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A Superior Clinician Understands Transmission: Disease Progression as Seen Through the Jing Luo

by Nicholas Sieben

The Chinese medical classics emphasize the importance in understanding disease "transmission." It is not enough to view a condition in its present state; one must understand its root and terminations, as well as potential progression. Book 2, Chapter 5 of the Jia Yi Jing states "If one does not understand root and termination, knowledge of acupuncture is deeply severed.” The foundational texts of classical Chinese medicine, namely the Shang Han Lun and Nei Jing devote much time to discussion of disease transmission.

The Ling Shu makes use of the "Jing-Luo" (Channels and Collaterals) to teach disease progression. The acupuncture channels are tools for treatment. They are also philosophical statements about physiology and pathology. Shang Han Lun is a treatise on disease progression. The Primary Channels, as taught by the Ling Shu, are also a treatise on disease progression. They are not presented as segmented entities in the Ling Shu; they are seen as a continuum, representing the pathological process: from the most external condition to the deepest and most serious. Instead of viewing disease progression in terms of "zones”: Tai Yang, Shao Yang and Yang Ming, as Shang Han Lun does; the Ling Shu views disease progression through the Primary Channels as they are coupled into Metal, Earth, Fire, Water, Fire and Wood: Lung to Liver.

During the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) when the Nei Jing and Shang Han Lun were compiled, wind and cold were seen as primary causes of external pathology. Heat, damp, dryness and summer heat were considered transformations of wind and cold, and therefore seen as secondary. Within the Ling Shu, the Lung Channel is representative of a wind-cold condition; therefore it is designated the first channel within the Primary Channel continuum. The transformation of wind-cold into wind-heat or wind-damp is represented by the second channel in the continuum: the Large Intestine. Penetration into the interior, creating an "excess” internal condition is represented by the Stomach Channel. Taxation on qi and blood are represented by the Spleen and Heart Channels, respectively.

At the level of the Small Intestine, a curious event occurs within the body. The pathogen gets absorbed into the deeper terrain of the body: into a state of latency. The level of the Small Intestine represents a blood stasis state. It also introduces the concept of latency. The points Quanliao - SI 18 "Cheekbone Liao” and Bingfeng – SI 12 "Grasping the Wind” represent absorption of an unresolved pathogenic factor into the bones, as represented by the scapula and cheekbone. From the Ling Shu Primary Channel discussion, it is suggested that latency involves the blood and bones.

Latency hides a pathogenic factor. This is the stage where conditions become insidious and mysterious. The immune system of the body may be over-acting, or the humors of the body continually deficient, yet the cause may be unclear. A viral or bacterial agent may not show up in Western blood tests during a state of latency. By understanding disease progression however, a Chinese Medical practitioner may be able to explain the mysterious symptoms. Many such "mysterious” symptoms are attributed to the Luo Vessels and Divergent Channels: two channel systems that deal with latency via the blood and bones.

A classical Chinese acupuncturist might argue that knowledge of the Primary Channels alone is not enough to understand subtle concepts in Chinese Medicine, such as latency. The so-called "Secondary Channels” of acupuncture provide more in-depth discussion into the concept of latency and how it works within the body. The Luo Vessels and Divergent Channels are two channel systems that provide the greatest insight into concepts and treatment of latency.

Prior to the Tang Dynasty, the medical tradition of the north was acupuncture; the tradition of the south was herbal medicine. During the Tang, the north and south of China merged. The acupuncturists from the north began learning herbal theories from the south, and vice versa. It soon became common for medical practitioners to learn both systems. Herbal medicine and acupuncture both have unique ways of looking at Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists and herbalists alike can learn a great deal by comparing and contrasting their systems with that of the other.

The concept of latency can be viewed from a herbal Zang Fu approach as follows: according to Shang Han Lun, heat is created when wind or cold internalize at the Yang Ming Stage. Yang Ming is represented organically as the stomach. Pathology at the stage of the stomach is seen as excess internal heat, often complicated by dampness. From the herbal perspective, treating the stomach treats heat anywhere in the body. From Yang Ming, heat can progress into the yin level. When heat travels into the levels of Tai Yin, Shao Yin and Jue Yin, this results in deficiency of qi, blood, fluids and eventually yin and yang.

The pathogen that has internalized into Yang Ming and the yin level is being held in the deeper energetic regions of the body. From an herbal point of view, the Liver and Kidneys: the Yin organs classically associated with the lower jiao, are seen to hold onto internalized pathology. They do so through trapping the pathogen within the yin humors that they physiologically store: the blood and Jing.

