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Acu in Practice: 6 Stages, Level 2

Welcome to Acu in Practice! This week we continue our “refresher” on the 6 Stages Model of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This diagnosis and treatment model can be especially useful for infectious and chronic inflammatory disease. In short, the model theorizes that disease begins on the most external level of the body where the immune system (Wei Qi) combats it and either wins by expelling the pathogen or allows the pathogen deeper into the next level. The deeper the pathogen or disease is allowed to go, the more difficult it is to diagnose and treat. In Western medicine, with chronic inflammatory disease where we are unable to pinpoint the exact pathogen or diagnosis, treatments are mainly aimed at controlling the symptoms. The outermost level is the Tai Yang and today we are focusing on the next level in, the Yang Ming.

Disease at the Yang Ming level is characterized by an abundance of Heat (usually a progression from the original Cold invasion) and is associated with the Large Intestine (LI) and Stomach (ST) meridians. Pulses will still likely be fast, but not floating as they are at the Tai Yang phase as now the pathogen has moved deeper. Pulses are more likely to be wiry and to indicate interior imbalance. Often times, there will be a change of tongue color to red and dry. There may be multiple signs of dryness as fluids are damaged and used up. Some typical examples of Yang Ming syndromes in Western terminology would be high fever from bacterial or viral infections, meningitis, acute stomatitis, gingivitis, pneumonia, the initial phases of immune mediated joint diseases, and some cases of diabetes mellitis. Abdominal distention and constipation may also be seen along with these syndromes due to the Heat that has dried and bound up the intestines.

Acupuncture points and herbal formulas will vary based on the individual patient and signs, but some examples include:

Acu points:

ST 44 – Spring point, clears Heat from the Yang Ming Channels, harmonizes the Stomach

LI 4 – Source point, clears interior Heat, regulates immunity

GV 14 – clears Fire, reduces Fever

LI 11 – Clear Heat, Damp Heat from the Yang Ming Channels

Wei Jian – “Tip of Tail” – Clears Heat

Herbal formulas:

Bai Hu Tang (White Tiger decoction) – to clear Yang Ming Heat, harmonize the Stomach, moisten dryness.

Da Cheng Qi Tang (Major Order the Qi decoction0 – used in cases of Yang Ming bowel patterns to clear Heat and purge constipated stools, activates Qi and relieves fullness.

Please tune in next Wednesday as we feature the next level, the Shao Yang level, with diagnosis and treatment tips!

This post was created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA (IVAS) and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

A special thanks and reference to: THE SIX STAGE: A WAY TO UNDERSTAND TODAY’S CHRONIC DISEASES Cynthia J. Lankenau, DVM, RH (AHG), CVA, GDVCHM, ACCHVM


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