A Classical Acupuncture Perspective ...
First we will look at the seven year cycle of Woman. The text states that at the age of seven the energetics of the kidney (note: the classical Chinese acupuncturists related one of the ‘kidneys’ functions to birth, growth and maturation) becomes full/replete. It is at this point of time that the hair grows long and the permanent teeth come in (the classical acupuncturist’s also related bone, hair & teeth to the energetic function of the kidneys).
The acupuncture text goes on to state that at fourteen years the tian kui or ‘heavenly water’ arrives and the ren mai & chong mai flourish. Thus this sentence is very interesting as it introduces the concept of ‘heavenly water’ relating to menstrual blood. I find it very interesting that the classical acupuncturists related menstrual blood with the heavens and not solely with the reproductive uterus itself. I personally relate this concept of the ‘heavens’ playing a role in menstruation to the neuro-endocrine function that initiates the menstrual cycle being the hypothalamic pulses of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone initiating the anterior pituitary secretion of Follicular stimulating Hormone and Luteinising Hormone. Reason being is that the ‘heavens’ denoting ‘yang’ and ‘that which descends its influences’ in my opinion conceptually could very well relate to the ‘yang’ aspect of the head/brain (hypothalamus/pituitary) function that from a biological paradigm initiates & regulates the menstrual cycle and thus the ability to conceive.
At twenty one the classical acupuncture text states that the kidney energetics are strong and thriving, the wisdom teeth present themselves and the body is full of vitality. Twenty eight years is seen by the Han dynasty acupuncturists as the pinnacle of female development and it is at this point in time that the bones and tendons are at full strength & the secondary sex characteristics are complete in development.
From the age of thirty five the classical Chinese state that wrinkles begin to show in the face and the muscles of the face begin to deplete. The meridians that govern the face region are the yangming channels comprised of the stomach meridian and the large intestine meridian. Interesting to note that the statement is made that the hair begins to thin, thus as we mentioned above the hair & its condition relates to the energetic state of the ‘kidneys’, thus we can assume that the kidney energetics begin to decline at this point. At Forty two the acupuncturists of the Suwen state that all three yang meridians are depleted/exhausted, the face is wrinkled and the hair grey. From this statement we can gather that the kidney energetics (responsible for birth, growth, maturation) are quite depleted and the yangming meridians and associated internal organs being the stomach and large intestine, from a functional perspective may be hindered.
The age of forty nine is the point at which 2000 years ago the classical acupuncturists stated that the ‘heavenly water’ dries and hence menstruation ceases. I find this quite amazing that even today regardless of the relative difference in our global society to some 2000 years ago, menopause still occurs on an average around this point in time.
Now let’s observe the eight year cycle attributed to man. At eight years of age the ‘kidney’ energetics become full and similarly the permanent teeth arrive and the hair becomes long. At sixteen the tian kui/heavenly water arrives and the jing ‘essence’ is ripe thus procreation is possible. At twenty four the kidney energetics are abundant and thus the associated bones and teeth are strong. The thirty second year denotes the peak of strength and function. It is at the age of forty that the energetics of the kidney begin to wane and thus the teeth become loose and the hair begins to fall. At the age of forty eight the ‘yang’ energetics of the head deplete, the hair is grey & teeth further deteriorate. At the age of fifty six the energetics of the Liver weaken and thus the associated tendons begin to stiffen and loose elasticity and integrity. At sixty four the ‘heavenly water’ dries up, thus the jing ‘essence’ is drained and the energetics of the kidneys exhausted/depleted.
I would like to state that these paragraphs end at 49 for woman and 64 for man for the mere reason that these paragraphs specifically were used to illustrate how we become fertile and how we lose our fertility. However as I previously stated these paragraphs share a wealth of information and illustrate a biological/philosophical picture that can be brought into the acupuncture clinic and thus used as a framework to view an individual, direct the subsequent acupuncture treatment and thus ameliorate a range of health conditions.
Also for those who are interested I was using Maoshin Ni, Ph.D. transliteration of the Neijing Suwen.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Giancarlo Nerini – Licensed Acupuncturist