The two channel systems associated with maintaining latent pathology within classical acupuncture are the Luo Vessels and the Divergent Channels. The Luo Vessels hold latent pathology within the blood in the form of varicosity. The Divergent Channels utilize the joints to hold pathogens latent. The joints are an external expression of the Jing.

From the point of view of classical Chinese medical theories contained in the Nei Jing and Shang Han Lun, wind and cold are true etiologies. As they contend with the physiology of the body, they create the complications of heat and dampness: physiological yang qi, in the form of wei qi creates friction with pathology, generating heat; pathology stagnates fluids used to flush out wind and cold, creating phlegm. Heat and damp damage and consume post-natal qi and blood, giving rise to deficiency. Wind and cold internalize and become embedded in the deeper terrain of the body, represented by Jue Yin and Shao Yin: Liver and Kidney: the blood and Jing.

As the Primary Channel sequence continues past Small Intestine into the Bladder and Kidney Channels, yin and yang also become deficient. When progression reaches the level of Triple Heater, latent pathology begins to leak out, signifying loss of latency. Gallbladder becomes the body's last attempt to discharge pathogens that have consumed the body's resources. Without the necessary yin, yang, qi and blood, the body's ability to maintain the latency needed to control overwhelming pathology diminishes.

The Divergent Channels can be seen as a continuum of latent pathology. They are also a progression illustrating the body's consumption of humors as it tries to maintain latency. Chapter 63 of the Su Wen call the Divergent Channels "Sun Luo": the grandchild Luo. To understand the Divergents, and latency in general, it is helpful first to understand the concept of "Luo," and disease progression from the point of view of all six channel systems.

The Sinew Channels represent the most superficial level of qi within the body: they are conduits of wei "defensive” qi. They are the body’s first defense against external pathogenic factors. Wei qi is supported by ying qi, produced in the stomach from the jinye fluids. Wei qi is also supported by yang qi, rooted in the Kidneys.

The Nan Jing teaches, through the principles of yin and yang, the concept of mutual consumption. Ying qi supports the "wei level” through transforming itself into reinforcements for wei qi. The more severe a condition, the more reinforcements are called for. The Nan Jing alsoteaches that excess leads to deficiency, and deficiency leads to progression. When a pathogenic factor is severe, it can create deficiency, exhausting wei qi and the humors that support it.

The Shang Han Lun describes the progression of an external condition. In the initial Tai Yang stage, associated with "wind-cold”, one can predict possible progression based on deficiencies that already exist, or those beginning to show up. Progression into the Yang Ming stage is predicated on the jin ("thin”) fluids produced by the stomach. If the jin fluids become exhausted, it is likely the Tai Yang condition will progress into the Yang Ming stage. Whereas, if yang qi is insufficient or becoming taxed, the condition is likely to progress into Shao Yang.

When the Yang Sinew Channels fail, the pathogen moves into the Yin Sinews, which are located in the regions of the throat, chest and abdomen. Chapter 5 of the Ling Shu presents an interesting discussion entitled "Roots and Terminations.” All the acupuncture channels of the legs are described as beginning at the Jing Well point and "terminating” at specific local points on the body. The Yang channels terminate in the region of the head; the Yin Channels terminate in the throat, chest and abdomen. The channel descriptions are not those of the Primary Channels; they resemble more closely the Sinew Channels, which also begin at the Jing Well points.

Chapter 5 suggests that unresolved pathogens will accumulate in the "terminations” of the body: the sense orifices, throat, chest and abdomen. The accumulations are associated with the jin fluids, which are "reinforcements” for the wei qi. These accumulations can be seen as the unsuccessful attempts by the wei qi to discharge a pathogenic factor, transforming into "turbidity,” leading to blockage and ultimate failure of the Sinew Channels.

When the Sinew Channels fail as the body’s first defense against external pathogenic factors, another channel system inherits the problem. The second line of defense are the Luo Vessels. When an issue finds its way into the Luo Vessels, it suggests the pathogen is too overwhelming for the wei level to release, or that the body has become too weak to do so. The Luo Vessels represent the first stage within the channel systems where latency is employed by the body.

The so-called "Secondary Channels” of acupuncture indirectly support the daily flow of qi and blood, as represented by the 12 Primary Channels. Their goal is to prevent pathogens from making their way into the Primary Channels and Zang Fu where they could potentially disrupt daily physiological function.

