We who practice Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are always looking for two skill sets to enhance ourselves as practitioners. The first set is how to be a better practitioner, i.e. how to get better results for their patients and how to do so quickly and efficiently.
The second skill set we are looking for is simplicity and consistency. We want our treatments to work to the same degree of certainty every time and for every condition. Practitioners want something that can be learned easily and assimilated into our office routine seamlessly.
When I teach classes and seminars on advanced acupuncture techniques, I always ask attendees how they measure a class’s success. The answer is overwhelmingly “If I can take one new thing I learned in a class and put it into practice the next day in clinic; that is success”.
The Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture strongly delivers on all of the above.
The foundations of the Tidal Balance System are easy to learn and are explained in such a way that the system makes perfectly logical sense even to those not trained as professionals in Acupuncture.
Because of the pictographic relationship between the acupuncture points and the channels of energy that govern the health of the body, the Tidal Balance System makes a double impact on the readers left and right brain function. This double impact helps the logical left brain embrace and work comfortably with the creative right brain aspect. Learning is simplified and cognition is assured.
I have been studying the I Ching and Acupuncture since the mid-seventies. For fifteen years prior to my full immersion into professional acupuncture practice I worked in the field of graphic communication, both as graphic designer and teacher.
My work in graphic design taught me that ideas and images are the same thing. The power of the idea that is instilled in the image has double impact on the human psyche. My twenty-five + years in the healing arts have taught me that everything that impacts the psyche impacts the soma or body. The interrelationship is absolute.
The Tidal Balance Method of I Ching Acupuncture takes a unique look at the relationships between organs and channels, acupoints and images and combines them in a way that has a powerful and dynamic effect on both patient and practitioner.
Here is a brief list of the subjects and perspectives discussed in this powerful book:
- The fractal and holographic nature of I Ching symbology
- The relationship of I Ching symbology and Yin Yang theory
- The human body/mind is influenced by nature to a greater degree than we have previously understood.
- The visual representations of many things, especially I Ching symbols, contain the essence of the represented thing itself.
- The channels and vessels in the human body are governed by many factors that give them unique qualities and signatures.
- Acupuncture and other healing arts rely primarily on the balance of Yin and Yang
- Yin, Yang and the channels of the body are greatly influenced by;
- Time of day
- Days in a lunar month
- Phases of the moon
- Seasons of the year
- Years in the twelve year zodiacal cycle
- Individual I Ching symbols represent each of the channels and pathways of the body and can be altered to change the flow of energy in those channels
- There are twelve methods for converting the energy of the channels for positive effect using the Tidal Balance System
- Clinical case studies showing how the system works on actual patients
- A complete original translation of the entire I Ching as it pertains to the Tidal Balance System
With a basic knowledge of acupuncture and or channel theory, every practitioner can begin to utilize the Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture with immediate positive and long lasting results for their patients.
Non acupuncture therapists such as chiropractors and massage therapists, who are already trained in channel theory in their schooling, can take the ideas of this book and easily adapt them to their practices.
The Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture
I was first exposed to the so-called balance methods of acupuncture (also known as Daoist or ancient acupuncture) during training with my Chinese professors in Traditional Chinese Medicine College. The professors at that time considered these ‘ancient techniques’ as foundations of all modern acupuncture theory and unanimously praised the efficacy of those methods
Since the 1950’s modern acupuncture has had more of a reliance on the so called empirical points, i.e. the point Zu san li (ST36) is the He sea earth point of the foot Yangming channel and is represented by wind over mountain, hexagram Jian/development in the I Ching, and is most active from 07:00 – 09:00 in Daoist terms. While empirically ST 36 treats gastric pain, vomit, hiccup, abdominal distention, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, mastitis, enteritis, knee pian, beriberi, edema, cough, asthma, indigestion insomnia and mania. All of the above are correct but modern acupuncture places so much emphasis on the empirical aspect of the points, especially for national board examinations in the US that the Daoist methods, though taught in acupuncture colleges, are easily forgotten.
During the beginning of the new millennia the Acupuncture profession saw a resurgence of interest in balance method/Daoist acupuncture. I began to read books on, and attend seminars for, the new balance methods (the ancient methods reframed and renamed), and everything was pretty much as I had learned it back in TCM College with one exception:
When writers and lecturers discussed five phase theory and their versions of I Ching acupuncture, they seemed to have missed the mark completely. Part of this is understandable, attempts to blend the Five Phase Theory and I Ching Theory have gone on for millennia, and no one has been wholly successful in that endeavor. Partly because the attempts at consolidation are usually overlaying one theory over the other, and then adding or subtracting elements to make the unification work mathematically. The problem with the marriage of these two theories in part is simply because eight I Ching Symbols are not divisible by five phases either mathematical or metaphysically.
