utilizing acupuncture points of increasing energy from Jing Well to He Sea according to the Yao charts. Then the myth of Eastern medicine will be alleviated and benefit our health care system in an assertive way.
Dr. Paul Nogier, a French neurologist pioneered ear acupuncture in the 1950's. He used an old Chinese chart to develop an anatomical body structure map which simulated an inverted human body within the auricles.
His son, Dr. Raphael Nogier later advanced this technique based on the reflexive properties inherent in the rich and complex innervation (nerve supply) of the auricle of the ear. It provides an effective modality for relief of pain and other functional problems associated with medical conditions.
For Health Care Professionals: The following illustrations are derived from Dr. Richard Tan's Basic Balance Systems. The information is intended to enhance the educational and reference purposes of informed readers.
System 1: The grouping of the 12 channels ( other than Du and Ren) into 2 sets of six channel pairings of trigrams in opposite positions is the guiding principle from Nei Jing for Yin-Yang balance of Meridians of same name sharing.
Trigram 2 LI-LU balances Trigram 7 ST-SP, Hand Yang Ming LI balances Foot Yang Ming ST, Hand Tai Yin LU balances Foot Tai Yin SP
Trigram 3 SI- HT balances Trigram 6 UB- KI Hand Tai Yang SI balances Foot Tai Yang UB, Hand Shao Yin HT balances Foot Shao Yin KI
Trigram 4 SJ-PC balances Trigram 5 GB-LV Hand Shao Yang SJ balances Foot Shao Yang GB, Hand Jue Yin PC balances Foot Jue Yin LV
System 2: demonstrates the balancing of Bie-Jing branching meridians as in two pairing trigrams
Hand Jue Yin balances Foot Yang Ming and Foot Jue Yin balances Hand Yang Ming
Hand Shao Yin balances Foot Shao Yang and Foot Shao Yin balances Hand Shao Yang
Hand Tai Yin balances Foot Tai Yang and Foot Tai Yin balances Hand Tai Yang
System 3: This is the only system where Hand meridians pair with Hand meridians and Foot meridians pairs with Foot meridian but maintains Yin-Yang balance according to their anatomical relationship. Please refer to diagram for the corresponding channels for treatment and balancing. Contralateral side is being treated.
System 4: The daily Meridian Clock serves as an imaging system of the human body where Yin-Yang balance can be acheived by treating meridians that are distal and opposite each other according to Ba Gua principle. The flow of Qi energy creates a twelve hour difference between the clock pairs. Several pairs within this system overlap with System 2 and either side can be needled.
System 5: The Meridian Clock can also be used to pair meridians that are adjacent to each other as shown in the diagram. Therefore, Hand meridians are paired with Foot meridians and Yin meridians balances Yin meridians and Yang meridians balances Yang meridians.