When the wei level of the body has shown itself incapable of "releasing” a pathogenic factor, the body has no choice but to hold onto it. To prevent movement into the Primary Channels and Zang Fu, the Luo Vessels trap the pathogenic factor, bringing it into a state of latency.

Latency is played out within the Luo Vessels in two areas: within the wei level and yuan level; latency for both is supported by blood and fluids from the ying level. Luo Vessels are classically seen as "full" or "empty," based on where latency is being held.

"Fullness" of the Luo Vessels indicates pathology has been translocated into minor blood varicosities being held in a latent state on the surface of the skin. These vessels have come to be called the "Longitudinal Luo." They are the body's attempt to externalize pathology while holding it in latency. Pathology is being held, yet externalized at the same time: away from the Primary Channel.

Luo Vessels do not treat the pathology they inherit; they are like containers, trapping unresolved pathogens and translocating them away from primary circulation. The pathogen is initially held in a state of "fullness," where it is encapsulated in a blood capillary on the surface of the skin. Blood, created by the Stomach, is allocated to the Luo Vessel to finance the "fullness." Eventually, taxation will result from the demands of the Luo Vessel: either through it's constant need for blood, or from latent heat generated from the stagnation. Blood will become insufficient, and unable to finance the Luo Vessel in its state of "fullness." The Vessel will be forced to "empty" into the Primary Channel. At this point, another humor from the ying level, the thick-Ye fluids will come to support the latency. The Ye creates phlegm stagnation to prevent the pathogen from moving deeper into the Primary Channel. This manifests as lipomas, nodules and tumors along the Primary Channel. This is known as "emptiness" of the Luo Vessels.

The role of the Luo is to keep pathology out of the Primary Channel. "The Transverse Luo" is the second attempt by the ying level to translocate pathology away from the Primary Channels. It does so through using the Primary Channel's source point to absorb pathology that has emptied from the Longitudinal Luo. There is a pathway that travels from the source point of the Primary Channel to the luo point of its yin/yang pair. The Transverse Luo utilizes this pathway, sending pathology from the source point to the luo of its pair where another Longitudinal Luo is created to externalize pathology.

When the Longitudinal Luo of the Yin/Yang pair also fails as a holding vessel, pathology is absorbed by its own source point. For example, the Stomach Luo loses fullness and empties pathology from Fenglong ST 40 into Chongyang ST 42 (its source point), where it is passed to Gongsun SP 4 (the Luo of its yin/yang pair). Gongsu SP 4 creates a Longitudinal Luo, and holds the pathology in a state of fullness. When the Spleen Luo can no longer maintain fullness, it will also empty. Gongsun SP 4 cannot pass the pathology back to the Stomach, as the Stomach Luo has already failed. It will absorb the pathology into SP-3: its own source point.

When the Longitudinal Luo of both pairs have failed to maintain the externalization of pathology, the body will absorb pathology within the source point and internalize it into the internal branches of the Primary Channels where it is stored.

Since the Primary Channel cannot create latency through externalizing the pathogen, it does so through internalizing it. Latency is created and maintained within the internal branches of the Primary Channels.

Any internalized pathogen transforms into heat, as established by Chapter 31 of the Su Wen. When pathology enters the interior at Yang Ming, wind and cold transform into heat. A similar situation occurs with the Luo. However, the type of heat generated by the Luo is Latent Heat.

Progression within the Transverse Luo are organized in much the same way as in Chapter 31 of the Su Wen. The Yang stages of the Transverse Luo mirror the progression described in the Su Wen. Yang Ming, representing the interior, attempts to vent latent heat back out to the exterior. Symptoms of the Yang Ming Transverse Luo are sweating, inflammation and dehydration. Latent heat can be vented to Shao Yang manifesting in joint pain and sticky sweat, or Tai Yang in the form of head and sensory organ disturbances.

Taxation from latent heat will eventually lead to deficiency of yang qi, allowing transmission into the Yin Stages of the Transverse Luo.

According to the Nan Jing, excess creates deficiency, which allows for transmission. The theory of disease progression, presented by the Su Wen, is expanded upon by the Shang Han Lun. Consumption of yang qi from the excess Yang stages of Tai Yang, Shao Yang and Yang Ming, give rise to the deficiency stages of Tai Yin, Shao Yin and Jue Yin.

