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by David Ackerman, D.C.
One of my pet peeves is how we humans often wait until we feel awful or have been given a diagnosis before we do something to restore our health. We know everybody gets sick and eventually dies, yet we rarely take steps to prevent or delay the inevitable.
I am pleased to have been invited to write a column on holistic health for the horse guardian. My obsession with natural healing methods began in 1973 when as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan; I took a workshop with Dr. John Christopher, the herbalist who founded Natures’ Way herbal formulas. Nearly 40 years later I remain a passionate innovator of new techniques in healing as Dr. George Goodheart (muscle testing), Dr. John Pierrakos (Core Energetics), Dolores Krieger (Therapeutic Touch), Dr. Scott Walker (NET) and Barbara Brennan, author of Hands of Light.
Since 1997 my practice has included homeopathy, Chinese and western herbs, flower remedies, color therapy, clinical nutrition and acupuncture. In 1991, I studied in China as a member of a medical educational exchange program. During that time I observed acupuncture anesthesia for three surgical procedures, medical Qi Gong, herbal and acupuncture treatments at Chinese hospitals.
Besides offering practical self-care advice, I intend that this column will produce a paradigm shift in the reader’s perception of the mind-body connection. As caregivers to our animals, it’s extremely important we be as balanced in mind, body and spirit as possible because we do affect those creatures in our care. In future columns I will discuss topics ranging from emotions in Chinese medicine and the adrenal glands to psychoneuroimmunology and the chakras.
As animal caregivers, it’s extremely important we be as balanced in mind, body and spirit as possible because we do affect those creatures in our care. In future columns I will discuss topics ranging from emotions in Chinese medicine and the adrenal glands to psychoneuroimmunology and the chakras.
Prevention-The Best Form of Self-Care
One of my pet peeves is how we humans often wait until we feel awful or have been given a diagnosis before we do something to restore our health. We know everybody gets sick and eventually dies, yet we rarely take steps to prevent or delay the inevitable. It takes pain or sickness to motivate us. The wisdom of Chinese medicine teaches that it is preferable to maintain order rather than correct disorder.
Acupressure - A Gift of Healing Touch
One of the safest, least time-consuming, most effective and pill-free forms of self-care is acupressure. In western terms, acupressure adjusts physiological processes through activation of the homeostatic function of the autonomic nervous system. In this issue we will cover location and indications for use of four of the most powerful and commonly used acupuncture points: Large Intestine 4, Liver 3, Stomach 36, and Spleen 6.
Acupoints can be stimulated by finger pressure, laser, colored light, tapping with fingers, and more. One of my favorite methods is to click a ball point pen 22 times on the acupoint. When using finger pressure, stimulate points with gentle pressure in a clockwise motion using either the pad or the tip of the thumb, index finger, or middle finger for 30-60 seconds. When treating pain, use a harder, irritating pressure for a longer time. Otherwise, pressure can vary from light to heavy depending on the individual.
Large Intestine 4, or Hegu, is located between the thumb and index finger in the web. Popular for its ability to prevent and resolve headaches, Large Intestine 4 is also good for neck pain and stiffness; shoulder pain and tightness; arthritis of the hand, wrist, or elbow; sinus problems; sore throat; tooth pain; and abdominal pain from constipation.
Tip: To be effective, acupoint location needs to be within the radius of a dime from the correct location.
Liver 3 is the best point for liver detoxification and, since it is the livers job to break down all undesirable chemicals that come from our diet and environment, and to manufacture the enzymes required for chemical reactions, this amazing organ deserves some TLC. Liver 3 is located 1 to 1-1/2 inches up from the web between the great toe and the second toe. Liver 3 is good for headaches related to toxicity or allergies, insomnia, upper abdominal pain, PMS, excessive uterine bleeding, depression from unexpressed anger and resentment, and moves liver chi stagnation. Liver chi stagnation was an uncommon condition in China 4000 years ago, but today is very common as it translates to stress.
Doing acupressure on Large Intestine 4 and Liver 3 on the left and the right is known as “opening the four gates” and detoxifies the whole body. If you don’t have time for all four points, just do Large Intestine 4 and Liver 3 on the right, as the liver is located on the right and the right side of the large intestine is usually more toxic than the left, since the left is closer to the exit.
Tip: Please remember that, although the meridians are named after organs, they are different than the organ and may affect physiology other than that organ’s physiology.
Stomach 36 is called the 100-year point, because it is supposed to make you live a century. To locate this point, cup your palm over your kneecap while sitting - where the tip of your ring finger lands is Stomach 36. This point strengthens the immune system. Blood tests performed before and after Stomach 36 stimulation reveal an increased white blood cell count. It is good for stomach pain, indigestion, cough, knee pain, and poor circulation in the legs and feet. Stomach 36 is good for weakness following a chronic illness.
Spleen 6 is located four finger-widths up from the inside ankle bone. It is good for all types of menstrual difficulties, yeast infection, and PMS. Since there is not a pancreas meridian in acupuncture, all of the functions of the pancreas, including digestive enzyme secretion and blood sugar regulation are under the direction of the spleen meridian. Therefore, Spleen 6 has a beneficial effect on digestion, blood sugar levels, and diabetes. Spleen 6 is used to remedy headaches, those associated with menses, hormonal disorders, and as well as headaches resulting from hypoglycemia.
Tip: Stomach 36 and Spleen 6 are often stimulated together for many of the conditions they treat.
Large Intestine 4 and Spleen 6 are two acupuncture points that are contraindicated during pregnancy. They are both capable of causing uterine contractions that could lead to a miscarriage. The only appropriate use of Large Intestine 4 or Spleen 6 during pregnancy would be to avoid a C-section by using these points to induce labor after the water has already broken.
Don’t wait until sickness or stress sidelines you – instead, act preventatively and provide self-care through the use of acupressure.
Look for a new holistic human health topic in your next issue of Natural Horse.
About the author:
Dr. David Ackerman has practiced chiropractic and acupuncture on two-legged’s since 1979. He is a kinesiologist, Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) practitioner, and a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Dr. Ackerman currently practices at The Verde Valley Wellness Center in Cottonwood, AZ. www.drdavidackerman.com
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