The problem confounded me every time I was exposed to it and eventually forced me back into my own long time study of the I Ching for the answer.
As a Chinese Herbalist I have always been perplexed with the discrepancy between certain acupuncture channel theories and herbal medicine’s view on the interrelation of the organs and channels. Some schools of acupuncture (notably, Five Element schools - but there are others), did not begin to teach herbal medicine until certain provinces made herbal medicine compulsory for licensure. Years ago a Vietnamese MD, the patriarch of one such school, told me personally “Herbal medicine is poison”. After his demise his school did eventually began teaching herbal medicine for the above compulsory reason.
After much study I eventually found some compatibility between Five Phase theory and the I Ching in what I have termed Functional Phase Theory.
The Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture takes a unique look at the relationships between organs and channels, and uses Functional Phase Theory as one of the basis for its approach to harmonizing the body. The Functional Phase Theory has the same practical logic, and is absolutely compatible with, Chinese herbal medical theory.
Another distinctive aspect of the Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture is that I have assigned absolute and logical correspondences between the Acupuncture Channels and the pictograms that make up the I Ching. Previous attempts by authors to relate the I Ching to Chinese medicine have been to randomly assign either disease categories or symptoms to the I Ching pictograms or, to overlay a chart of the I Ching pictograms onto a diagram of the body and call that correlative. These approaches are guesswork or speculation at best and do not come from the same kind of constructive logic that is applied to the Tidal Balance System.
That having been said, the interest in balance method/Daoist acupuncture styles continues to be on the increase in the US and abroad. The Tidal Balance System of I Ching Acupuncture creates a much needed and long sought after bridge to the understanding of the I Ching and the practice of acupuncture.
The Holographic Universe
For centuries the ancient Chinese shamans had been using the upper and lower shell of turtles to determine the outcome of future events, such as auspicious times to wed, when to conceive children, plant crops, as well as determining the cause of disease and its cure. During this period the shaman, who was both healer and sage, would place a shell (or the cleaned shoulder blade of an ox) into a fire and heat it until it cracked. Once the cracks appeared it was the insight of the shaman that led to the divination of the appropriate action to be taken or not taken to further a beneficial outcome. This methodology was already in place when Fu Xi discovered his own line relationships and their meaning.
Each Gua and Hexagram is, in essence, a graphic code that reflects variations in universal macrocosmic and microcosmic principles, influences, and relationships. Because these codes, in the form of symbols, have a close relationship with the events themselves, they are thought to be microcosmic reflections of associated macrocosmic events. The Gua and Hexagram are, in essence, a type of fractal or hologram.
A hologram is a three-dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser. An object, reflected by the light from two laser beams, is captured on film. When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated from the back by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.
The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose. Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image.
Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. The whole in every part nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. Similarly, everything that can be known about wind is found in the Gua image for wind, everything that can be known about water is found in the Gua image of water.
A Fractal is fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole (a property called self-similarity). Because fractals appear nearly identical at all levels of magnification, they are considered to be infinitely complex.
The nature of Yin and Yang is a fractal relationship. For instance, every subdivision of the Yin-Yang graphic is further subdivided into that same graphic to an infinite level.
Natural objects that approximate fractals include trees, ferns, clouds, mountain ranges, lightning bolts, coastlines, snowflakes and people. DNA is a fractal structure as are the Gua and Hexagrams.
Although holographic imagery and fractals are a fairly modern concept, similar concepts have been in existence elsewhere in the world for thousands of years.
In China, France, and Korea there exists a medical concept based on embryology called the homunculus. The homunculus is a microcosmic representation of the macrocosm of the body. Parts of the human body, such as the ear, hands, eyes, feet, and tongue are said to represent the whole of the body, and this theory states that alterations made to any aspect of the microcosmic representation affects that same aspect of the macrocosmic whole.
For instance, in Chinese medicine, the human ear is seen as representational of an inverted fetus. In the treatment of nausea we can stimulate the site on the ear that corresponds to the fetal stomach and the nausea stops.
