Liberating Wei Qi Can Be Volatile!

The following was sent to my email, and Caryn gave permission to post it to this blog:

Steve – after we needled using the chiseling method spiked a fever and got body aches. My partner did a point on the San Jiao. I thought is was just me, but I needled a patient yesteday, ah shi at around SJ 12 and needled the ting well – she called this morning and had the same symptoms, sweat, severe pain, like the flu. What should I have done to protect her from that response, or is that normal and the wei qi is just adjusting? I hope this question makes sense. Caryn White PS – had to leave early Sunday because of fever and body aches, I just thought I was coming down with something.

This is an excellent question, because things don’t “just happen,” but occur for reasons. In this series, we are working to look more deeply into the movements and functions of qi, and this is an interesting somatic expression. However, I’d like to try to lead whoever follows this thread through the thinking process, rather than just giving an answer. Chiseling the ashi and jing-well points specifically activates wei qi to release/expel wind. Of course, wei qi is a post-natal expression of yang, and when yang is impeded from flowing smoothly through the embodied spirit, it generates (“pathological”) heat, as in fever. Is that enough to get you, Caryn, and others started? If not, I’ll expand on it.

BTW, there are two parts to the answer to this question: one would be exhibited in any channel, and one is specific to the shaoyang channels (each slightly differently). Think about the function of sanjiao; I’m trying to open this up to the group.



  1. Can I ask a question here – had the other channels already been cleared of wind obstructions, e.g. tai yang and yang ming before needling the shaoyang TM?

    • Good question, Jen, though relative to the sinews only taiyang is relevant — Shang Han Lun theory and sinew theory of the six divisions differ. Relative to the sinews, yangming is deeper than shaoyang, so blocks in it wouldn’t impede shaoyang from releasing to the exterior. Yet, the status of taiyang could be quite relevant.

  2. Hello All – To answer Jen's question. I did clear wind, The patient was coming in for shoulder pain, UB10 , hua tuo C4/5, thread SJ15 to GB 21, SI 11 all biltateral, then when I turned her over, I did the chiseling on the ah shi and needled the ting well on SJ. She called yesterday, 2 days after the treatment and feels like she is 17. She is 67. So she is fine now, but it kind of scared me that we both had the same response.

    Now as to why – I know I tapped into the SJ and wei qi, and I think by just moving them that would be the symptoms I could induce – but I didn't want to do that. So as to why, I think I may have to do some reading. So Steve – make me work for it. I will be back online on Tuesday and will check in. BTW – this is AWESOME!!!

    • Okay, enjoy your quest. Any other comments, anyone?

      • Please describe what is meant by " chiselling" a Jing Well point and why would one do this rather than needle or bleed?

        Turiya Hill

        • Hi Turiya. Long time, no see (or even hear). How are you? Chiseling is a needling technique, which specifically stimulates wei qi to release wind. It is primarily used for treating sinews. Several of the folks from San Diego appear to have already had some interesting (and educational) experiences working with it.

          • Turiya Hill says:

            In the service of good teaching and education would you consider posting a video of this technique? or at least be a bit more word descriptive?
            And if chiseling stimulates wei chi to release wind ( from the channel?) how do you differentiate the apllication of Bleeding or Needling the Jing point.


          • Hi Turiya — I don’t currently video record my classes, and have thus far used occasional audio recordings only for myself – to improve my teaching. I may make audio clips available on my website in the future. Chiseling stimulates the release of wind from the sinews, which in turn aids in releasing it from the (primary) channels. That needling method is most valuable for treating a-shi points, which block the articulation of wei qi. Jing-well points intrinsically release wind, so chiseling isn’t so important on them. In fact, heat is the classical method for treating them, so I recommend akabane. Bleeding or simply needling jing-well points also facilitates the release of wind, because that is their intrinsic function.

