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Body language: found in translation.

There was a time we were fluent in body language, the subtle and polite messages--sniffles, muscle strain, fatigue--that indicated the need for rest and rejuvenation. There was a time we gladly tended to our bodies' simple but important needs. Now in our buy adult lives many of us have lost touch with our bodies and regard our dis-eases as mysterious curses instead of as lifesaving messages.

Our bodies do act as couriers, carrying messages from the soul--the need to slow down, the need to let go of the past, the need to leave a stressful job or relationship. Our bodies' apparent breakdowns ,symbolize the toll the external world takes on our emotions, or more appropriately, the power we give to the external world to control us.

When we learn to interpret our physical symptoms into the acupuncture energy meridians involved, as well as the emotions, we discover the path towards true holistic healing. Aging and dis-ease can be scary prospects unless we recognize from where they came (and how we can return them!).

Western Medicine has thousands of different names for thousands of different symptoms. Thothetic Acupuncture has twelve names for our multiple human ailments: Kidneys, Urinary Bladder, Lung, Large Intestine, Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, Sanjiao, Spleen, Stomach, Liver, and Gall Bladder. These are known as the twelve different energy meridians of the body, which can be further categorized into five elements: Water, Metal, Fire, Earth, and Wood.

When we speak of organ meridians in Thothetic Acupuncture, we refer to the physical organs as well as all the systems of which they are in charge. Each of the twelve different energy meridians governs a set of responsibilities (see sidebar), and these meridians function just as we do in daily life. When feeling their best, the meridians perform all their responsibilities well. When they're tired, stressed, or malnourished, they're irritable, clumsy, and non-productive.

Note that each of the five elements governs a different emotion: Water/Fear; Metal/Sadness; Fire/Joy or Over-excitement; Earth/Stress or sympathy; and Wood/Anger. Of course, we experience these feelings cyclically throughout our lives, but when we become consumed by a particular emotion, the bulk of our energy is swept up in the emotion, leaving little for anything else.

Imagine our kidneys as a superwoman juggling all of her responsibilities, including bones, head hair, aging, sexuality, and fear. When she has not had enough water or has been depleted by fear, she drops some of her balls. That is, we can start to see premature gray in our hair or feel aches and pains in our bones. If we give Kidneys enough water and enough rest, she can pick these bails up again--the hair can return to its original color, and bone aches disappear. However, if we continue to neglect our Kidneys, worrying and not giving her enough water, she begins to drop more and more of her responsibilities--memory, hearing, sexual function, and eventually life itself, as the Kidneys govern the length of our lives.

The body speaks in fascinating poetry. Seized by fear (Water Element), we crave salt and suffer from urinary and reproductive disorders. Deep with grief (Metal), we love the color white and experience sweat, breast, and skin imbalances. Desperate for love (Fire), we devour sweets and suffer from headaches and hormonal disruptions. Overwhelmed with stress (Earth), we are moody, plagued with poor metabolism and wounds slow to heal. Seething with anger and the need to control (Wood), we ache with muscle cramps and constipation.

We are not victims of dis-ease but recipients of love letters. Our symptoms whisper--and sometimes shout out--the need for us to re-examine our life priorities. We need to be willing to listen. We need to learn to harness our energies and emotions so we can heal, so we can devote ourselves fully to our life's work.

*The body's 360+ acu-points act as emergency call boxes along our energy meridians. Specific points can be stimulated to bring the energy meridians back to balance, helping us to re-align our emotional and physical energies. An example is the third point of the Kidney Meridian (see illustration), which helps a host of Kidney physical disorders, as well as anxiety. The aim is not to attack a symptom but to help the Kidney Meridian become strong enough so she can handle all her responsibilities once more.

A variety of tools can be used to strengthen the body's energy meridians. Healers past and present have used pressure, magnets, heat, light, electricity, suction, and, of course, needles. Self-stimulation by pressure can work wonders when we understand the systems that each energy meridian governs and how to choose the most effective acu-points.

When the energy meridians are balanced, with all their responsibilities dexterously juggled in mid-air, dis-ease has no choice but to leave. There is no room for dis-ease in a healthy body. Healthcare costs soar because we ask others to handle our personal responsibilities. Our bodies use symptoms, however gently or severely, to warn us when we've wandered from our centers and have allowed the external circumstances to run our lives. By translating the body's messages, using a "glossary" of energy meridians and their systems, we discover our way back to vibrant health. Freed from the blinders of ignorance, we can welcome dis-ease as friendly messages prodding us awake to the center of ourselves.

Your Body's Five Elements

The list below shows a sample of the responsibilities that the energy meridians govern, according to Thothetic Medicine/Acupuncture (a holistic healing system developed from Sri Lankan and Nubian healing philosophies). By returning the energy meridians to balance, we allow them to become strong enough to heal and handle their myriad responsibilities.


Fear and worry. Blood pressure, reproductive system, sex drive, gray hair, bones, teeth, joints, ears, ear wax, hearing, head hair, knees, memory, balance, sore throat, salt cravings, low backache, genito-urinary organs, aging process.


Sadness. Respiration, skin, body hair, nose, sense of smell, constipation/diarrhea, breasts, sweat, lymph nodes.


Joy or Over-Excitement. Mental/emotional state, nerves, tongue, mouth, pain, sugar cravings, mental activity, sleeplessness. "Sanjiao" is the Chinese term for what Westerners call the endocrine/hormone system. Sanjiao governs the chemical messages that control all organs and is also responsible for growths (so-called tumors, nodules, warts, moles).


Abundance or absence of all emotions. Immune system, quality of blood, weight gain or loss, appetite, lips, tendons, water metabolism, water retention, gas, mucus, phlegm, allergies, stress, vomiting, reflux.


Anger. Secretion and transport of bile, volume of blood, muscles, eyes, cramps, stiffness, constipation/diarrhea, hemorrhoids, muscle spasms, blood vessels, bruising, headaches, fingernails and toenails.

A motivational speaker, writer, and natural health coach, Sandra M. Yee, DCM, uses her background in acupuncture to lead workshops in self-healing and self-empowerment in the greater Atlanta area. For self-health workbooks, seminars, and personal coaching, contact Dr. Yee at 678.488.6633 or through

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Author:Yee, Sandra M.
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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