Pain is a severe phenomena, a decidedly unpleasant set of sensations that motivates us very strongly. It is estimated that Americans spend over $100 billion a year for dealing with all aspects of pain, including medication, therapy and lost time at work.According to Western science, pain is associated with the mechanism of complex interrelationships in the nervous system. These include defective transmission of impulses in the spinal cord; the malfunction of the thalamus; misinterpretation of signals by the higher brain centers; neuropeptide substance variations; and the emotions derived from cultural aspects or the history of personal programming. In contrast, the traditional Asian medical system relates pain to short-term or long-standing blockages in the flow and integrity of blood, vital energy (qi), and unknown spiritual substances within the circulatory networks of the body. There is truth in both views, and we may consider pain to be a kind of urgent alarm to the body-mind-spirit entity, which is trying to express that the energy is out of balance in the network systems, and is "looking" for correction to maintain well-being, homeostasis, or even life itself.
Pain can be useful, and may be a life-saving device at times because it alerts us to take urgent precaution and action for survival and self-healing. Yet in many instances, pain becomes a self-perpetuating experience that remains long after the actual damage to the body is resolved. For instance, in some cases of fibromyalgia or neuropathy, severe pain can arise when there are no apparent injuries present. It is these chronic pain cases that most challenge the Western pain paradigm.
One of the great contributions traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has made is its understanding of both the root and branch of pain (and other disorders). In its simplest form, the "disease root" refers to underlying causative factors that predispose a patient to pain. Although the "disease root" may have multiple underlying causative factors, it usually refers to a single causative factor. These may involve long-standing emotional upsets and repression; viral or parasitic effects; organ imbalances; unresolved old injuries; heredity or Karmic* past influence, and malnutrition effects (with expression of organ imbalance or imbalances). We deploy high-tech meridian diagnostic equipment for testing for these today. In terms of pain, the "branch" refers to the actual sensations of pain related to restricted range of motion, visible swelling, and joint degeneration or vertebral misalignment. The sensation of pain can be associated with any dysfunctional bodily system, not just the nervous system.
The meridian system is a network of information highways, through which photons (also known as light particles) and electrons travel. The network is similar to fiber optics, and emanation from the network creates the aura, or biospectrum field. The sensation of pain is related to the improper flow of particles in this optical pathway system. It is largely an echo-like resonant effect of light particles.
We may say there are two pathologic levels at which the body's meridian optical system may become disturbed or partially shut down, leading to various levels of pain. One is the physiologic level; the other is the informational level. The physiologic level refers to the functioning ability of the tissues and organs, and biochemistry. This level is largely orchestrated by electrical feedback systems. The informational level is one of subtle energy regulation and communication, and is based primarily on light transmission. These profound photon feedback systems can be verified by measurement of the biospectrum, and can be photographed with an aura camera. Research has shown that all living things communicate with each other in an environment of electromagnetic field resonance and light radiation. Please see the first part of this series and its bibliography in the July issue of Acupuncture Today for more information on this subject.
Western pain treatments focus almost exclusively on physiologic treatment. For instance, analgesic drugs stimulate biochemical reactions which reduce inflammation; block nerve impulses; and switch pain-controlling centers in the brain and spinal cord. Physiologic nondrug approaches include physical therapy; spinal manipulation; electro-therapy; and surgical removal of nerve cells. These approaches often interfere with the subtle balance of the light informational systems. Acupuncture and moxibustion are very complex subjects of study that may work through both the physiologic and informational levels. Further research is required to understand this relationship. Acupuncture can also work on an informational level via the energetic rapport between practitioner and patient, in which the practitioner communicates his or her clear qi through the needles or direct biofield interface. Much of the healing interaction between practitioner and patient is on the basis of light communication. Externally fed colored light therapy is the treating technology that most directly informs the body's subtle energy. Colored light influences the disease root aspects of pain in an authentic way as overcoming the obstacle.
