Two writings by Jacques Lavier are reported in this post:
- The first is taken from 1962 Wu Wei Ping’s book “Chinese Medicine” where Lavier describes Wu Wei Ping’s idea of transmission of energy. Although Wu Wei Ping never wrote about this topic Lavier (who is the translator of the book from Chinese) reports Wu Wei Ping’s oral teachings.
- The second, taken from 1966 Lavier’s book “Historie, doctrine et pratique de l’acupuncture Chinoise” has not been translated into English: what you will read here is my translation from the Italian version translated by Gian Luigi Biagioni.
As you will notice in his book Lavier disregards the transmission along the Ke cycle from Yang to Yin and Yin to Yang (as described by Wu Wei Ping) and describes some aspects of what is known nowadays as 5 element acupuncture (then transmitted by Worsley). Conversely, Wu Wei Ping’s modality of Qi transmission shows several commonalities with Van Buren‘s teachings: it is evident, in fact, that the organs involved in the Ke cycle (i.e. GB/Sp SI/Lu BL/Ht St/Ki) share the same great movement in the Wu Yun Liu Qi theory depicted in the Su Wen. It is also interesting to notice how Wu Wei Ping uses the Luo points of the channel in deficiency to attract the Qi from its paired channel when it is in excess (the modern idea of Luo points implies that they can be used to move excess towards the paired channel). I hope you will enjoy the reading.
Wu wei Ping
[…] According to the teaching of Wu Wei-P’ing it is the Yin which subjects the Yang and the Yang which subjects the Yin in the Ke cycle […] The stomach (Yang) subjects the kidneys (Yin); inversely, the kidneys (Yin) subject the bladder (Yang). The study of the two cycles of Sheng and Ke is of extreme importance to the development of the therapy.
In the treatment of a deﬁcient organ, it is most important to locate the concomitant excess which exists in another organ. The excess is then shifted to the organ which is deﬁcient. In order to illustrate the theory, we shall give a precise example; let us assume that a deﬁciency of energy exists in the spleen. The entire treatment now depends upon locating the concomitant excess of energy, and shifting it to the spleen.
- If the excess is discovered in the stomach the disequilibrium would not be between the elements, but would be conﬁned to the element Earth alone. It is only necessary to pique (TN: needle) the Luo point of the spleen, Gong Sun, 4-SP, to allow the excess of energy in the stomach to drain into the deﬁcient spleen. The equilibrium is reestablished by means of the conjunctive channels.
- Suppose that the excess is discovered in the Heart or heart-constrictor; in other words, it is located in the element Fire which, in this case, is the mother. A piqure (TN: needling) must be made at the point of Fire on the Meridian of the spleen. This is the Yong point Da Du 2-SP. Here the equilibrium is re-established by the Sheng cycle, and this demonstrates the use of a point of “toniﬁcation”.
- If the excess is located in the Gall-Bladder in the element Wood, the Jing-well point of the spleen, Yin Bai 1-SP must be piqued so that the equilibrium is re-established by the Ke cycle from Yang to Yin.
- But an excess in the element Wood could also exist in the Liver; in this case, a piqure at the point of Wood in the Meridian of the spleen would be without effect. It is necessary to add another needle at the Luo point of the gall-bladder, Guang Ming 37-GB, in order that the excess from the Meridian of the liver pass there on its way to the spleen by the Ke cycle. The phenomenon here is a little complex. The gall-bladder in this example would tend to transmit its energy to the spleen when the spleen was piqued at the Wood point. This gentle priming would draw the excess energy from the liver through the conjunctive channel. Therefore, the Wood point of the spleen must be piqued first; following that, the Luo point of the gall-bladder must be piqued. If the Luo point was piqued ﬁrst, it would bring about no modiﬁcation because the gall-bladder is in a normal condition as far as the energy is concerned. The piqurc of Yin Bai 1-SP is the deciding factor here because it entices the spleen to submit to the gall-bladder.
Actually these circumstances rarely present in such an easy or clear manner, because the “law of the transmission of deﬁciencies“ may intervene.
