Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do seasonal influences play their part in Entry/Exit blocks?

A student sent me the following queries about seasonal treatment to help her in her interesting research topic. I give it below, followed by my answer to it.

“I am doing some research into Entry/Exit Blocks and in particular whether there is any link between unseasonal or changeable weather patterns in nature and the appearance of these blocks in patients. I have only a very small amount of data so far, and one or two published articles from practitioners who note that in their practice Entry/Exit blocks tend to appear in clusters at the change of season or during unseasonable or changeable weather (though not exclusively of course).

My data does actually point to a link between the two but (being a beginner in 5 Element Acupuncture) I am struggling a little to understand whether there may be a link or if it is just coincidence.

I was wondering if you had noticed any similar patterns in your own practice over the years and if so, why is this and do you have any examples? I am looking at some of the classics with regard to Wei Qi (as this is where the Blocks are felt) and how its movement is linked to nature, and to me at least it seems fairly obvious that the movement of Qi within us could be affected and "blocked" by external (macrocosmic) qi movement which goes against the normal flow of seasonal movement of Qi from Spring through the Seasons to Winter

I did ask Neil Gumenick directly, by email, about this, and he said there was absolutely no seasonal connection, but as I said earlier, in practice, it does seem to occur. Other authors I have looked at, including Jarrett, do not include seasonal change as one of the causes of Entry/Exit Blocks.”

Here is my reply:

"You’ve posed an interesting question about Entry/Exit blocks. So here are my thoughts on this, although I had not until now really considered this question in any detail, so it has set me thinking!

When I find an E/E block, as well as clearing it I always think which officials are in trouble and why this might be. Sometimes we simply don’t know, but in most cases I can work out why this particular block may have occurred at this time. I tend to think more of the psychological or physical reasons, rather than seasonal reasons, although I have thought of these, particularly if the block relates to the patient’s guardian element. For example, one of the most frequent blocks is Co/St (Co 20, St 1). If it is a Metal patient who is blocked in this way, I think of what the patient can’t let go of, or if it is an Earth patient, what the patient can’t stop thinking about or transport. But I have only thought about a seasonal connection if the patient is in their element’s season, i.e., Metal in autumn or Earth in late summer. It might cross my mind that the block has been exacerbated by the season, but I don’t tend to think of the season as causing the block. I will not think about the season at all if I find a block in a season not related to that patient’s element, i.e., a Co/St block for a Fire patient in autumn (but perhaps I should!).

But, and it’s a big but, I am sure that the extra inflow of energy to any particular element from a seasonal influence must affect in some way how those elements manifest in us, since each element will receive the influence of its particular season, just as it receives the influence of its particular time of day. That’s, after all, why we do horary and seasonal treatments. I am not sure, though, how obviously the subtle changes in the balance of the elements as they move from season to season can be detected on the pulses, for example, or even how far they will lead to an E/E block. An E/E block is a sign of a great build-up of energy in one meridian which is unable to discharge it to the next along the Wei cycle. As felt on the pulses, it is a strong build-up, and therefore it seems to me unlikely that a simple change from one season to the next will affect this enough on its own (otherwise we would have E/E blocks all round the year as season changes to season!).

So in theory it is likely that there may be a subtle influence of the season on the energies of the different elements, but in practice, in my view, it is only likely to add to an E/E block if there is already a block building up. Unfortunately for your research I don’t think we have the means of assessing whether this is so or not, so I think this may always remain a theoretical discussion, without practical proof.

I hope this explanation helps.

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