During the Yang stages of the Transverse Luo, the body still possesses sufficient yang qi to externalize and vent latent heat smoldering in the interior. Taxation and ultimate consumption of these humors allows movement into the Yin Stages, where symptoms are that of deficiency affecting the internal branches of the Primary Channels. Without adequate yang qi to vent latent heat, it is left to consume and destroy the resources of the interior. Consumption of qi and blood eventually leads to damage to yin and yang.

According to the Wen Bing tradition, pathology that enters the blood level will impact yuan qi. Pathology moves from the Wei level into the Qi level, representing internalization of an external pathogen. Heat consumes post-natal qi and blood; Dampness attempts to slow down the consumptive damage of heat. Eventually, pathology can penetrate into the blood level, where it impacts yuan qi. Blood supports yin, and qi supports yang. Damage to post-natal qi and blood creates a lack of support for pre-natal resources, which can result in leakage, degeneration and rapid aging.

The Internal Pathways of the Primary Channels are dangerous places for pathology to be held, as the Primary Channels connect with the Zang Fu. If there are adequate resources, the body will do whatever it can to keep pathology on the exterior, via the source/luo transfer of pathology. However, when pathology is unable to externalize, becoming stuck in the internal branches of the channels, they are that much closer to the Zang Fu.

Five Element Theory, as presented in Chapters 50-54 of the Nan Jing, describes what happens to pathology lingering in the internal branches. The Yin source points connect to the Bladder Shu points via the Triple Heater mechanism. This is the physiological pathway that distributes essential qi from the Kidneys into the Primary Channels. Bladder Shu points connect directly with the Zang. When pathology travels from the source point to the Bladder Shu point, it has access via the Control Cycle to all the other Zang organs in the body. Chapter 53 states "Seven transmissions of an illness skipping through the Five Elemental phases will result in death." Pathology traveling into the Zang is serious.

To prevent pathological movement into the Zang, the body utilizes yet another set of channels. After the level of ying qi has failed to contain a pathogen, the yuan level steps in to absorb the problem. The channels associated with the yuan level are the Divergent Channels and the Extraordinary Vessels.

The Divergent Channels are considered by some to be a type of Luo Vessel: collaterals that divert pathogens away from the Zang Fu. The Divergent Channels connect to all of the Zang Fu, unlike the Longitudinal Luo, which only connect to the heart, stomach and intestines.

The Su Wen describes the Divergent Channels in Chapter 63, suggesting they make the link between the superficial and deep levels of the body: the wei and the yuan. They are indicated as treating "Curious" or "Mysterious" diseases, as well as joint or bone Bi-obstruction. The role of the Divergent Channels is to divert pathogens threatening to move into the Zang Fu away, into the joints. The joints are part of the skeletal system, considered the external expression of jing. Instead of encasing pathogens in blood vessels as is done by the Luo Vessels, the Divergent Channels do so using Jing.

The Divergent Channels are also presented as a continuum of the latent pathological process. They are organized in terms of the humors used to support yuan-level latency. The Jing is the first commodity used, followed by the blood, and then the Jin (thin) fluids and the Ye (thick) fluids. When the yin of the body has become exhausted, qi and yang are used to support the latency. Progression through the Divergent Channels is predicated on the consumption of bodily humors, from densest to lightest. This process is mirrored physiologically: blood and fluids support Jing; qi is used to create blood and fluids; and yang is the root of all physiological processes. In the case of the Divergent Channel progression, the humors are being used to maintain latency. The sequence flows as each humor becomes consumed, and the next densest comes to the rescue.

The classics often describe the channels associated with the yuan level through mysterious, mythical language. Chapter 27 of the Nan Jing tells the story of ancient sages, who in their wisdom saved the world when it was besotted by flooding. They devised a plan to drain the catastrophic deluge by drilling holes into the rocks. The chapter goes on to discuss the Extraordinary Vessels, likening these channels to reservoirs where pathology can drain into, away from the post-natal level.

The image of holes in the rocks is illustrated on the body by the Liao points, which are holes in the bones where pathology can drain into. The bones are likened to rocks. The bones are also considered Curious organs. The Divergent Channels utilize hollow areas of the bones via the joints to maintain latency.

The Extraordinary Vessels are also argued as being Curious organs, as are the blood vessels. Chapter 27 of the Nan Jing provides the image of drainage into the Curious organs to deal with "flooding." The Luo Vessels, uterus, brain, bones and Extraordinary Vessels are all inferred as being yuan-associated drainage ditches.

