Clearing the blockage of Qi

Updated: 2013-09-13 11:15

(China Daily)

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In July 1971, James "Scotty" Reston of the New York Times went to China with National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger as part of the advance team to prepare for President Richard Nixon's visit. Reston wanted to interview Chairman Mao Zedong.

Reston had an acute attack of appendicitis while in Beijng and underwent emergency surgery, which went well, but he suffered post-operative stomach discomfort strong enough to call for treatment. The hospital's acupuncturist stepped in.

With "three long needles into the outer part of my right elbow and below my kneeto stimulate the intestine and relieve the pressure and distension of the stomach" with occasional "twirling the needles into action" for about 20 minutes, Reston wrote, the pain disappeared.

In his hospital recovery, Reston also learned that underlying this use of needles is a set of unique concepts about the human body and the way to heal it.

In the belief of traditional Chinese medicine, a type of life force, or energy, known as qi (pronounced "chee"), flows through energy pathways, called meridians, in the human body, which are connected to different groups of organs that govern particular bodily functions yet are closely related to each other.

The flow of qi is obstructed when the body loses its balances, which then results in illness. Acupuncture is one form of Chinese medicine to restore the balance. By inserting thin long metal needles into the skin to stimulate acupuncture points, which are the places where the meridian is close to the skin, acupuncture clears the blockage of qi and restores health.

Reston, who had served in various posts with the Times, including Washington correspondent, bureau chief, executive editor, columnist and vice-president, wrote about the treatment he received, along with his observations of China's hospital system in a lengthy article the Times published on page 1 on July 26, 1971.

For most Americans, it was the first time they had learned about acupuncture, which has been in existence in the US for more than a century.

Clearing the blockage of Qi

(China Daily USA 09/13/2013 page20)