In the Rig-Veda of Hinduism, Indra's Net is a celestial net with a mirror-like jewel at each intersection of the net’s cosmic twine (karma), where a knot would be. Each jewel reflects all of the other jewels of the net and the jewels are infinite in number. Every jewel represents an individual life form, atom, cell or unit of consciousness. Each jewel, in turn, is intrinsically and intimately connected to all of the other jewels; thus, a change in one jewel is reflected in all the other jewels.
The moral of Indra's net is that you cannot damage or sustain one strand of the web that makes up the universe without damaging or sustaining the others or setting off a cascade effect of destruction or harmonization. The compassionate and constructive interventions and actions a person makes produce a ripple effect of beneficial action throughout the universe.
Homunculi of the Human Ear
In summary, holographs, homunculi, fractals, and Indra’s Net are only parts of the general theory of the holographic universe that are also represented by the Gua and Hexagram.
Qi Flow, Sequence Theory and the Channels
Qi is the vital universal energy which composes, permeates, and moves everything that exists.
Qi is the ultimate essence of the universe, as well as the law of all movement. When Qi conglomerates it is called matter, and when Qi is diffused it is called space. When Qi animates form it is called life. When Qi flows, there is health. When Qi is blocked there is sickness and disease.
Qi moves through the human body along a single, unbroken circuit from the chest out to the hands, from the hands up to the head, from the head down to the feet, and from the feet returning up to the chest. This circuit repeats and continues along three different trajectories (channels), which course the body with an unbroken flow of Qi.
Each channel, or its branch (vessel), passes through and governs an organ system. The channels are named for:
- The location on the body where they originate or end (hand or foot).
- The organ that they govern Heart, Lung, Liver, etc.
- The way the Qi energy manifests at that location; Shao Yang (least Yang), Tai Yin (greatest Yin), etc.
The trajectories in this unending flow of Qi energy are interchangeably called channels, meridians, or pathways. Each channel has beginning, middle, and ending phases.
The nature of the channel Qi that flows through a particular segment/channel of this circuit is influenced by:
- The preceding channel; where the Qi is coming from
- The channel itself
- The destination channel that the Qi is flowing into
As the Qi flows from one channel into the next, it carries with it a resonance of the energetic characteristics (signature) of the preceding channel. When the Qi is fully within the Host channel, the Qi normalizes to the signature of that channel. Then, as it begins its transition into the next channel, the Qi begins to adopt the energetic characteristics of that second channel segment.
Hua Fu Mi stated in the Systematic Classic of Acupuncture that:
“The channels are like the great rivers of China, and as the flow of water in rivers are affected by their depth, breadth, banks, and topology, so too the length, breadth, and course of the channel alters the energetic nature of the Qi while it is in that channel.”
Each channel is distinctive in its course and that too gives each channel its own unique effect on the channel Qi. The Gall Bladder foot Shao yang channel is long, like the Urinary Bladder foot Tai yang channel, but their pathways are very different, and therefore the natures of the channels are different. The same is true of the difference between a very short channel like the Heart hand Shao yin and the longer Liver foot Jue yin.
The nature or signature that each channel gives its “channel Qi” is represented by, and is resonant with, the hexagram structure of that channel, as we shall see in the next section.
Channel Qi is altered by all of the following:
- The parts of the body the channel flows through (arm, leg, torso, etc.)
- The location on that body part the trajectory runs (medial, dorsal, lateral, ventral)
- The length of the channel
- The depth/width of the channel
- The organ system the channel flows through and governs.
- The preceding channel segment’s Qi signature
- The following channel segment’s Qi Signature
The Qi of each of the organ systems contributes to the overall Qi of the body, just as each organ system contributes to the blood of the body. As the Qi courses through each channel, the contribution made by the corresponding organ is at peak flow, and the further the flow of Qi is from an organ, that organ’s contribution is considered to be at its ebb. All of these conditions create the distinct nature of the Qi within the channel. We refer to that nature as the energetic signature of the channel Qi.
These three tubes represent three lengths of channels and the red line is the “wave-form” or “signature” of the Qi as it flows through the channel. The wave-form has a higher frequency in a shorter, thinner tube than in a longer, thicker tube.
A Meridigram is a Hexagram that is a graphic representation of a meridian/channel. The Meridigram has the same energetic marker or signature as the channel it represents and is a fractal phenomenon, containing the holographic essence of the energy of the channel.
Hexagrams, as stated before, are stacked pairs of Gua. The lower gua of a Meridigram represents the Host Channel and the upper gua represents the channel that the Qi is flowing into, the guest or destination channel.