It is easy to verify that the body has not been invaded by an evil energy using the study of the pulses; in fact, the rhythms of the organism would be in accordance with the rhythms of the environment. In case of disharmony, few needles carefully chosen will re-establish the balance and the result would be easily verifiable by retaking the pulses. Let’s suppose that a patient comes for a consultation in winter. He is apparently in good health as confirmed by the clinical examination and the preliminary interview. We know that in winter pulses should be “relatively” as follow:
- Wood (Gan): average and slightly tense (awakening)
- Fire (Xin): small and depressed (eclipse)
- Earth (Pi): average and well beaten (neutral)
- Metal (Fei): average and depressed (getting asleep)
- Water (Shen): ample/large and overflowing (maximum)
Moreover, all these pulses should be Chen “deep”, which is a typical feature of winter pulses. Our patient presents instead the following pulses:
- Wood (Gan): small and depressed (abnormal)
- Fire (Xin): small and depressed (normal)
- Earth (Pi): average and well beaten (normal)
- Metal (Fei): ample/large and overflowing (abnormal)
- Water (Shen): small and depressed (abnormal)
Although all the pulses are still “deep” in accordance with the winter feature there is an imbalance among three of them (Gan-Liv, Fei-Lu, Shen-Ki). The energetic imbalance can be explained as follow: As we are in winter the Water should be at its maximum. On the contrary, it is deficient: it has not been “nourished by its mother” the Metal which in turn should get asleep and instead has conserved all its energy. As a consequence of the Water deficiency the Wood, “its child”, is not nourished and instead of awakening remains eclipsed as it was autumn. Facing this scenario an acupuncturist can act to re-establish the balance. On the Jing (channel) Shen (Ki) – Water is deficient – the acupuncturist will chose the point belonging to Metal (Ki7) and will apply the needle in tonification/bu. This action will stimulate Shen (Ki), because we are on its jing recalling energy from its mother (the Metal) as we are using its metal point. In the majority of the cases the pulses, changing instantly, will show that the Sheng cycle has been re-established: Shen (Ki) has been filled up while Fei (Lu) empties and Gan (Liv) awakes. However, sometimes the pulses do not respond to this first intervention because the imbalance is too relevant. Having prepared the way for the energy by puncturing the metal point of the jing Shen (Ki7) we will expel the Metal energy towards the Water puncturing in sedation (xie) the Water point on the jing Fei (Lu5). After this intervention the balance is always re-established. It is paramount to note that sedation technique must never be performed first. Treatments must never start with sedation manoeuvres which reject the energy of the jing and consequently of the element but not necessarily towards the “child” if the way has not be prepared. It is advisable to start with replenish the deficiency which calls for the energy of the “mother” instead that draining the excess which not always would go towards the “child”. After this intervention we should check if the awakening of the Wood takes place. If it does happen we do not do anything else otherwise we will encourage by tonifying (bu) the jing gan on its Water point (Liv8) and, only if necessary, sedating (Xie) the Jing Shen on its Wood point (Ki1). Usually, tonification is performed preferably on the left (yang) and sedation on the right (yin). The patient will be visited again during the next season to be sure that the energy is now flowing according to the normal seasons’ change. If this is not the case a new regulatory intervention will be required. Our example was simple; the Ke cycle takes place too. It is not only a cycle of transmission of morbid/evil energy but also a normal energy transmission cycle happening at every heart pulsation: it is following this cycle that the superficial energy “re-charges” at the end of the circuit (ZuJing) reappearing in the next circuit with a new potential (ShouJing). As it happens for the Sheng Cycle blockages can affect the Ke cycle too. Let’s imagine that a patient presents in summer with the following pulses
- Wood (Gan): average and depressed (getting asleep)
- Fire (Xin): ample/large and overflowing (maximum)
- Earth (Pi): average, with a good tone (neutral)
- Water (Shen): small and depressed (eclipse)
and that associated with Fei (Metal) is small and depressed. We cannot say that the “mother” has not nourished the “son” by holding back its energy; in fact, the Earth (Pi) is normal. Such imbalance is due to the absence of energy transmission from Fire to Metal on the Ke Cycle. Using the same principle applied before will we will first tonify (Bu) the Jing Fei on its Fire point (Lu10) – to recall the fire energy into the metal – and then, if necessary, we will sedate (Xie) the Jing Xin on its metal point (Ht4) – to expel the fire energy into the metal. In this case of regulation of the Ke cycle it is evident that first and foremost we need to get rid of the evil energies, if present, in order to avoid their transmission along the cycle with the risk to affect the Sheng cycle too. This possibility could have serious consequences since the mother would nourish its son with a vicious energy.
(Historie, doctrine et pratique de l’acupuncture Chinoise from page 184 to 188)
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