The concept of drainage into the Curious Organs and level of yuan qi is represented in the Luo Vessel continuum through the Great Luo of the Spleen: "Da Bao." The Great Luo is a vessel that wraps around the chest, draining unresolved pathology from the Luo Vessels into the constitution. It connects with the Extraordinary Vessel "Dai Mai" via another wrapping channel called "Bao Mai." The three channels create a loop around the chest and a loop around the belt which are connected by another loop that travels from Jiuwei REN 15 (the Luo point of the Conception Vessel) to Changqiang DU 1 (the Luo point of Governor Vessel).

Pathology from the Great Luo of the Spleen can drain via Bao Mai into Dai Mai where it is held in the yuan level as latency. Yuanye GB 22 is classically known as the Great Luo of the Spleen by the Nei Jing. Dai Mai is visited by Daimai GB 26, Wushu GB 27 and Weidao GB 28. This is a philosophical statement acknowledging Gallbladder as the bridge by which post-natal pathology finds its way into the constitution. The term "Bao" is also used for the uterus, another Curious organ where unresolved pathology deposits. Philosophically: that which is unresolved in the Luo Vessels can be passed onto the next generation via conception.

From the Great Luo, pathology deposits into the Constitution via its Luo. There is a debate between the Nei Jing and Nan Jing about the constitutional Luo Vessels. According to the Nei Jing, pathological movement occurs from the Great Luo of the Spleen into the Conception Vessel and Governor Vessel, represented by their respective luo points: Jiuwei REN 15 and Changqiang DU 1. Whereas, the Nan Jing describes the Qiao Vessels as the Luo of Yin and Yang.

Classically, the Extraordinary Vessels were believed to be beyond the reach of medical intervention. According to Confucian and Daoist philosophical influences on medicine, pathology that has drained into this level became the seed of a person's next incarnation. Or, in more modern language, unresolved yuan level pathology gets passed on to subsequent generations.

Chapter 11 of the Su Wen discusses the Curious Fu. Within this discussion, Gallbladder is seen as the Zang Fu organ which acts as the bridge between the post-natal and pre-natal levels. It is both a Zang Fu as well as a Curious organ.

The subject of the constitution has always been controversial throughout Chinese Medicine. Some schools believed it immoral to tap into the yuan level, others simply considered it impossible. However, there has always been a fascination with intervention at this level. Just as modern western medicine continues to be fascinated with working with the DNA, Chinese medicine has continually searched for ways to access the constitutional level.

During the Ming Dynasty, Chinese Medicine began to change its mind about access into the constitution. Dai Mai and the Qiao Vessels were organized by Ming Dynasty patriarch Li Shin Zhen as the "third ancestry" of the Extraordinary Vessels: seen as pre-natal reservoirs for post-natal pathology. In the Song Dynasty revision of the Nan Jing, the Extraordinary Vessels are shown to be more accessible. The "first ancestry" of the Extraordinary Vessels were still debated as being beyond the reach of the clinician. However, through the third ancestry, medical philosophers were finding a way to tap into the pre-natal level. This mode of thinking is similar to viewing the Gallbladder as a bridge into the constitution.

According to the Jia Yu Jing, Gallbladder controls the marrow. Jeffrey Yuen defines marrow as Jing plus Shen: our essence and the spirit that motivates it. The level represented by Gallbladder in the Primary Channel progression is the last opportunity for intervention before pathology progresses beyond the reach of medicine. This is established by Chapter 11 of the Su Wen, and the discussion about the Primary Channels in Chapter 10 of the Ling Shu.

The brain is called "the sea of marrow," considered a depository of consciousness and perception. The final channel within the progression of the Primary Channels is the Liver. The Liver Channel terminates at Bahui DU 20: the "Shu" transporting point for the marrow. The Liver is said to be the residence of the "Hun" non-corporeal soul. This aspect of the spirit is like a record book, which relates to the past and present. It deposits the unfinished business of life into the brain. The Hun is said to depart from Bahui DU 20 at death and travel with the spirit into the person's next life.

The Gallbladder Primary Channel has a trajectory that enters and exits from the brain. It is the primary channel where one can pull pathology out of the Curious organs, including the brain, uterus and marrow. It is a channel that "cleanses" the constitution. Later in Chinese medical history, the Extraordinary Channels were also used in this way. Pre-Ming Dynasty, the Gallbladder and Divergent Channels were ways of indirectly working with the yuan level.

