the when of acupuncture

the when of acupuncture


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The Reunion of Wei Qi and Ying Qi


The Huang Di Neijing Ling Shu or celestial hinge expounds on the use of the fine needles (ch1 pg1). In this classic the utilization and deployment of wei qi is fully illuminated. In chapter 76 titled "Movements of Wei Energy (Wei Qi Xing)" the subtleties of the reunion of ying and wei qi are explained in full detail along with their places and times of meeting. Chapter 59 titled "Irregular Circulation of Wei Qi (Wei Qi Zhi Zhang)" fully explains how the intemperance and stress of modern living leads to suppresion and afflux. Chapter 60 titled "Inscriptions on Jade (Wu Ban)" discusses toxic tumors and explains the necessity of living in accordance with heaven and earth. Finally Chapter 81 titled "Abscesses and Tumors (Yung Ju)" of this classic allows for making the connection between the places of accumulation and their correlation to the places of reunion of ying and wei qi.

I have had the pleasure to hear the esteemed doctor Tran Viet Dzung lecture on this material as part of Institute Van Nghi USA in Spruce Pine NC. Here is the opening to his 5 day lecture on Immunology, Cancer and Wei Qi.

"The immune system has been a problem for 1000's of years so the old teachers attached a lot of importance to Wei energy, our body defense. Wei will heal but it will also kill us."

"When the wei is normal in its formation and circulation it protects us from hundreds of diseases. But when the Wei is abnormal, pathological in it's formation and circulation, it provokes hundreds of diseases, therefore all types of pathologies. Aids, cancer all this is immunology, wei."

During the course of this 5 day lecture Dr. Tran Viet Dzung explained the workings of wei qi in accordance to the work he has confirmed through clinical practice and in association with his mentor and teacher Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi. None of the concepts presented here are my own, all are available in the Ling Shu and as presented by Dr. Tran Viet Dzung and the commentary of Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi in the Ling Shu.

Movements of Wei Qi

The day from midnight to noon is governed by yang, the night from noon to midnight is governed by yin. The wei qi makes 25 circulations in the yang layers during the yang time of day and 25 circulations in the yin organs during the yin time of day. The ancients used the clepsydra or water clock to measure these movements, 50 ke in a day. This clepsydra was set to be in accordance with the rotation of the earth and it's relationships with the 28 constellations and in particular the sun- tracking apogee (solar midnight) and epigee (solar noon or zenith).

one of the more complicated and larger clepsydras

By dividing the 24 hour day into 50 segments we end up with periods of time 14 minutes and 24 seconds long. These divisions of time will follow the path of the sun or local solar time with the conversion from yang to yin being when the sun is at it's zenith.

Paths of Wei Qi during Yang Circulation

When the wei qi circulates in the yang it circulates at three levels and returns along a fourth.

The wei qi starts at the external canthus of the eye and: 

  1. Descends along the foot Tai Yang BL to Bl67 and the hand tai yang SI to SI 1 
  2. Descends along the foot shaoyang GB to GB 44 and the hand shaoyang SJ to SJ 1 
  3. Descends along the footh yangming ST to St 45 and from the back of the ear the hand yangming LI to LI 1 
  4. When it reaches the foot it penetrates into the sole Ki 1 and returns via the Yin Qiao Mai back to Bl 1.

This completes one cycle or zhou during the yang part of the day.

Paths of Wei Qi during Yin Circulation

When the wei qi circulates in the yin it follows the energetic phasic ke cycle or controlling cycle from each organ to the next.
  • From the Kidney the wei qi passes to the Heart 
  • From the Heart the wei qi passes to the Lung 
  • From the Lung the wei qi passes to the Liver 
  • From the Liver the wei qi passes to the Spleen 
  • From the Spleen the wei qi passes back to the Kidney 

This completes on cycle or zhou during the yin part of the day.

Pathology of Root and Summit Points (Ben Jiao)

  • When the root is empty there is an emptiness of yang energy and cold. 
  • When the root is full there is perverse heat and a sensation of heat. 
  • When the summit is empty this immobilizes the yang and Wei and there is vertigo. 
  • When the summit is full there is perverse fever and a painful sensation of heat.

