Looking at the Obvious Part 2: Cold

 Cupping The Stored Cold Out

Please also look to the eLotus presentation ‘Rescue the Root’.

The P/P initially used for these has been remodeled into the later P/P’s

Where Does Information Spring From?

Before we start here, I would suggest a quiet reflection – what actually did /does make it into texts?  In our own society – did the tried and true home remedies ever get written down, or were they passed across time through oral tradition?

How would this look in the medicine that we practice?

Is it that when a person consulted a practitioner, whatever era, they do/did whatever they could at home first, and after waiting and seeing – then gradually going up the lines of intervention, till eventually the local medicine man/woman is /was sought after?

What this may mean is that a lot of assumed knowledge contained within the culture of Chinese medicine is not only missing due to the language and intercultural dislocation, but also – there is a level at which the books and paid employment starts from.  Before this – it is embedded within the culture and the language and the assumed practices.

It may well be that a lot of what was originally passed down is now not – due to a number of ’modern’ influences.  We can tell that even in our food production/ consumption – the state of home gardening/preserves.  Our forebears grew what they needed to eat – and we all now go to the local supermarket.  Having become so highly dependent on others, we are now also unable to go back to basics if needed. Is there even the space around the home dwelling to do so?

This can be seen to have happened in all human endeavour – where if lucky, we may have retained one or two skills – sewing our own clothes/curtains or repairing metal/wood implements???

When looking at information regarding any topic – we may have technology – but what about what WAS passed down as important – is it no longer so – or is it just redefined as being ‘old fashioned’ and ‘unscientific’?  We may find that over time we are thus left with, just a coded system that may not hold the keys to understanding or even practicing our medicine as expected.  This is before we speak of the political changes that swept through the land and destroyed so very much of what had been revered in China – hence what is even allowed to be accessed.

Some of the family traditional information was retained.  Some escaped the Communist rule and made it out to the West.  Dr John Shen was one. Dr John Shen (the founder of the pulse system Dr Leon Hammer speaks of) was most known for his pulse system.  Feel the pulse, yes; but before that, observe the physiognomy, the stance, the smell, palpate about – everything tells us something – and without the immensity of his experience and personal observations we are left with but a few apparent gems that have been written down.

I have taken a few of the instances of teachings he gave and worked with them. Cupping the cold out is one of these. Doing this creates a profound change – far greater than anything I have observed in my three decades of using needles or moxa alone.

Causation

When looking over a patient and their story, we could start at the beginning – what is the state of Yang and Qi like? What destroys Yang?  Is there cold within?  It can be seen – purpling and skin colour changes – it can be felt – just put your own (warmed) hand there – it can be pressed and you can see the circulation lag – blanching especially on the upper back shows you that Ba Sha and cupping are indicated – but just like real moxa use (using ‘smokeless’ and heat lamps) – what is becoming of our medicine?

We can also follow the chain of symptoms – and invariably there has been all sorts of partial intervention and often with modern life – far too much iatrogenesis.  Do we wrack our brain – which category of disharmony/TCM box do they fit into – then which point?

But before we think of points – we could think homeostasis – why is the body displaying symptoms at all? Are we trying to help the body to get on with its own business?  What is stopping it from removing the cold itself?  Has it not got systems in place?  Why are these not mobilised?

Do we even know how the body heals itself?  Has the westernisation/ medicalisation of our healing system been contaminated by/been infiltrated THAT much into acupuncture theory that we see only a condition and then look for the points to ‘fix’ it? This is not and never was how Chinese medicine worked.  It may well be how it is now – but surely we can re-educate ourselves through seeing results NOT happening in practice, and take a look back into the past?

We could see how very few people are actually living according to the way of the Tao.  Are we listening to our bodies – life is too frenetic and money is to be made – we all seem to try to ‘catch up’ when we feel the need to rest . . .

Looking at some of what modern life brings – refrigeration and climate control, we can start to see what is happening to our Yang.  Those who lived with nature knew that not respecting nature and the body brought catastrophe soon after.  (‘Old wives tales’).  Hence in our culture we had such things to look out for as sitting on cold concrete (would cause piles), washing our hair when having a period (would cause really bad menstrual pain from then on – as it would should you live in unheated northern hemisphere and only have access to an outside pump of freezing water in the cold winds).