Tang Dynasty patriarch Sun Si Miao viewed pathology as inseparable from our reactions to the world. It is stated in chapter 3 of the Su Wen that wind is "the cause of hundreds of diseases." Wind is a philosophical representation of change in the Chinese classics. It is acknowledged as the root of all physiological disturbance.

Wind is a constant in life. Change is the one sure thing. How we "course the wind," or react to change determines the weather within our bodies. Chapter 3 of the Ling Shu introduces this theme, saying pathology is always a struggle between the "zhu" host (physiology) and "ke" guest (pathology): a struggle between ourselves and the world as we try to establish homeostasis. The guest is not necessarily negative. Pathology results only if we have resistance to it. This is a Daoist view, which can conflict with the Confucian concept of perverse "xie qi" and "zheng" upright qi. One view sees the world in terms of good and bad, the other says it's our reaction that creates problems: change our mind, and we transcend the difficulty.

The Divergent Channels indirectly connect to the Curious Organs, as they connect with the bones which are themselves a Curious Organ. Arguably, working with the Divergent Channels, one can work with the marrow. The Divergent Channels deal with the relationship between our nature (yuan qi) and the external world (wei qi): how the constitution adjusts to wind. According to the statement by Sun Si Miao, sometimes healing requires adjusting the part of ourselves that continues to resist change; finding the oneness between the host and guest qi. We cannot change our nature, but we can adjust our perception of the world to find a way to "course the wind" so we are no longer bothered.

The Divergent Channels provide an outlet from the yuan level to the wei level: they are a connection between the two. They are the channels that are mentioned the least in Chinese medical literature. They remain the most mysterious. However, they are advocated as being the first channels clinicians should learn during their training, seemingly possessing clues to the mysteries of the body.

Jeffrey Yuen has often said "the consciousness that created a disease cannot be the same consciousness that heals the disease." This statement resonates with that of Sun Si Miao, suggesting healing, especially from a very deep condition, may require a change in our perception of the world.

When pathology has penetrated so deep that it is challenging the constitution, something deep within must change. This is stated most clearly by the stage of pathological progression represented by the Triple Heater Divergent Channel. This channel is "opened" by the point Triple Heater 16. The name of this point is "Tian You," meaning "the celestial orbit." It has been designated a "windows to the sky" point, meaning it affects sensory perception and opens the sensory orifices. Commentators have said "Tian You" is the point that all other "windows to the sky" points orbit around.

Within the Luo Vessel discussion, Jeffrey Yuen has said Triple Heater relates to fixation of perception: a hardened attitude. The Triple Heater Divergent begins at Bahui DU 20: the upper transport point for the brain: the sea of marrow. By the stage represented by this channel, latency has been lost, and pathology is threatening to spread throughout the body. Inferred within this channel is the need for a change in the marrow.

Classical Chinese medicine cannot be separated from the philosophical basis from which it was born. Different traditions within medical history were manifestations of their time period's view of the world. When Chapter 8 of the Ling Shu advises the need for clinicians to consider the spirit of the patient, it is a reminder that Chinese medicine is more than just a physical science. Physiology and pathology as taught by the Nei Jing are representations of all levels of human existence: from birth to death to rebirth. According to Jeffrey Yuen, Chinese medicine is essentially applied Chinese philosophy.

Jeffrey Yuen often likens acupuncture channels to "roadways" we take in life. The Nei Jing views them in a way that is beyond mere physiological structures. They are tools, illustrating complicated pathological and physiological theories presented in the Su Wen. They are also representative of the philosophical meaning of life. The Primary Channels are the main roads, representing our "Ming" or destiny. Each secondary channel can be seen as a distraction: side roads we may veer off onto. Certain philosophical traditions believe the "collaterals" are a necessary part of life: we learn about our true nature through the deviations. Ideally, wind brings us closer to understanding and emanating our true nature. In addition to teaching theories about pathological progression, the Secondary Channels help us understand our reaction to change, and where we may be stuck along the path of life.


Nicholas earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Philosophy from Brandeis University, and a Master’s degree in Acupuncture from the Swedish Institute, under the direction of Jeffrey Yuen. Nicholas continues to study with Mr. Yuen, inspired by the wisdom of Classical Chinese Medicine. Nicholas practices acupuncture in New York City.


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