By: Josh Ellis
Q: What inspired you to get into Acupuncture?
A:I went to an Acupuncturist years ago for a digestive problem, and it was really effective. The philosophy is quite interesting and ties into many areas of life; it’s a certain way of living, I guess. As a system of treatment, it utilizes incredibly logical basic principles.
Q: Can you give a little information on Acupuncture?
A: There are essentially two fundamental systems in the human body that determine overall function: the circulatory system and the organ system. Many body systems fit under these categories; for example, the nervous system and the glandular system are closely linked to the organ system. If adequate circulation of nutrients, hormones and oxygen in the bloodstream reach all of the organs and the blood vessels, health prevails. If that same circulation is inadequate into any one of the organs or any other body tissue, breakdowns occur.
There are five main branches of Chinese Medicine outlined by physicians thousands of years ago. If one were to use all five branches from birth onward, it gives the best chance live to 120 years old (which is how long the body is designed to live).
The first branch is called “Right Thinking,” which in my viewpoint and the research that I’ve done into it would include basically doing things that calm the mind. Things like meditation and exercise fit into this branch of the medicine. It appears to me that a spiritual practice probably fits into that category. I think these ancient physicians were suggesting specific activities that would help one, under the stresses of daily living, to keep one’s head screwed on straight, so to speak!
Moving the body apparently causes certain physical effects and that’s a positive thing unless the person has a health condition that prevents the activity. That’s the first branch and then the [other five branches are] nutrition, acupuncture, herbs, and massage.
Q: What would you like for every asthma and allergy sufferer to know
A: There’s this odd Western Medical logic which has been fed to us that is quite inaccurate in terms of what truly goes on with the lung system under the influence of a pathogenic attack.
When it comes down it, the body is a little bit like a puzzle. Fluids do strange things in bodies when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to. When there are problems with fluid metabolism or fluid distribution, those fluids can go “bad” and do all kinds of strange things. If the body has great fluid metabolism and great fluid distribution, one has a greater chance of being healthy. What I would want every person who has had experiences with asthma and/or allergies to know is that 95% of the time it’s due to an internal fluid imbalance.
Now, obviously there are circumstances where the body would become overwhelmed, by an outside influence in a home [which] you would have to eliminate as an outside factor. They are called “pathogenic climatic factors” in Chinese medicine. Example: you go into a house and there is black mold…it’s a really nasty thing and nobody’s immune system would be able to effectively fight it for long. Some people with weaker immune systems would walk within 20 feet of the house and have an allergy attack due to fluids going “berzerk.”
There is a concept in Chinese sounding like a poem that makes perfect sense. The English translation: ‘When the spleen malfunctions, it may cause fluids to accumulate in the body. When the lungs malfunction, they will take on those fluids.’ The spleen and pancreas produce fluids if they’re not working well; those fluids will “float” upwards toward the lungs; and the lungs become the “container” of those fluids. Those fluids may accumulate and upon breathing in, the air is trying to get through into the capillaries through the alveoli (small sacs at the ends of the lungs). That leads to a spasm, in this case, the cough or the wheeze depending on the form of asthma, but it is fluid-based 98% of the time.
It just makes 100% logical sense when you treat a patient as an Acupuncturist: you get rid of the fluids and the asthma goes away. People [think] there’s some electrical misfiring or something in their lungs, which is a limited viewpoint, evidenced by the problem persisting when you treat the “electrical misfiring” with pharmaceuticals.
Although the medicine may seem complex, Chinese Medicine is truly simple to understand if you adopt logical basic concepts regarding the simplicity and reality of the body. There are certain logical events in the body that occur with a lack of function, causing allergies and asthma.
Conversely, Western Medicine is largely based on what is known as “Cartesian” thought. In 16th Century France, DeCarte observed a clock tower. He looked at the gears in this huge clock tower and he made one jump in logic, which was hypothetical, but the western world changed forever as a result. He decided, “What goes on in this clock tower is what must occur in the natural world.” Then he made another jump which changed medicine forever: “The human body, being a part of the natural world, must be just like a clock tower. When a gear is broken, you remove and replace it (surgery); if it makes noise, you lubricate it (medication). These are basic principles in Western Medicine and, for that matter, Western science, which has gotten us to the moon; quite amazing. When you try to apply those Cartesian principles to an organism like the human body, being unlike a clock tower or an automobile or any machine in many ways, they don’t fit so perfectly.