Even having our waists exposed – would give us ‘cold in the kidneys’ for sure . . . now in the days of antibiotics and vaccinations and drugs for most eventualities – most do not understand the interplay between the micro climates and the health or disease we may enjoy/suffer from. Most mums just knew to bring the kids in from playing when the sun started to go down as ‘the cold night air’ would encourage coughing and so on.

No clothes to be put away to be worn after washing unless ‘aired’ – as in the temperate regions the damp would get cold and would be transferred into the body  and no body could sustain that insult so next to the skin.

Now we MAY have clothes driers and may have forgotten our gran’s’ habits – yet they were based on acute observation and protection of the inner core.

In first year acupuncture we teach that the ‘causes of disease’ are internal (emotional generation/lack of expression) and external (climatic infiltration).  Cold can enter in incremental portions through life style choices – a fan overhead when sleeping, working/sleeping in a draught, always going out with wet hair, having cold flooring and walking around barefooted –these all add up.

See eBook Cold – how it prevents healing – as there is therapeutic cold – everyone is told to ice everything so you don’t feel it – forgetting that the pain is there to signal a problem – and that the intentional application of cold is actually causing further damage.  It MAY feel good (as in numb) immediately – but the invasion of the cold energy when the body was already upset can only cause further and long term effects that were not there before.

Our patients may have had a lot of cold applied and may not think to tell us.  Working in Brisbane where women are liberally attacked with ice all through the labour and lactating processes, it is not usual to miss this – and even those who are trained as acupuncturist do not get how dangerous this is and agree to – ice on breasts and perineums immediately after birth.  This causes lifelong problems that are invisible unless we know what to look for.

There is also the matter of raw, cold foods and juices on an empty stomach, long spaces between meals, and the chilled water and fruit that people chose, or have only as the options to select when eating out.

The epidemic of sub clinical ‘hypothyroid’ (see wand all the miseries that yang deficiency cause – not so as to kill us but to make life difficult – think of all the Spleen Qi and Yang deficient scenarios; especially those that visit women post birth – digestive /energy/ tissues, organs and blood falling down/out and the generalised lack of oomph – including any interest in or ability to enjoy sex.  Not necessarily mentioned in Chinese texts, or even in the average clinic – but it is there as a significant relationship issue.

Why is this NOT Taught in College or Found in Texts?

Possibly as these avenues are not where the clinically effective practitioners are to be found.

Just as in Western medicine, TCM is in a young phase (it is not as practiced in the classics or intended as the sages wrote it) and is still in its adolescence – wisdom takes longer to arrive than the publications of reams of data.  What IS found in the current crop of politically correct published information and what is taught in colleges, is how to follow the western ways of thinking – linear and to a destination.  This is not the gift of energy medicine or of Chinese medicine.

Asking questions of the body itself- through using or own senses will give us as practitioners far better information and hence knowledge on where to go next to help the sufferer.

As a pragmatic healer, I have been asking questions of the medicine in clinic – and following what I feel to do.  I am sue all who passed before me also discovered what I have – it is not divinely inspired – just needs us to think and act as we see fit.  With a bit of a hand from stunning sources – watching a few masters at work, I have diligently continued on with what I see working.  

Pulling the Cold out Therapeutically

As I have been using this technique in clinic for over the past two decades, it would appear to my patients as though I am fixated upon this.

Regardless of what someone comes in for (unless over about 4 months pregnant – when the cold should not there anyway), I do this first if indicated – no point in mentally ‘diagnosing’ – as there is cold there so the yang is not capable of working properly.

Irrespective of what condition they come in with, if any aspect of the three heaters is cold to touch – especially if the belly/down to the pubic bone (often very chilly around Cv 2) is cold – I attend to this first.  If I did not – how would we expect to be able to mobilise the qi and the yang – unless we liberate what is obstructing normal?  The yang is keeping the invading cold energy out of general circulation.

Often this is all that is needed and a profound treatment result occurs –just because we have then allowed the body to repair itself.  It may have only needed this assistance.

As I mainly work in Brisbane, where the weather is oppressively hot and humid for most of the year, and a bit brisk in the mornings of the mild winter we have, there is plenty of call for removal of cold.  How does it get there? The usage of chilled water and storing fruit in the fridge creates a large reservoir in most that is impeding normal qi and blood flow – allowing lots of menstrual and digestive issues.