In the example of the Meridigram for the Lung Hand Tai yin Channel the Lower Gua represents the Host Channel; the Upper Gua represents the channel that the Qi is flowing into the Destination Channel.
The Lung Hand Tai yin channel is represented by the Tai yin Gua below, where the Qi of the channel is at the present time, and by the Yang ming Gua above, the next destination of the Qi in its never ending flow through the channel network.
TIDAL BALANCE CASE STUDIES
Case Study 1 (Monthly Balancing)
A 45-year old female patient complains of insomnia due to frequent nocturnal urination, which begins at 2:00 am and every two hours from that time until dawn. She has a history of infertility and has undergone numerous Invitro fertilization treatments. She recently gave birth to a child and opted to breastfeed only for the first month. Her pulses are fine (xi mai), especially at the kidney position, indicating possible taxation of kidney Yin and Yang. The channels of concern are Kidney, Heart, Urinary Bladder, and Pericardium. All of these channels balance the kidney using Channel Conversion balancing methods: same anatomical name, interior exterior related pairs, and Chinese clock neighbors. Additionally, the use of these channels brings focus to the issues of urination and insomnia. The presentation of symptoms began in the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, and the insomnia begins during the second (hai), two-hour time period after midnight. Interestingly, the hour of day and lunar month share the same Gua. Therefore, the Lunar Month/Diurnal Balancing is chosen as the best methods of treatment. (see illustration below)
Each time the patient came in we continued to balance to the Hai Hexagram until the insomnia discontinued and the nocturnal urination was minimized.
Case Study 4 (Lunar/Tidal Balancing)
A 37-year old female complains of breast distention and pain, painful menstruation, and menstrual irregularity, which are all better with the onset of the period. Moodiness and irritability are also better at the onset of menstrual flow. She exhibits a tendency to sighing, dizziness, poor appetite and little thirst, and she has a pale tongue with thin, white fur and a wiry (xian mai) pulse. Channels of concern are Liver and Spleen for Liver Qi depression, and blood vacuity with Gall Bladder and
stomach as secondary balances using the conversion method of Interior/Exterior relationship pairs. Because her cycle fluctuates between twenty-two and thirty-two days, Daily Lunar Balancing is chosen help her synchronize her cycle with the lunar cycle (see illustration above).
On each consecutive visit the current lunar phase will be chosen, and the Meridigram changes will be made to match the hexagram represented by that phase.
About the Author
Robert Kienitz, DTCM began his journey in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the mid-1970s with a veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ. Robert worked as the clinic animal handler and the Vet taught Robert in a very hands on style what he had learned about the complex relationship between animals and acupuncture. Robert apprenticed in this blend medicines for two years.
At that same time, Robert began studying the I Ching, Tai Chi Chuan and Yu Long Kung Fu/Qigong with Dr. Hui Chen, a direct student of Grand Master, Professor Cheng Man Ching. Robert holds expert ranking in several external martial arts and has also received internal Tai Chi & Qigong training from the lineages of various Taoist Masters, Buddhist Priests and Lamas.
Robert became ever more interested in natural medicine and learned folk remedies from various Mexican and Native American healers, while also studying botany and biochemistry in college. Robert eventually started a pre-internet mail order business selling North American herbal medicines. After learning TCM herbology, Robert developed the proprietary Earth Wind Botanicals line of herbal formulas.
Dr. Robert was trained by the Chinese Doctors at the Florida Institute of TCM in their Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine program (DTCM). He also studied with the Luo School of TCM Traumatology, and completed post graduate coursework in TCM Philosophy with the Vancouver College of TCM. Dr. Robert has been NCCAOM certified and state licensed since 1995.
Dr. Robert has written and taught professionally for over forty years and co-authored the Arizona Acupuncture Practice Act, is a former professor and Dean of Curriculum at the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Robert also taught at Collins College of Design and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
Dr Robert writes lectures and produces video presentations on the subjects of advanced acupuncture techniques, which include electro-acupuncture, professional ethics and safety, I Ching acupuncture and Medical Qigong. Robert is an approved provider for Professional Development Activities (live and distance learning) by the NCCAOM for Ethics and Safety, Electro-Acupuncture, Qi Gong and I Ching Acupuncture
Dr. Robert is former Clinic Director at the Stone Pointe Institute in Mesa, AZ and the Atlantic Acupuncture and Island Wellness Clinics in Wilmington and Carolina Beach, NC. Dr. Robert currently lives, writes, and practices in FL, with his wife Cindy and son Sean.