Sites of Reunion - Root and Summit Points (Ben Jiao)



Lower "reunion" pts. (root)


Upper "reunion" pts. (summit)

1. Foot Taiyang Bl Area between the heel

Fuyang Bl 59

Fuyang Bl 59 Ocular zone “Mingmen” Jingming Bl 1
2. Foot Shaoyang GB Ext. area of the 4th toe “Shaoyang” region Qiaoyin GB 44 Area loc. in front of the ear “Jong Long” Tinggong SI 19

GB 3

3. Foot Shaoyin Ki Area loc. on inner leg betw. Sp 6 & Sp 8 Fuliu Ki 7

Jiaoxin Ki 8

Back “shu” are and submental zone Shensh Bl 23

Lianquan CV 23

4. Foot Jueyin Li Area betw. Li 2 & Li 4 Zhongfong Li 4 Back “shu” area Ganshu Bl 18
5. Foot Yangming St Ext. area of the 2nd toe  Lidui zone Lidui St 45 Submaxillary area Renyin zone Renyin St 9
6. Foot Taiyin Sp Area loc. betw. Zhongjing Li 4 and Sanyinjiao Sp 6 Sanyinjiao Sp 6 Back “shu” area & sublingual zone Pishu Bl 20

Lianquan CV 23

7. Hand Taiyang  SI Area belo ulnar styloid   Yanglao zone Yanglao SI 6 Area above Jingming New point –PN 1 above and lateral to Bl 1 ~.5c
8. Hand Shaoyang SJ Interphalangeal area 4th/5th finger ext. to internal part of tip of 4th finger Yemen SJ 2 Area of the external canthus of the eye Sizhukong SJ 23
9. Hand Yangming LI Area loc. betw. Elbow LI 11 & LI 14 Qucho LI 11

Binao  LI 14

Frontal area below ear Touwei zone Touwei St 8
10. Hand Taiyin Lu Area of the “inch” pulse Taiyuan Lu 9 Brachial area inside and at the level of Binao  LI 14 Tianfu Lu 3
11. Hand Shaoyin He Area loc. on int. edge of pisiform on flexion of the wrist Shenmen zone Shenmen He 7 Back “shu” area Xinshu Bl 15
12. Hand Jueyin XB Area loc. betw. 2 tendons at middle of ant. Crease of wrist Daling zone Daling XB 7

B.               XB 6

Area loc. in 4th intercostals space 1 distance outside the breast Tianchi  XB 1
Taken from page 352 of Chapter 76: Lingshu Huangdi Neijing. Nguyen Van Nghi, Tran Viet Dzung et Recours Nguyen C., 1994. Translated by Dr. Ed Garbacz and Dr. Sean Christian Marshall (not yet published), adapted from Tran Viet Dzung Spruce Pine conference 2003. pdf version of this table

Production of Wei Qi mobilized by heated organic liquids at the level of the lower jiao

Once the pure energy is removed from the food bolus at the level of the stomach it is sent to the Small Intestine. The Small Intestine separates this bolus into jin (pure) and ye (impure). The pure is sent to the Kidneys and the impure to the Large Intestine this is the first bifurcation. The Large Intestine excretes the impure as feces and send the pure to the Kidneys this is the second bifurcation. The Kidney sends the pure to the Liver and the impure to the bladder this is the third bifurcation. The bladder excretes the impure as urine and sends the pure to the Gall Bladder this is the fourth bifurcation. The liver sends the impure to the Gall Bladder and the pure is evaporated off by ministerial fire to create wei qi.

Therapeutic Application

Because the wei qi is dependent on both the correct working of the Lower Jiao particullarly the Kidneys and the Liver these need to be suplemented if deficient. The wei qi circulates outside the principal channels and it's primary impetus for circulation is the movement of ying so the Lungs, Upper Jiao or Tong qi (CV 17, CV 6) may need suplementing if deficient as well.

Because the wei qi circulates at the surface, when working with the wei qi the needles are very superficial and penetrate just past the epidermis to the top layers of the dermis (the needles often flop over with their own weight).

By consulting the wei qi calculator the calculations for local solar time are made so that you will know the reunion of the ying and wei qi. The ying qi (yin) nourishes the wei qi (yang) and the wei qi protects the ying qi. When the army (wei qi) is not fed it rebels and attacks the host hence problems with immunology.

The Root and Summit points associated with a given time are not meant to be used in isolation but in conjunction with a complete treatment that takes into consideration the production and circulation of both ying and wei qi. But most importantly balances the treatment with the needs of the patient.

There are two basic methods of using given times. One select the time of appointment to correspond to organ systems you wish to work with. Two use the root and summit points that are currently "open" unless they seem contraindicated by the current condition.

If your patient is having reacurrent cyclical issues it may also be helpful to have them keep a journal of date and time and then look at the energies for these times and see if there are any correlations. If there is a pattern then try to determine what energy is in deficiency or excess during this time to determine a therapeutic strategy.

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