Most also wear as little as possible and then find themselves in savage air conditioning in their daily lives.  In cooler climates (when I am in NZ) I notice that people are more sensible about life style choices – as the weather is an obvious factor there, and also everyone has had drummed into them as a child about draught, cold night air and such like.

A lot of women get to sleep in very chilly bedrooms as many men sleep far too hot (and are actually suffering from low BBT’s if you check) – and this means the fan/air con all year around. At least an open window – and the bed clothes do not shield the person from the cold air that is always breathed at night whilst the Yang is being recirculated inside.

Discussion

Removing stored cold allows the body to return to health itself.  Moving any blockage to healing does this. Cupping cold out is the most powerful treatment I can ever do on anyone.  It is instant; the person feels the changes as they happen.  They feel so different – if this was their problem – and us playing about with needles and heat lamps (and even raw moxa) does not give the depth of change that is possible using the cupping method outlined below.

The person may well be coming in for very hot problems, especially also being Yin Xu, as the first case I outline below.  If there is any cool felt on the skin, then cold HAS to be liberated so the yang has a chance again.

Dr Shen from his wealth of experience said that cold lodged especially in the intestines, stomach and uterus.  We see so much hypo activity – why not help the body sort this out itself?  Easy enough to find – is the belly cool/cold to touch?  Then what?

Expel the cold.

Many have some variety of Stomach Heat or Liver Qi stagnation leading to fiery inner spots.  Many have had ice packed around some musculo skeletal injury.  Even more unfortunates may have had iced treatments and cold supposedly to assist, directly placed to alleviate perineal or engorged breast issues.

This cold energy stays put, creating a sink for the Yang Qi. Substantial amounts of warming yang has be side-lined to ensure that the cold is encapsulated, and that it does not migrate elsewhere to cause havoc.  Thus eventually can create any number of other Yang Qi deficiency conditions – and all that started it was .  . an invasion of cold that is lodging and is not mentioned in texts, so is glossed over like most other life events and residues that stop us seeing what is actually happening for  the person, as we are trying to place them within a boxed categorisation, as  recently our published works and academic courses have been discounting life.

RON (76)

He came specifically complaining of an at least ten year old problem with burning feet – so bad that he would go outside in the frosty ground, and walk around for at least 30 minutes until he could not feel them.   He would then go inside and hopefully be asleep before the burning started back up again.  If this failed there was a full water bottle in the freezer to put them up against.

So – what about his metabolic and protective qi?

Where we could go wrong here is try to treat the symptoms.  In his case  there were quite a few – he had been a mine rescue worker, and in one remarkable event , was the guy racing in, as everyone else was streaming out for their lives – and he had to carry what was left of his 19 dead mates out.  The chemical toxicity of his employment meant also that he had major itching over his upper body, again at night, and had a plethora of sequelae on all levels post trauma (forty years before).

Also had such burning on discharge of sperm that sex had been too excruciating since 35 years before – so his emotional distress had no outlet (wife left him, he wouldn’t take medications to ‘control’ his PTSD – so refusing antidepressants left him not sleeping or functioning stably).

Before we try to ‘diagnose’ through a stylised theoretical system, we could just start by getting rid of some of the things that are stopping his body from working.

Whilst it and other really useful practical clinical techniques may be missing in recent literature, there are other ‘sleeping’ issues that are also.  Which recently published acupuncture text talks of the toxic soup which is our biosphere that we all are trying to survive within?  The accumulations from the global use of the air and the sea as a waste disposal unit have meant we are all, at the every least, under hormonal disruption.

Which ‘infertile’ couple does not have underlying estrogen dominance related issues?  Who is mentioning this in gyne texts?  Whilst it may not be specifically covered in the classics, it unfortunately is rising in prevalence in all of our dealings with life, and thus in clinic.

We all have chemical toxins within – we could start with the amalgams our maternal beginnings washed us with.  Then the mercury and other preservatives in all the vaccinations we have all encountered and which we give out so fearfully disregarding what nature intended for our immune systems to work through (think Yang Qi again).

These are mentioned under the category of ‘miscellaneous’ in any teaching of ’causes of disease’. Toxic residue imposes itself on the normal blueprint. It needs removing or at least neutralising.  Then what is in texts may work.  WE have to restore the body to where the texts start us.

