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what is Classical Chinese Medicine?
Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) is a term used to differentiate its practice from that of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
TCM is the term used to refer to the modern form of medical acupuncture and herbal pharmacology currently practiced in mainland China and taught in many acupuncture colleges in North America & Europe.
CCM refers to the original system of medicine first presented in the Daoist alchemical and early Classical medical texts, notably the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine) during the Han Dynasty (circa 206BCE-220CE). This work is composed of two texts, the Suwen (simple questions) & LingShu (Spiritual pivot). The former text sets down the theoretical and the Lingshu discusses acupuncture in great depth.
CCM was the system of Chinese medicine practiced in ancient China. Acupuncture forms the keystone of this system of medicine. This system however also includes a variety of other treatment methods such as massage, breath practices, moxibustion, herbal remedies, use of gemstones, meditation, early forms of aromatherapy, food energetics (diet) and exercise (neigong/qigong).
What is Classical Chinese Acupuncture?
The philosophical principles that gave rise to acupuncture was originally drawn from the Yì Jīng, which is often translated as the Book of Changes. It is an ancient mathematical method for observing the fundamental principles of natural workings. From this the later 'Classics' were written.
The system of acupuncture first appeared in the Classical text called the Nei Jing Ling Shu during the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD). This text later came to be known as the Zhen Jing or "Treatise of Acupuncture" and is considered to be the foundational acupuncture text.
Classical acupuncture draws deeply from the guiding principles laid out in the Nei Jing Ling Shu and later refined during the Northern Song dynasty (960 – 1279). This text illuminates acupuncture as a highly evolved and complete system of medicine. To fully appreciate and access this system of medicine the Ling Shu and by implication, the acupuncture channels, must be fully understood.
Acupuncture continues to be enhanced by the interpretation of the texts by master physicians and scholars who are proponents of this method such as Dr Jeffrey Yuen.
What are acupuncture channels/meridians?
"Meridians are simply roadmaps. They deal with the highways of life, and included in that highway is the way in which we are conducting our lives, in a physiological, as well as pathological fashion.”
So the acupuncture channels can be viewed as 'roadmaps' of external, internal and constitutional aspects of our life. They reflect the physiology, pathology and the transformative aspects of earthly life.
Everything in the known world systems is subject to change; implicit to this is movement. Acupuncture channels convey movement. This movement of energy is termed Qi.
In health there is smooth and purposeful flow of Qi through all the layers of our mind and body. This harmonious flow connects us to the myriad of interrelated processes within ourselves, our environment and other living beings. So from this viewpoint all illness represents a dysfunction in the physiology or movement of Qi, a disconnection and isolation from the flow of Life.
Thus true health, like Qi, is not a place or destination, rather it is a state of meaningful adaptation to change, of flow. We can say that Qi is always seeking or moving towards health and wellbeing because it is always seeking to flow smoothly and purposefully.
what does classical acupuncture treat?
Ann Cecil-Sterman has beautifully summarised the power and potency of these acupuncture channels and conditions that they can treat. Please click here
How does acupuncture work?
Through accessing the channel system we can influence the movement Qi that flows throughout the body. Qi conducts the unfolding of life as well as co-ordinates daily life-maintaining processes. This creates a deeper awareness of the body-mind connection and thus reminds the person of a state of wholeness and connection, a state of wellbeing. This can induce a deep state of relaxation, connection and insights from which the person can become well again.
What happens during a treatment session?
During a Classical Acupuncture treatment session, attention is paid to needle technique (the manner of insertion and manipulation of each needle), which differ for each channel system and the level of effect required.