By Jace Lee
About 14 years ago I discovered Chi for myself and developed it into a complete system of Chi cultivation and healing; Qiyoda. Doing this has given me insight as to how Chi arts actually function and how they may have been invented and developed. When I speak of Chi cultivation and use, I mean I cultivate and use it directly, like a tool I hold in my hand. In my years of practicing Chi and using it to heal I find that using Chi is extremely effective. I just push Chi into an effected area and tension is released and healing promoted. Since this is so effective, I couldn’t understand the use of needles and how it is that they move Chi.
When I first discovered that I could move Chi, I was practicing a meditation where I was trying to move every muscle in my body with my mind. I noticed that some muscles were hard to feel and I couldn’t move them. So, I used my finger to help bring some sensation to the area and it worked. This made me realize that it is not so much the finger that is doing the healing. It is only providing some sensation so I can get my mind into that area. I told this to my Sensei, who can see energy, and he confirmed it. This means that technically we don’t need to touch to create healing in our body, we just need to get our mind there. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and requires different techniques to aid in this. Techniques like massage, stretching and acupuncture. The main point to highlight here is the fact that the finger was only a way to get the mind/Chi to the area so it can release, relax and restore proper function and the body can heal itself. This is how acupuncture needles move Chi, it is a way for areas and points to get stimulated in a way that brings the patients mind/Chi to that area.
Being that 2,000 years ago people did not understand what modern medicine does today, about what needles do to the body. We can rule this out for reasons why acupuncture was invented. One day I asked my Sensei what the difference is between using a needle and a finger. He said in his deep gravelly voice, “You can put the needle in and walk away, ha ha ha!” It took me awhile to understand this. People only have two hands and can only employ the use of a few fingers at a time and they must be in close proximity. Which might create a need for something that can be used in place of a finger, if more points need to be stimulated at the same time. Or if someone was working on themselves, they could use the needles. Perfectly logical. My question would be, could they use something else that could just stick to the skin to provide the physical sensation? Needles are very invasive.
Some points require the use of a finger for long periods of time. Once I was helping my Sensei with some body work. He had me hold pressure on a single point on his arm for 30 minutes while he did other work in his body. This can get tiring and be time consuming. 2 and 3,000 years ago I don’t think they had many good adhesives that could hold up to gravity for a long time. Oils like mint and menthol could work but would get expensive. People needed something that would stay on and be reusable. Like a needle thin enough not to hurt but still provide the sensation that is needed to bring mind/Chi to that area seems to be the logical choice.
To me this makes sense, especially if a person is very good with using meridians and acupoints. Needles can be useful for areas of the body that are hard to reach or awkward to hold for a long period. So, instead of having me hold a point for 30 minutes, my Sensei could have used a needle. But I still think the healing Chi of a person is still more powerful. But that is it, super simple and logical. This is probably the only theory out there right now.
When I looked up these questions all I could find is information about what modern medicine has discovered about the body’s response to the needles and information about its history. When it was invented and the possible evidence. There is no information about how it works, other than “moving Chi.” Which no one can really explain. So here is a very good and logical explanation answering both questions. I truly feel that if people understood Chi, acupressure would be more popular and integrated into acupuncture. I don’t understand why Chinese medicine schools teach massage and acupuncture separately but there are no dual programs integrating the two. I am hoping that with the understanding of Chi that Qiyoda offers, this will change.