What is AOM?

I realize I've blogged about acupuncture and its use in clinic, but have not really explained much about acupuncture and the philosophy of how it works.

2012-01-30-acuman _head2I think I haven't blogged this yet partly because I'm still learning the intricate workings of acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) and find as soon as I think I have a slight grasp on how AOM works, I realize that I have yet to touch the surface on many things. That is part of what I love so much about this medicine. The learning capacity and its healing abilities appear to be limitless! But, for now, I will share some of the basic philosophy of AOM that I have learned and fully grasped.

Fortunately, I have my trusty friend Acuman, as we refer to him in clinic, helping me by means of photography.

The first things you may notice in the pictures of Acuman are all the lines etched into his body. These lines are meridians. Meridians are also referred to as channels.

In AOM, we believe everyone has 12 primary meridians that correlate with 12 organs. According to AOM teachings, by treating the meridians through acupuncture, dysfunctions with a patient's physical organs can also be treated. There are additional meridian systems, but I will stay focused on the 12 primary meridians, today. Each meridian is a pathway for "qi" to flow. Qi can be thought of as the energy or life force in one's body. 

When the qi is flowing properly, there is balance between yin and yang, and the person is functioning in a state of well-being and harmony. Simply put, yin and yang can be thought of as the balance of opposites, and the connection of where they flow and turn into each other. In AOM philosophy, the human body is balanced by yin and yang. When yin and yang become imbalanced, AOM works with the meridians and qi flow to balance yin and yang.

2012-01-30-acuman _collage

As shown by Acuman, each meridian has several acupuncture points. The acupuncture points are shown by small dots with letters and numbers. The letters and numbers refer to the meridian the point is on and the number is the order of the points. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the points are referred to by Chinese names that have significance with the purpose or action of the point. The acupuncture points serve as transmitters for moving, tonifying or sedating the body's qi. By using a combination of points based on an AOM diagnosis, the points are punctured and able to help qi return to natural state of well-being. This in turn helps restore the balance between yin and yang.