The Energy-Consciousness Model Pt 1.: The Point of Points

October 26th, 2015


“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning”

-Lao Tzu 


In the last few weeks we have being discussing different medical models. One model, that is both old and yet relatively new to many people, is the energy-consciousness model. It informs therapies like shiatsu, acupuncture, traditional Chinese and Ayurveda medicine and, more tangentially, some relatively recent variations like kinesiology the Rosen method and different forms of healing.


They all make the link between energy flow (or stagnation) and its effect on the body-mind. While some use other, related energy models, like the chakra system, most of them utilize the concept of points and meridians to work practically with it.


Some therapies, like shiatsu focus more on the meridian fields as a whole (we will look at this approach next week in part two). Others, like acupressure and acupuncture concentrate their attention on individual points and their synergy with other points.



While there is a degree of crossover in these two approaches (they are using the same underlying model after all) this week will focus more on the point-based approach to energy work.



What are energy points?


One technique acupuncture students have traditionally used to remember the flow and detail of over 360 points is through visualizing them as a journey of water, from a deep well flowing out into small streams, becoming rushing rivers and eventually deep oceans as the energy submerges to connect with its relevant organ-meridian system.


“The points lie in the spaces” is a common saying in describing how to look for and locate points. If we were to imagine these waterway-like meridians almost drying up, the small dams, water holes and puddles left would be the points along those meridians. In this sense the points act like small reservoirs of energy.


Note too that ‘in the spaces’ between physical structures (like bones, tendons and muscles) is the opposite of the anatomical model’s focus on the structures themselves. One model focuses on the hardware of the physical body; the other on the software of energy flowing through it.


As a child on holidays spent with my country cousins I found out that many insects are naturally gifted a finding the space between structures.




A cricket held in our small hands would soon find the spaces between our fingers and pry them apart to escape. It is just this skill for finding space in seemingly solid objects that is important for acupuncture, acupressure and shiatsu students to develop.



Science and Acupoints


In my observations at least, scientific explorations of acupoints work best when they choose to look at the software aspects of energy itself instead of measuring biochemical or structural anomalies in these areas. The subtle measuring tools that would best serve this purpose are not yet in widespread use in the scientific community. Having said that there has been research using traditional scientific method that have at least shown that there are measurable differences at acupoints.


In one study, an amperometric oxygen micro-sensor was used to detect partial oxygen pressure variations at different locations on the anterior aspect of the wrist. Below are images from the study measuring the increase of partial oxygen pressure combined with an overlay of the local acupuncture point locations. The images map the Lung, Pericardium and Heart channels and their associated local points and clearly show high oxygen levels.


Image of inner left wrist showing acupoints on three meridians: Lung (Lu.), Pericaridium (Pc.) and Heart (Ht.)

Image of inner left wrist showing acupoints on three meridians: Lung (Lu.), Pericaridium (Pc.) and Heart (Ht.)


Different research methods have revealed other distinctions between acupoints and surrounding areas:


“The researchers note that the size of an acupuncture point “can be estimated by the diameter of microvascular aggregations….” They also commented that other research has found unique structures of acupuncture points and acupuncture meridians using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), infrared imaging, LCD thermal photography, ultrasound and other CT imaging methods.”[1]



The spiral of energy


Whether we are looking at a thumb print, the growth of hair on the top of our head or a galaxy in space we can observe how energy leaves its spiralic signature.[2] The acupuncture/pressure points exhibit this spiralic energy quality as well.




Stimulating a point via touch or an acupuncture needle connects with this inward/outward spiral vortex of energy. Remember it is the energy connection that is important so very strong amounts of pressure or stimulation are not necessary when that connection has been made.


Again, our focus is not on the physical structures we are in contact with. We are not trying to manipulate a muscle or a joint for example in the way that a massage therapist or chiropractor may work with the body.


By contacting with the natural spiral/vortex of energy at a point we connect with energy moving by inwards and outwards. Energy-consciousness therefore is also activated. This would explain why so many clients report a new relationship of awareness with their body, get into contact with underlying emotions and experience ‘aha’ moments of personal insight during and after energy treatment sessions.



Frequency bands


In my experience each point spirals both inwards and outward (even beyond the physical body) and each curve of that spiral has a unique energy ‘personality’. We can access diffent bands by increasing or decreasing pressure or, in acupuncture, by adjusting the needle.


energy spiral vortex


This technique, known as ‘De chi’ (loosely translated as ‘getting the chi’) is primarily aimed at obtaining the ideal two-way response at the point. If you have ever played with magnets at a polarity where they reject each other as you try to push them together you will recognise this ideal, equilibrium point where opposing forces meet and seem to resonate with each other. The client usually reports feeling the chi sensation a beat after the therapist feels it through their hands or the needle.


This two-way communication is a key factor when working with energy and acupoints in particular


To press deeper (or using deeper needle insertion) after this point breaks the two-way communication and reverts the effect back to a structural treatment. Examples of that is the strong physical pressure used in deep tissue therapy and deep insertions of ‘dry needle’ techniques used by some massage therapists and chiropractors to relax muscle tensions.


Nothing wrong with that of course but it does break the two-way connection of chi energy-consciousness with the client. We change from an energy dialogue and go back to a therapist monologue of us ‘doing’ our technique while the client remains a passive receiver.



 Non-doing and waves of energy


This brings us to an important tenant in Taoist philosophy and the energy therapies it informs. By not being open to the bi-directional energy dialogue we remain a ‘doer’. We may well ‘do’ good or competent work but we will miss the chance for the inherent intelligence of energy to guide our work.




The state of non-doing opens up that possibility. Once we make that energy connection we may find that the treatment begins to ‘do itself’. It may lead us in directions we would not have taken with our reasonable, rational intellect. It can lead us away from the distraction of symptoms and point formulas and into the root causes of imbalance and how to treat them.


 Pointing the way


Once this energy merges and shows itself we can dispense with the one and two dimensional states of points and lines altogether. One step at a time however. Next week we will shift our focus from points to the streaming fields of energy-consciousness known as the meridian system.



Till another Monday misses the point entirely and finds itself under no pressure at all,




[1] For the article and its citations click here

[2] Because, as we have stated many times in these blogs, energy is also consciousness, we may also notice how our own personal development exhibits this ‘circling back to go forward’ quality as well – but that is a discussion for another blog



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