If we think through the H/W treatment procedure, his reply makes perfect sense. It is always good to look at the five element chart when doing this, and trace the points we use to clear H/W on the chart itself. When I teach the procedure I always draw a vertical line down the middle of the five element circle, separating the two sides in half. When looking at the chart in front of us, and starting from the Fire element on the right side at the top, there are the two Outer Fire officials, the Three Heater and Heart Protector, the Earth element and the Metal element. On the left side, there are the two Inner Fire officials, Small Intestine and Heart, the Wood element and the Water element. Energy passes along the Shen cycle from Inner Fire, through Earth, Metal, Water, Wood to Outer Fire and on again in its endless circling. The vertical line I draw to separate these two sides should be a broken not a straight line. During life, the two sides must always be joined energetically, but when there is a H/W imbalance this connection weakens and threatens to break. The point of complete separation represents death.
The Husband/Wife imbalance is diagnosed by a pulse reading which reflects a weakening of the cycle of energy, with the pulses on the right-hand side, which we call the Wife’s side, becoming excessively strong at the expense of those on the left, the Husband’s side. (We need not be politically correct here. The term is taken from an ancient Chinese view of the world.) The following is the sequence of the points we use: III (Bl) 67, IV (Ki) 7, IV (Ki) 3, VIII (Li) 4, II (SI) 4, I (Ht) 7. The sequence is important, because the first two points, Water tonification points, immediately act to strengthen the connection between the Metal and Water elements, in effect reinforcing the link between left and right sides. They are followed by two energy transfers across the Ke cycle. Energy is transferred from the excess energy of the Spleen on the right across the Ke cycle to the Water element on the left by needling IV (Ki) 3, and from the Metal element on the left to the Wood element on the right by needling VIII (Wo) 4. The sequence is completed by the source points of the Small Intestine and Heart, further strengthening all the officials on the left side, and, significantly, finally including the Heart.
JR told me one day to clear a Husband/Wife imbalance on one of my patients. He returned to the room to check on what I was doing when I had only begun the procedure, and had just needled the Water tonification points. He took the patient’s pulses, and told me that the block had already cleared. I completed the procedure after he left the room, as I did not think it appropriate to leave it half-way through. This made me understand for the first time exactly how important it was to re-establish a strong connection between Metal and Water. It is when the flow of energy between them starts to weaken that we must be alert to the strain it is putting on the Heart which is now being deprived of the good energy it needs to function properly. When a person is dangerously ill, it is this link between the officials which starts to weaken and eventually breaks completely at the point of death. In five element terms, the weakened Kidney (the Water element no longer receiving energy from the Metal element) passes Aggressive Energy across the Ke cycle to the Heart. Looked at in terms of orthodox medicine, this represents kidney failure inevitably leading to cardiac failure.
We are not going against nature if we try to correct a H/W imbalance in a severely ill patient whenever we find it. We are just doing all we can to strengthen the Heart and make the patient as comfortable as possible. Eventually, the imbalance will not correct itself if the patient is too ill. This is when death takes over. The Heart will be telling us when it has had enough of life.
I always find it comforting to find the explanation for the onset of death in such clear five element terms, and I am grateful that we have such simple and powerful means in our hands to treat a potentially life-threatening condition in its early stages.