Daoist Immortal Taiyi Acupuncture (道門仙家太一針灸術)
Acupuncture is a bright pearl among the various disciplines within traditional Chinese medicine. It uses traditional Chinese medical theories as its basis, and is a clinical study that uses the insertion of needles and moxibustion for the prevention and treatment of illnesses. Its four components include the meridians, acupuncture points, needles and moxibustion and clinical treatment. Acupuncture is an integral part of Chinese medicine; it works quickly, effectively and is convenient to use. It has been widely accepted and taken seriously by medical practitioners and the people through the ages.
In the course of labouring to produce food, our ancient ancestors also had to contend with natural disasters, wild animals and diseases; they started practicing healing and health protection activities, mainly through efforts to improve the conditions of their daily lives. In this, the discovery and use of fire was particularly significant. According to research, acupuncture started in ancient Chinese clan communities (15,000 – 10,000 years ago) towards the end of the Palaeolithic Age. Initially, it was merely a personal self-preservation activity. By the Neolithic Age (8,000 to 4,000 years ago), it had developed into an interpersonal activity with treatment of diseases as its defined goal. From this, it can be seen that acupuncture has a very long history; even then, there was already the use of sharpened stone needles for making incisions to relieve swellings, draining pus or for bloodletting. During the Neolithic Age, there was the use of sharpened stone needles for the treatment of illnesses and legends of Fu Xi’s (伏羲) invention of the “Nine Needling Methods” date from this period. Acupuncture as we know it, was already in its embryonic stage.
The long development of acupuncture is closely related to the developments of science and technology in human history. This is evident from the changes acupuncture implements have undergone over the thousands of years. The development from sharpened stone needles, to bronze needles, to iron, gold and silver needles, and finally to modern stainless steel needles mirrors the progression from Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age to modern times. Implements used in moxibustion also show a similar development — during and before the Ming Dynasty, only earthenware or bamboo was used; by the Qing Dynasty, there were special moxibustion covers, plates and cups; nowadays, a variety of moxibustion tools are available.
The development of acupuncture over the last several thousands of years is the culmination of the efforts of generations of acupuncturists in putting theories into practice, in seeking improvement in both theory and technique, in writing special texts devoted to the subject, and in the experience accumulated from clinical use. This has enabled acupuncture to gain wide acceptance. Acupuncture is not only a unique, external, natural treatment within Chinese medicine; it has also influenced medical studies in the world. It has a special place in the highly-developed field of world medicine; it is studied and practiced by many medical practitioners all over the world.
Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese healing method, has two main sub-categories – the use of needles and the use of moxibustion. The acupuncturist mainly uses filiform needle (毫針) to stimulate the tissues between the skin and the periosteum; the acupuncturist also manipulates the needles to attain needle sensation, so that healing is achieved. Manipulating the needle is the foundation of needle treatment techniques. This includes not only training the fingers and sensing the qi (energy), but also pricking and insertion of the needle, locating the needle sensation, adjustment, stimulation, combining breathing and focus, needle retention and needle withdrawal. The choice of technique has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of the treatment. There are many factors that determine the success of acupuncture as a healing method, but, ultimately, it hinges on the techniques used. For this reason, acupuncturists through the ages have given serious study to the techniques. There are, in all, several hundred needling techniques.
Moxibustion uses different temperatures to stimulate the skin in order to bring about non-injury type or injury type changes in the tissues of the skin so that healing takes place. The adjustment and control of the temperature and acupuncture points is the key to the effectiveness of the treatment.
The use of needles or moxibustion to stimulate the acupuncture points for the purpose of healing is based on traditional Chinese medical principles on the meridians, the main and collateral channels. The two can be used separately to attain the same goal (each having the same healing effect as the other on the same illness), or used as complements (using both methods at the same time increases the effectiveness of the treatment), or singly (some ailments can only be treated by one of the two methods, and the two methods are not interchangeable). In whichever case, both methods can be applied to a range of illnesses, are convenient to use and are highly effective. This underlies the popularity of acupuncture with the masses over the thousands of years.
“Immortal Taiyi Acupuncture” is distinct from other Chinese medicine acupuncture methods in that it is rooted in Daoist philosophy and the theories of Chinese medicine. On the one hand, the needling techniques are based on the acupuncture theories in “Huangdi Neijing” (黃帝內經), but it elevates the healing functions of acupuncture to the level of immortality training, to unlocking the potential in the human body to become immortal. “Immortal Taiyi Acupuncture” was secretly passed down by generations of Daoist medical practitioners through thousands of years. It is extensive and substantial. It allows quick adjustment of the internal organs and clearing of the meridians and collateral channels, it works both internally and externally. It can be used for health protection as well as treatment; as well, it enhances the appearance of the body and the face. It is a healing method that is particularly suited to the modern world where individual effort is emphasized.
The study of “Immortal Taiyi Acupuncture” includes a range of topics that are arranged in order of difficulty. It elevates the art of the “golden needle” to the art of the “immortal needle.” The topics include Daoist basic needle technique, the principles of needling techniques, the principles of using trigger points, Xuan Nine Needle Techniques 玄針九絕針法 (head, nose, face, mouth, ear, upper back, wrists, ankles, and the body), Heluo Needle Technique (河洛針法), Taiji Needle Technique (太極針法), Five Elements Needle Technique (五行針法), Shushu Needle Technique (術數針法), Bagua Eye Needle Technique (八卦眼針), Jiugong Navel Needle Technique (九宮臍針), Taiyi Wulei Needle Technique (太乙五雷), Wuji Energy Needle Technique (無極氣針), Shenjen Xinchuan (神針心傳), Taiyi Moxibustion (太乙神灸), Taiyi Navel Smoking Technique (太乙薰臍), Eight Immortals Steaming Moxibustion (八仙逍遙蒸氣灸), Connecting Meridians Technique (接氣通經大誘法) and Heaven and Earth Open Meridians Technique (乾坤大變經法).