Q: Are you aware of an association between Autumn Allergies and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
A: There’s a foundation philosophy in Chinese Medicine we utilize in the clinic. The first etchings of Chinese Medicine (incidentally, found on the inside of a tortoise shell in an excavated tomb) go back 3500 years. These etchings were on a higher order of logic; they actually described disease patterns found in the body, which is evidence there existed in China a comprehensive understanding about the human body that goes back over 3000 years.
Without getting too complex, a so-called Five Element theory views relationships between organ systems and the human body and that the organs actually have an interactive process. As an example, the liver nourishes heart function similar to a mother nourishing her child. In many cases of high blood pressure, it has less to do with the heart and more to do with liver malfunction.
In Five Element theory, each well-functioning organ may either excel in specific seasons of the year or struggle if that organ is weak. People that tend towards low lung function tend towards problems in the fall because that specific season relates to the lungs in this paradigm. It makes sense because in fall, the air becomes drier. There’s less humidity and barometric pressures change and oxygen levels change, and the lungs are one way our bodies interact with that change. If a person generally experiences more symptoms of any kind in the fall or generally dislike fall, it may be because the lungs aren’t working as well as possible. Whereas someone with really incredible lung function, finds it to be their best season.
Other examples of organ connections to the seasons: the liver relates to spring, the heart relates to summer, the kidneys relate to winter, and the spleen relates to late summer (also known as “Indian Summer”).
In regards to emotional changes with the season, we often have people come in and say, “I’m depressed.”
We ask, “Okay, tell me about it.”
They may often reply, “Well, my doctor told me I’m depressed when I told him what I experienced.”
We ask, “What do you mean?” and they say “I cry all the time.”
Now let’s look up the word depression in the dictionary. If you look it up, it comes from ‘depress,’ which is ‘to feel pressed down upon.’ There is one case that accurately explains and describes depression, which is somebody on a couch, can’t get up. They feel like they are “being pressed down upon,” That’s depression. Any other thing that they experience is a different emotion, but it’s all being classified together in error to get Prozac and such class medications to them.
There are a lot of examples that I can give but people with problems with lung function tend towards sadness and crying and when you think about it, it makes sense: a person crying sobs, gasping for air…lungs in action, right?
That emotion of angering easily, being impatient, or feeling abnormally irritable is a liver problem. What the Chinese discovered is that different organs relate to different emotions.
Is the sadness or depression connected to the allergies or are those emotions a separate issue? It could be due to the lungs not working well; the sadness–which isn’t depression–and the allergies may both be symptoms of the same root.
There exists a philosophy in Japanese medicine, known as “Root and Branch Theory of Disease” wherein the underlying cause (root) of the problem may yield many symptoms (branches). The sadness and allergies may both be caused by a breakdown in lung function, interestingly enough. In contrast, Western medicine views the allergies as a “disease,” when, in fact, the allergies are just symptoms.
People often say, “I was born with asthma.” Okay, that means the person was born with a specific symptoms which are unique to him/her, and in certain situations he/she cough (which is trouble with exhalation) or wheeze (which is trouble upon inhalation), and a lot of people have one or the other and not both, but it is still called asthma. In Chinese medicine, you would call it “Chuan” (coughing) or “Xiao” (wheezing) and it’s a totally different treatment regimen depending on the kind of asthma because the two have different causes.
Q: Is there a final message you would like to give allergy and asthma sufferers?
A: People with high level function don’t have symptoms. People with function below 40% of normal in any of the body’s systems will exhibit symptoms in that particular area. Symptoms do not occur if you are above 40% of normal in that system. [So] get the body’s function at least above 40% and as close to 100% as possible and then health problems don’t occur.
It certainly is possible that one could encounter pathogens that would overpower anyone’s function. My mom bought a house 2 ½ years ago in her ideal environment, however in a flood plain with a massive mold problem. She had to gut everything. Anybody that walks into that house, if they spend more than probably a week, would’ve started having health problems no matter how healthy they were.
We’re talking about degree, but within normal limits of human experience, if you have high function then you don’t have symptoms.
You do whatever it takes to get the body’s function as high as humanly possible. There are the five branches of Chinese Medicine above that allow one to regain function when and if lost.
Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.