The use of the acupuncture body of knowledge is theoretical.  We have no ‘evidence’ past when we expect something to happen, and we act accordingly it tends to.  As we are all is anecdotal, moon phase changes, how we feel, temperature of the day relative to the expected climate etc – all is unique.

Within this, there are rules of thumb . . .

One of these is that cold causes contraction and hardness as it stops normal circulation.  COLD thus wastes yang qi.

How so?  By keeping a lot of what should be in storage and in circulation going about normal metabolic processes, busy with the ‘cold splinters’ it has to keep separate from the general mechanics. It was always taught (prior to TCM) that the role of the Eight Extra meridians acting as a reservoir – but in this case I would say that Ron was all full up – and with nowhere else to go, the toxic overflow issues have created immense heat (how much fluid would be needed to isolate the damaging chemicals, plus heat from fires and smoke inhalation over the decades?) that it has wasted his yin and thus given rise to the burning feet – at night.

Starting with the belly, (and his was very icy – all of it – oedematous gut that it was) and discovering cold there, we can begin with the removal of pernicious influences. Many, as Ron did, may have also put the cold in as a self medication.

Whatever the reason, the belly is the seat of our Three Heater (another theoretical /non evidence based ‘fact’) – and so if the oven temperature is not sufficient, we do not get the baked product we intended to have.  So too, if we persist in cooling our core down, however we try to ‘feel better’ – we will end up with the insidious yang and metabolic issues that most do come in with (that we are ignoring as the texts/training do not mention them).

Possibly look at www.thyroidpower.com and www.stopthethyroidmadness.com

WHAT TO DO

1 – If there is a navel ring, remove it (and try and get her to forget about it being replaced).

2 – Ensure that the room is warm, and that there are enough covers to keep the patient warm whilst you are removing latent cold

3 – Demonstrate by. placing your warm hand on the different parts of the body that there is in fact cold there – other areas will have the same hand feel cool that feels so warm on their cold places.  This is important as it is sometimes a challenging treatment and they need to feel the differences before and after.

4 – Have no needles in – this is a very powerful treatment, which stands alone.

5 – Warm and dry a large cup.  Do not try to remove cold with a cold cup – you will be allowing more in.

6 – Oil around the navel.  If a hairy man, lots of oil – you need the suction to stay strong for the duration of the treatment.  Sometimes I have gotten the man to shave around it but over oiling is enough.

7 – Get a (preferably pre warmed) 50 cent piece and place it in a tissue – the cheapest/less luxuriant) are the best.  Twirl the tissue around, so it has a tail, and tear off what would possibly curl over when lit.

8 – Warn the patient that this will be alarming, to relax and to not watch, if a bit nervy.  Tell them in advance that the cup will pull greatly, as though it is trying to pull out the belly, and that it is quite safe. (I usually give them fascinating reading to distract them at this point).

9 – Place the tissue wrapped coin on the navel (to stop essential qi from escaping) and light it.

10 – When the tissue is well lit, place the warmed cup over it, so it sucks up very quickly.  If it smoulders for a while, it was a good practice run, and repeat with a new tissue.  You are after a very strong suction.

11 – If far too tight, lift the lip of the cup very slowly to expel a little of the suction.

12 – Explain that this is a very strong treatment, as the cup will be on as long as the pulling sensation that starts soon and/or the belly is finally warmed up.

13 – Often, the pulling sensations (forget the navel, it is just a distraction) start in a few minutes – and it could be from anywhere, and they change location as the cold is removed.  I always give them a variety of locations, to allow them to not panic when whatever happens for them does.

14 – By checking every few minutes (and sometimes this has taken 30 minutes to settle down) ensure that your hands are warm first.  To remove the cup; wipe off the oil and place warmed palm on the navel.  If the skin is very cold, optimally you would have had some salt warming in a tissue, next to your skin, or theirs.

15 – Fill the naval with the warmed salt.  Place a small pyramid of moxa on the salt, and light it.

16 – Continue with a number of pyramids – 3 /5/7 – and then remove the salt and go on with whatever next needs doing.

17 – Instruct the person as to avoidance of cold – hopefully they will have been grilled as to how it happened in the first place.

There is no point in taking out problems for them to recreate them.

If there is repeat cold, there must be instructions kept, not just listened to.  

CONTRA-INDICATIONS 

1 – Do not do this on an umbilical hernia – I am not sure if even a healed one should have this done, as the cup’s suction should be extremely tight to be effective.  I have done it very cautiously – I am suggesting as the reader may not have experience with the ranges of ‘normal’ when cupping the navel that leaving a doubtful case has merits.