            In a broader sense, I’m concerned about disseminating video recordings of my seminars, because many have warned me that move will almost certainly depress attendance at my live seminars. During the one-day seminar on the sinews in San Diego, we devoted nearly three hours to the clinical practicum. I demonstrated a physical procedure to locate and stimulate release of the a-shi point, as well as the chiseling needling technique. Each participant practiced both therapeutic methods with a partner in the seminar, and we had some chance to discuss what they found. This discussion is primarily intended as a follow-up of that discussion. I believe the experience contains something inherently valuable, and am dismayed by a general trend toward “distance education” for CEU’s in our profession, which seems to me to bias content toward information. While I recognize the importance of clear information by providing extensive handouts, I don’t believe that deepening our relationship with Chinese medicine can be conveyed through information and media.

            I’m happy you’ve found our discussion, and hope you’re able to learn something of interest from it. I hope you’ll come to the live seminar series, perhaps the one in the SF Bay Area this autumn will be convenient. Enjoy your ongoing quest in practicing acupuncture.

  3. Hey group,
    I'll give it a shot…. So if the San Jiao channel was blocked enough to manifest pain then maybe it has been comprimised in its role of supporting dissemination of yang qi (yuan qi) from the kidneys. Increased San Jiao activity allowed for a greater opening through the zhou li (yuan qi at the service of wei qi) which is also congested because w/ greater wei qi coursing through there it met with a lot of blocks which resulted in pain, and the body tried to release those blocks through the exterior as sweat. Because the pain was severe it points to cold as being one of the main factors she's dealing with.

    To go out on a limb… with a Gall Bladder issue she may have had more of an emotional, blood distribution type response!?

    Steve, I'm not sure about what could happen w/ any (sinew) channel. I guess the response would be specific to the funcioning of that sinew channel/ primary channel/ associated organ, etc…

    That's what I can muster in the moment, I'm curious to see what might come out of the old noodle after a nights sleep. Joy.

  4. Hi guys,
    Was thinking about this over the weekend, particularly in regards to the sj. My memory (and probably fuzzy) understanding from the workshop that regardless of which channel has the ashi obstruction, we needed to clear TY or YM to activate the source of the wei qi (eg MM fire). If the TY is not cleared of obstructions and the SJ circulates source qi – if that flow is impeded this will cause the symptoms described?

    • Both leg taiyang and leg yangming can restrict movement at Du 4, so we evaluated and opened them first in class to mobilize wei qi in general. Once we do that, we can engage any of the sinews more effectively. So, now to the symptoms Jen reported:
      1) Releasing (or expelling) wind from any of the sinews would stimulate greater flow of wei qi in that sinew. However, if there remains dampness restricting free flow, that post-natal yang will generate some heat, and quite possible more acuteness of blocks (pain) until the embodied spirit works through that dampness.
      2) All of the zangfu receive post-natal yang from their sinews. In the case of the sanjiao mechanism (which is the fu!), that means that freeing up its sinew will increase the activation of the dissemination of yuan-source qi. That could easily lead to a “healing event” where some previously stored stagnation, which had been rendered dormant by containing it in jing-essence, would be release out into the primary channels (becoming symptomatic) in the present. While that generates some sympomatic expression now, it also liberates both post-natal qi and potentially some jing-essence after the “old” stagnation is worked out.

  5. Steve, although this is not really a sinew question – have you ever seen this type of healing event also with a divergent channel treatment, specifically exterior W/c symptoms within 6 hours of a divergent tx with a patient who had no symptoms earlier in the day. Is this potentially a healing event b/c the body has moved the unresolved pathogenic factor into more exterior channels, or could it just be coincidence/ suddent onset?

    • Hi Jen — indeed, these types of “healing events” are quite common among patients treated with the channel divergences (aka divergent channels). While in any specific case there may be a coincidence, when things like this happen immediately after acupuncture, I generally attribute them to the effects of the treatment. Symptoms like those of a “new” attack by wind-cold are also typical of the process of dredging out “old” unresolved pathogenic factors and releasing them to the exterior.

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