By Janice Walton-Hadlock, DAOM, L.Ac.
Note: The opinions reflected are solely the author’s and any claims are based on the practitioner’s views, and are not reflective of Eastern Currents.
You might be able to provide a complete cure for your asthma patient – a lasting cure, not just symptom relief.
In many cases of asthma, the root of the problem is that the patient doesn’t slip into an adequate degree of sympathetic mode (fight or flight) even though an increase in adrenaline release is called for.
Worse, the patient might slide into a completely different emergency breathing behavior: he might default into the infant neurological behavior that is supposed to be reserved for those life-threatening conditions in which the throat is supposed to slam shut: drowning or death from smoke inhalation.
In people with asthma, their danger signals fail to re-route the channel Qi into full-on sympathetic mode. This means their body doesn’t get a surge of adrenaline. Instead, their body might fall back on the other “emergency” behavior: the throat tightens up and even fills with phlegm.
In sympathetic mode, the Urinary Bladder (UB) channel is supposed to experience an increase in its amount of channel Qi. This increase is discussed in the Nei Jing under the title “The First Divergence.” Although the Nei Jing version has been badly translated and is even missing some crucial bits of ancient understanding, enough remains that you can match the Nei Jing version with what you can actually feel, using your hand to measure channel Qi, when you assess the flow of channel Qi in a patient who shifts into sympathetic mode.
What you will feel with your trained hand is this: when a person feels fear or rage, the amount of channel Qi in the UB channel is increased. The surge in UB channel flows directly over the spinal nerves, thus stimulating the nerves that activate sympathetic mode responses in all the internal organs.
When this elevated amount of UB channel Qi arrives at UB-40, at the back of the knee, the channel Qi is automatically re-routed into the Kidney channel.
Ordinarily, the full measure of UB channel Qi flows down to the feet and smallest toe, where it can ground out – the usual way of balancing the channel Qi load in the body. But when a surge of UB channel Qi roars down to the backs of the knees, it triggers a shunt, a “divergence” into the Kidney channels. The bolus of channel Qi roars up towards the kidneys and their adjacent adrenal glands. Arriving at the adrenal glands, this electrical surge triggers the release of extra adrenaline. This leads to an increase in heart rate and further opening of the bronchia…just as described in the First Divergence chapter.
But what happens if the shunt at UB-40 is stuck in the closed position? The adrenaline surge to the adrenal gland is not going to happen. The body might have to revert to the “alternative” emergency behavior: shutting down the bronchia.
What if some blockage or Stagnation is blocking the correct flow of UB channel Qi somewhere along the line? The UB channel won’t be able to support the increase in channel Qi flow that is needed to activate the UB-40 shunt.
What if a person has a blockage in his Kidney channel somewhere between the knee and the adrenal gland?
Any one of these situations can inhibit the correct sympathetic mode adrenal response and cause the throat-closing option to kick in. And every one of these situations can be rectified with judicious, correctly located treatment that zeroes in on the exact source of the problem.
In my practice, I have seen people completely recover from chronic asthma, both pediatric and adult.
There is no one “magic” point to fix the problem, of course. But you can learn to track the flow of channel Qi and find out where the blockage is occurring: why the First Divergence isn’t kicking in when it should.
I’ve had patients with blocked UB channel Qi that I’ve tracked back to a blow to the head. And UB blockage from an arm and shoulder injury (the aberrant Qi flow in the Small Intestine channel was creating chaotic flow in the UB at the level of the shoulder blade); from the UB channel veering off course on the upper leg since birth, flowing into the GB channel and contributing to clubbed foot, never arriving at UB-40 or going near to the Kidney channel shunt. I’ve seen the UB-40 shunt stuck in the “off” position from an injury. I’ve seen people with channel-blocking scars on the upper leg part of the Kidney channel.
Asthma is terrifying. Asthma can kill. Sometimes the drugs in the inhaler just don’t work quickly enough to save the person’s life. If you can help restore the patient’s flow of channel Qi so that the body can deliver adrenaline when needed, you might save a life.
A person has an almost infinite number of locations where the UB / Kidney channel Qi might be blocked. You might need to be a bit of a Sherlock Holmes: you’ll need to track the channel Qi to locate the channel blockage: the root cause. Then you need to fix it. And if that blockage was the source of your patient’s asthma, your patient can be completely cured.
Dr. Janice (“J.J.”) Walton-Hadlock, DAOM, LAc. is a professor at Five Branches University, in Santa Cruz, California, where she teaches Advanced Channel Theory, Yin Tui Na, Psychology and Counseling, and clinical instruction and supervision. She is the founder of the Parkinson’s Recovery Project, a non-profit devoted to dissemination of information about treating Parkinson’s disease using theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (www.pdrecovery.org).
Her books include Tracking the Dragon, an acupuncture text on advanced channel theory which includes lessons in how to detect, by hand, Channel Qi; Medications of Parkinson’s disease: Once Upon a Pill; and Recovery from Parkinson’s.
She’s had articles about her Parkinson’s disease research published in major English language journals of Chinese medicine including the Journal of Chinese Medicine and The American Journal of Acupuncture, and her “commentary” on Parkinson’s medications research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
She lectures internationally and maintains a private practice in Santa Cruz, California, but beats a retreat to the Vancouver, BC, area as often as possible.