2 – Do not do this a day past half moon going up or a day before half moon gong down – the moon phase is a powerful and not usually mentioned variable.

(See work on moon phases – email Heather if it is not as a link here).

3 – If a woman is bleeding, or quite pregnant. (I regularly do this immediately after IVF transfer as everyone seems to get so cold – or maybe it is just a function of their weakened yang).  I also use it when she may be looking like a possible miscarriage – and the lack of Yang is not a good sign – and if the BBT is lower that day than normal – the yang HAS to be able to express itself as it is supposed to).

RESULTS

RON after the first cupping, his belly was still cool, but not as freezing.

I also used moxa on salt, as the area where the cup had been was icy cold.  Please remember to have the salt pre-warmed, as we are attempting to REMOVE all cold, rather than yet again put therapeutic cold in.

He then rolled over and I used moxa on needles on Bl 13, 20 Gv 3, 4 and any other lower sacral points that were tender.  When he rolled back again, the belly was vastly less cool, his feet were no longer extremely sore (past footballing injuries and then all that cold enforced upon the circulation) and more amazingly – his tongue was not as deeply crevassed or as bright shiny red.

Over the next few weeks, he reported a massive reduction in foot and chest heat and all other symptoms were eased with the use of herbs to help the Liver Qi and depression.  He also had far less pain throughout his body.

He no doubt thought I was mad starting where I did – and then using moxa when he was so hot!!!! The moxa on back needles made a huge difference to his ability to circulate Qi and hence once the cold was lifted, and Yang restored, his body could take over.  

A FEW OTHER CASES

JO (34)

After first baby (IVF), a dreadful twin miscarriage where THREE D & C’s were finally performed, and then an ectopic pregnancy (IVF is currently running a 6-7% ectopic rate here in Brisbane) there was a huge dislocation of sense of self.

She had very poor circulation to her extremities, and a very cool belly.

First treatment – remove the cold – then maybe the circulation will return to normal.  During cupping she felt an incredible variety of spots where the pulling was happening, and was absolutely rapt, as her digits all warmed up on the couch.

I used moxa after this and did the sacral fan in the Book and Massage DVD – “What Dads Can Do”).  What a remarkable transformation – she had her body all back again.  When she arrived her complexion was the pale and bright that the texts would have us think marks Qi deficiency and she looked remarkably alive.   

MICHELLE (40)  

“My daughter was born just over four years ago via C-Section.  This wasn’t elective, I have a bi-cornuate uterus and my daughter wasn’t only lying in a breach position but in an “L” shape.

Since the operation, my uterus had felt like a lead weight – it was always there, always heavy.  By that I mean I could feel my uterus ALL THE TIME, where with other parts of my body I don’t notice them unless I touch them or they’re doing something.

I knew this wasn’t “right” but couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, so just accepted that this was part of “my lot” in having to have had a C-Section.

On top of that, ever since the birth of my daughter, having an orgasm just wasn’t the same.  It was a similar sensation to that when I was pregnant – my uterus sort of when tight and the orgasm most times just disappeared.  Again I just thought this was obviously part of the deal of childbirth.

Since having acupuncture my uterus is “gone” – it’s just normal.  The heaviness, the lead weight is gone and I don’t feel it anymore unless I have my period and even then my period pain has reduced to almost nothing where previously I needed a hot water bottle.

And best of all – I’ve had the first orgasm since before I got pregnant that made me go AHHH!  The tightness has gone and I have a full orgasm”.

So what did I do?

Undid this part of her life – the scar and the freezing belly (they check to see if the anaesthetic is working her by putting ice on the skin . . .) – so yes there was cupping first, then scar needling – as I will cover in a separate article.  The use of Eight Extra theory and accumulation points is central to the follow-up on the cupping belly cases.

Please go back to basics.  Why is the body not able to work as intended?

That it is not in the published works may only mean that we are putting far too much emphasis on following the current ‘leaders’ rather than actually reporting what is really going on at the coal face.  Life experience is there to be learnt from.  Please also go to www.sharpen-up-your-results.com  for the practitioner tools, where these and other techniques are covered, and available in the context of modern clinical practice.

See also:

What I have Learned in Navel Cupping

Looking at the Obvious Part 3 

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