Both physiologic and informational therapeutics are valuable for different levels of pain control and pain-related illness. I have researched ways of combining these therapies, and have designed a probe device that delivers microcurrent and colored light beam simultaneously onto acupoints and disease-affected regions. Using this approach, I have had great success in treating many patients who have pain-related diseases and have suffered from recalcitrant pain conditions, often addressing both the diseased root and branch of their imbalance in particle flow. Following are some clinical examples from the practices of myself and Dr. Leong, in which we used this new energy medicine method. I based my selection of color light on both time-tested clinical indications for each color, confirmed with O-ring muscle testing (kinesiology).
Case #1: Female, age 55, shoulder pain. The patient complained of chronic pain with restricted range of motion in the left scapular region, which had not improved by massage or manipulation. She received two treatments, after which the pain was 95 percent reduced and movement was much easier.
Treatment 1: Noticing that she had leg-length imbalance, which I suspected was contributing to the shoulder pain, I used microcurrent and colored light extraordinarily. Confluent points of the dai mai/yang wei vessels were treated as follows: negative microcurrent on GB 41 on long leg, positive probe on TW 5 on opposite arm. The light color used was green, for wood element and energetic balance. Next, I used the positive probe on SI 3 and the negative probe on the same side UB 62, bilaterally. The light color used was blue, for water element and anti-inflammatory effects. Treatment time was 20 seconds per set of points. After this treatment, the patient's legs were the same length. Next, I used the positive probe on the painful shoulder area points, with the negative probe on the Mandel shoulder point on the lower abdomen, also using blue color light. This point is two fingerwidths above the navel, about two fingerwidths to the right or left. Palpate for the most sensitive point. During the course of treatment, the patient and I intuitively connected with a root cause of her pain - she was "shouldering" the burden of a disempowering belief in suffering, passed down through many generations of women in her ancestry. In this heightened state of awareness, the session opened, and she made a decision to not carry the burden any longer.
Treatment 2: The patient reported feeling about "90 percent better" over the two weeks since the first session, and only needed a tune-up. Microcurrent with yellow light was used to relieve stagnation in the lymphatics, giving further relief to the shoulder. (Starwynn)
Case #2: Female, age 37, knee pain. After a day of hiking, the patient had severe pain in the lateral left knee, around the area of the fibular head. The pain made walking difficult. I used local and distal acupuncture needles for first aid, which reduced the pain about 50 percent, but walking was still difficult. The next day, I applied polarized microcurrent and light, using the positive probe on several painful knee points and the negative probe applied to Li 11 and PC 6 on the opposite arm. After this, I applied the positive probe to UB 40 on the back of the knee, with the negative probe on the Mandel knee point on the front of the opposite shoulder. (I palpated for the most sensitive point.) The patient muscle-tested strongly for turquoise color light, which has both anti-inflammatory and energy-balancing effects. This was applied with the probe treatment on all points. The probes were then set to biphasic and used to treat sets of local knee points with the "circling the dragon" technique. Excellent relief was noted. (Starwynn)
Case #3: Male, age 51, hernia pain. The patient is a security guard for a casino and an athletic person. After his daily two-mile run over a period of time, he developed an intestinal hernia. A CT was taken in a hospital, and a medical doctor recommended surgery. He had acute pain in the abdominal area, and the hernia was visible as it protruded and lowered to the right side of the abdominal wall, three inches below the belly button. With such an emergency, first aid acupuncture was needed and a belly brace was given to the patient for immediate use. The acupuncture points were St 36; St 43; LI 5; LI 11; Ren 12; Lv 2; Lv 4; and Lv 13, with bilateral insertions of 16 needles. In association with this, the microcurrent electro-light probes were used, with orange-, then blue-colored lights onto the auricle zero point bilaterally. The zero point is an "all-timer," with extremely good pain-killing effects on abdominal disturbances. The blue light is a good distal pain reliever, and has an effect of detoxification. The orange light is a good messenger for taking the information flows to the liver-governed zone, and is typically applied onto the auricle's stomach and zero points. The orange light works like the orange peel in Materia Medica. The microcurrent probes were set to a relatively strong setting of 150 µA at 80 Hz to curb the pain. The patient reported 95 percent pain relief subjectively. The patient was advised to wear the abdominal belt for no less than four weeks to keep the small intestine in place.
