If you can’t find Chinese meridians and acupuncture points in between those cell structures of muscle tissue, fascia, bone and sinew, then do they exist? Western science has tended to say no. I’ve been reviewing my notes in preparation for the upcoming Integrative Healing Yoga Therapy course here at Pavones Yoga Center and came upon a fascinating reminder. Edward Yang, MD adapted an MRI machine to measure acoustic waves in tissue in order to study the effects of acupuncture. What he discovered is no surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of being stuck with a handful of strategically placed tiny needles. Dr. Yang found that when a needle is placed on a non-acupuncture point, an acoustic wave only extends a tiny bit around the point. When, however, a needle is placed on an acupuncture point, the acoustic wave travels all along the meridian of that point in both directions.
Because western science mostly studies the human body in terms of little concrete box-structures of cells that build up to create everything else, it tends not to see the body as a fluid liquid form composed of subtle energy lines with the capacity to shape-shift and transform dynamically like water. Just as in the famous vase/face drawing: both realities are there but you can only see one form at a time. When western science defines the body as composed of cells etc, we usually discount (or worse, discredit) any other possibility, even when other possibilities exist alongside the others. It isn’t that one version is true and the other isn’t.
The more yogic answer (also the more dynamic, exciting and multidimensional answer) is that both realities are true. One of our tasks as yogis is to develop a capacity to hold just this kind of paradox. This means we shouldn’t discount western science and the gifts that this kind of medicine has given, but neither should we try to discredit ancient eastern wisdom and the long lineage of healing that comes out of that lineage.
Thanks for stopping by, it’s been a while since my last post and I’ve missed writing. I’m excited to begin another round of yoga teacher trainings but it means another absence from the Salty Dog. This month Ray Long (of the Bandha Yoga Anatomy books) is with us at Pavones Yoga Center for The Anatomy of The Self yoga teacher training (that program is already full but check out our July yoga teacher training and stay tuned for a very special Yoga For Scoliosis retreat in the works for December 2014.)