The Concept of Time in Chinese MedicineSpring and Autumn Institute
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Teaching in Germany for the first time, Lorraine Wilcox will give this illuminative lecture on time. Still underestimated due to modern linear thinking, this is a highly essential topic in Chinese medicine, if you really want to become a ‘Chinese’ practitioner.
In the past, consideration of time was an essential part of treating patients. Modern practitioners of Chinese medicine usually do not give time much thought. However, if the human body is a small heaven and earth, then day or night, phase of the moon, and season must be an essential part of our physiology.
In this class, we will examine what the ancients told us about time and the human body. We will start with observable chronicity – the aspects of time governed by the sun, the moon, and the stars. What did the Huang Di Nei Jing and other early texts say regarding how these cycles affect physiology, pathology, and treatment?
The ancient Chinese also developed a complex luni-solar calendar. They measured time using the ten heavenly stems and the twelve earthly branches. They divided the year into twenty-four nodes of qi as well as twelve lunar months. We will discuss certain aspects of the Chinese calendar before moving on to its application.
In later dynasties, methods of choosing points by the twelve-double hours were developed. If a point was ‘open’ at the time of treatment, its effect would be more powerful. These methods will be discussed, based on the Ming dynasty acupuncture manual, Zhen Jiu Da Cheng.
The Chinese have developed a complicated method of selecting auspicious or inauspicious days for various activities. This includes medical treatments such as acupuncture and moxibustion. In many cases, acupuncturists scheduled patients based on the timing of the open points and on the auspiciousness of the day. We will learn a few methods for selecting good or bad days for treatment.