At the second visit on the second day, the patient reported 80 percent relief of pain. I then treated a new hernia point I discovered, situated at the right side, half an inch from the side of the scrotum. This acupoint is good for the application of microcurrent light therapies for intestinal hernia use. The light selected was magenta. I probed deep into the pubic bone to re-establish the texture and strength of the muscles at the bottom of the abdomen using simultaneous application of light and microcurrent. I treated tian shu (St 25); da heng (Sp 15); xing jian (Lv 2); zu san li (St 36); and the last acupoint of the Spleen meridian, da bao (Sp 21) with needles, along with electro-light microcurrent probe work, with green, yellow and red-colored lights respectively, for 18 seconds for each colored light. The different colored lights were used as such: green for nerve recovery; yellow for rebuilding muscle; and red for self-adjustment of the small intestine.
The patient reported the hernia was about to be resolved on the fifth office visit, as he only felt a little dull pain after eating each meal. He started to request a release from wearing the brace at this point. There was no intensity of pain after the 11th office visit. (Leong)
Case #4: Male, age 56, scrotum dermatitis. The patient was diagnosed over 48 years ago, since he was eight years old. He has been treated by doctors of all kinds, but his problem has never resolved. Scrotum dermatitis is considered within the category of deficient qi in Oriental medicine. The mechanism of such an illness is allergies to agents of all kinds, such as cotton and nylon pants. I treated him with microcurrent and turquoise-colored light on a simplified set of points on a trial basis only. The acupoints selected were Lv 2 and Lv 4, for two reasons: first, lower treating for higher illnesses; second, the Liver meridian travels around the genitalia. Before treatment, his meridians were tested using the Acutron Mentor for accuracy and reference purposes, and the same device was used for microcurrent treatment. Most of the time, the tests showed the Liver and Stomach meridians in excess. Points ST 40 or ST 41 were selected at different times to reduce the wetness, or disease root, being produced. The polarized probes of the device were placed on Lv 2 at positive and Lv 4 at negative, or Lv 2 at positive and ST 40 or ST 41 at negative.
Localized treatment of the whole scrotum was added, dividing it into about 40 regions, using biphasic probes placed side-by-side. This is often called the "circling the dragon" pattern. Each set of two points was treated for 18 seconds, treated three times each. Current was set at 150 µA at 80 Hz, and was used with the colored light probe simultaneously. The color selected was turquoise, which has been well tested for skin irritability conditions. Turquoise looks like a tortoise with rough skin, and is, in fact, a great wetness reduction agent. The abovementioned reasons were also the reasons for using turquoise here. I then treated with the green and yellow colors again. Green is a good repairer of nerve cells and yellow is the "great builder" of tissues, including the cuticle skin cells. The patient felt much relief from itching immediately after the first treatment, with continued reduction with each subsequent treatment. The patient reported a 75 percent reduction in itching subjectively at the fifth office visit and treatment. He was cured during the eighth office visit and treatment session, so he was released for good. (Leong)
*Karma is a Sanskrit word that refers to highly charged and unresolved personal issues from the past that cause suffering or recurrent life lessons in the present. It is believed to be due to a law of cause and effect. Many chronic pain patients are somatizing guilt and self-punishment in their bodies from remembered or unconscious past experiences.
- Peter Mandel is a German pioneer in the field of color therapies. See his website for available books and articles: www.colorpuncture.com/articles.html.
- Microcurrent Electro-Acupuncture by Darren Starwynn, Desert Heart Press, 2002.
- The Body Electric by Robert Becker, Bear and Sons, 1985.
- Light Years Ahead by Brian Breiling and Bethany Argisle, Celestial Arts, 1996, available through Amazon.com
- Color Me Healing by Jack Allanch, available from Amazon.com.
- Let There Be Light by Darius Dinshah, Dinshah Health Society (available at www.dinshahhealth.org)
- Information on therapeutic effects of colors and methods of application can be found online at www.eastwestmed.com/color.
Click here for more information about Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc.