An Introduction to Trigger Points, Acupressure, Acupuncture, and the Chakras
Pressing the Right Buttons Makes the Difference Begin to Grasp the Science Behind Energetic Anatomy and Its Connection to Chakra Balancing and Emotional & Physical Healing
Around 3000 years ago, when the Indian subcontinent was practicing the harmonious combination of the body with the universal spirit through yoga and Ayurveda, a little up north, there was a land which was perfecting its own study of the human body.
The Chinese had developed an understanding of a subtle energy body which resides inside the physical body. This subtle energy body connects with its physical counterpart and maintains the transference of the life force called Qi or Chi. This concept of life force is exactly similar to Prana, the life force found in the Yogic texts of Chakra as Kundalini awakening.
This Classical Chinese Medicine was prevalent in China for thousands of years and relied on the concept that a human’s life and healthiness depends upon the energy states of the person. And to live healthy, one must live not only harmoniously with the energies inside the body but in harmony with the forces of nature. The CCM or Classical Chinese Medicine involved a set of holistic practices to deal with the issues of the body and spirit. They were:
Meditation – considered to be the highest form of healing
Acupuncture – the use of needles to heal Qi
Herbalism – the use of herbs with healing properties
Tui-Na – a system of massaging the body
Qi Gong – energy healing
You might often hear the term Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is a much recent adoption of the Classical Chinese Medicine and focuses only on Qi an a few more concepts. It strips CCM of the mind-body-spirit connection to make the philosophy more in sync with western understanding of medicine. But for now, we will explore the concepts of healing according to the Classical Chinese Medicine.
What is the philosophy of Chi or Qi?
To understand acupuncture, acupressure or any trigger points-based studies in Chinese medicine, let us first take a look at the concept of Chi or Qi. In the human body there flows a life energy which is called Chi or Qi. This Qi maintains the balance of the human body with the existing forces of nature. The following form the basis of Chi and the Classical Chinese Medicine.
There is no absolute mind-body split. The body is affected by the mind and vice-versa. And to leave healthy, the body and mind must be in harmony with themselves and their surroundings.
The humans are part of the natural world around them and their interaction is significant to the health of the person.
Every human has an innate healing ability. This ability is altered when we live in disharmony or when external forces (or pathogens) attack the body. The repairing of Chi is the attempt to bring back the healing energy of the body.
The human body being made of the 5 elements, reacts to the outside forces through these five elements only. While the 5 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. This is similar to the 5-element philosophy in Indian Yogic texts with the elements – earth, fire, eater, air, space. These 5 elements translate into the different states of matter that the body deal with. If you understand holistically, the ancients understood that the human body had an element of fire. It is when the prana or Chi left the body that the fire element would stop. And the body would get cold. The fire element is the heat generated by the body which kept it warm. This is how the Chinese medicine used the understanding of 5 elements as its approach toward healing.
What are human body channels?
According to the same concepts, the Chi flows in human body through different channels. These channels were observed empirically through years of observations in the body. The Chinese described these channels as Jing-Luo. The Jing-Luo is a network of channels which exist inside the body not in physical medium but as energy pathways. They carry the Life Force Chi and blood to the different organs of the body.
The Jing are often called the channels which run vertically (from head to toe) inside the body and connect with the internal organs. These channels link the body into an integrated whole and act as a conduit of Chi and blood for the whole body. Not only that but this network of channels acts as a barrier for the body and prevents external pathogens from penetrating deeper. Since every channel is associated with its organ, a problem with the organ is manifested anywhere in the body along its channel system.
CCM defines 12 Primary channels. Out of these there are 6 yin-channels which run along the front of the body and connect with their specific organ systems. And there are 6 yang-channels which run along the back of the body and are specific to their organ systems. And if an organ as a problem, the symptoms appear along this channel.
Just like the Jing, the Luo are the finer branches of the Jing that connect the channels to the more superficial subcutaneous regions of the body. The luo are often called Collaterals.
This network of channels and collaterals (the Jing-Luo) creates a defined grid of energy pathways connecting the different organ systems. This is what the western cultures refer to as the meridians in their texts. And these meridians create a set of a little more than 600 trigger-points in the body to which pressure can be applied and the Chi can be healed.
Where do the Chakras come in?
As the channels deliver Chi and Blood to the specific organ systems, issues begin to appear within the body when the Chi along these pathways gets affected. The Chi can be affected in 3 states primarily – it gets Weakened, Blocked or becomes Overactive. The practice of Acupressure relies on pressing the trigger points for the specific organ system and applying pressure on them to release the Chi. And similarly, Acupuncture uses sterile needles on these points to unblock the Chi and help the body heal.
Though this concept is synonymous with the yogic concept of nadis and the energy body called sukshma-sharira, the studies of Chinese medicine define the network in 12 primary channels and are energy pathways. The yogic system defines about 72,000 nadis and many of which are nerves found physically in the body. The concept of life force remains same but as the intersection of the channels creates trigger points, the nadis create 114 chakras. Though the yogic system believes in meditation for chakra awakening, so that the body is relieved of all its doshas (maladies), the Chinese system has evolved further into trigger points.
Today, the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions. These include physical issues like headache, backpain and psychological issues like anxiety, sadness, depression, also immune system issues. Since the understanding of trigger points requires a good deal of understanding of the channels and their flow along the body, this kind of practice should not be done at home and you should always seek the help of a trained professional for learning or practicing acupressure or acupuncture.