Possibly these luo-connecting channels were the first acupuncture channels to be noticed and explored.
This page is more technical than many other pages on this site! If this is one of the first pages you encounter, I suggest you look first at other pages. Otherwise you'll be struggling a bit, because to read it you need some familiarity with other parts of acupuncture theory.
What about our introductory page on acupuncture channels?
These luo-connecting channels provide a network or web that interlaces all parts of the body, emanating outwards, or sideways, from the main or primary channels. This web lets one primary channel reach through to its partner.
This web or network is at two different levels, superficial and deep. The superficial network is seen in the small veins that appear during disease or after trauma, showing inflammation or blockage. This level lies just under the skin.
The deeper part is where chronic disease may end up, stuck in the 'Blood level' deep in the body. This Blood level is not so much at a depth measurable in inches or centimeters but in terms of seriousness, ie harder to cure.
Actually, the Chinese classics are much more precise than this.
They say that a pathogenic factor, ie something that causes illness, (in Chinese medicine this would be described as one or more of Wind, Cold, Damp etc) first invades the skin giving you goosebumps, it then reaches the level of the superficial luo-connecting channels causing pain in the muscles.
Then, unless expelled by your body or after appropriate treatment, it penetrates into the primary acupuncture channels, giving further pain along them, then to the Chong Mo with digestive problems, invading the membranes deep in the body cavities.
It then passes to the Blood vessels in the deep luo-connecting channels, where you may get Blood stasis, with masses, tumours, lumps and bumps.
The other usage of the term relates to discrete channels, rather like the primary acupuncture channels, which depart from specific points on the primary channels, called the luo points, or luo-connecting points, or junction points.
Each has a trajectory different from the primary channels.
This type of luo-connecting channel is what is usually meant by acupuncturists when they talk about luo-connecting channels.
The pathway of these luo-connecting channels is really useful for acupuncturists. It makes the luo-connecting points very dynamic in their action. This means that they can powerfully affect the areas covered by the luo channel.
Well, of course, it all happened thousands of years ago, so nobody knows for sure! Here's what we surmise ...
Possibly, the original idea behind the luo-connecting points was that they described what happened to the skin and flesh when injured either by trauma or when someone got acutely ill, say from what we now describe as an infection.
Under these circumstances, capillaries and smaller veins becomes swollen, and newly and temporarily visible. (These are quite distinct from the large veins which stand out naturally in people who are either thin or getting old.) The Chinese solution to this kind of vein was to release the internal pressure in these 'wounded' or inflamed areas by incising these new, temporary swollen veins with needles and squeezing out some of the blood that had collected there.
By bleeding the vein, new blood was able to reach the area and move through it faster than the stagnant blood it replaced, leading to faster healing.
Indeed, sometimes cupping was done after the initial incision, to allow more blood to flow. (This form of cupping is known as wet-cupping, and for various reasons, including danger of infection, is not generally recommended unless you know what you are doing and are insured.)
Those tiny veins and capillaries that subsequently sank back into invisibility showed a wealth of connections under the skin. The word the Chinese used for this was 'luo', meaning something like 'network'.
Later, they discovered certain acupuncture points on each acupuncture channel with a particular influence on specific areas of the body. These became known as the luo-connecting points.
In time, these points were recognised as having other properties and a whole theory, or even a set of theories, developed about them.
Many forms of stress, including emotional stress, interfere with the natural flow of Qi along the channels, causing Qi stagnation. This often lodges first in the luo-connecting channels, making the luo-connecting points all that more important in its treatment.
The luo-connecting points have many uses. There are many ways to use them. For example:
If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.
If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.
All the books in the 'Chinese Medicine in English' series should be fully accessible on Kindles and Kindle apps. (Or you can buy the softback print editions, of course.)
('Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine' published 1986, was never available in a Kindle version.)
If, having read one of my books you can write a review - preferably positive - that would help others decide whether to read it.
You can put your review on Amazon or, on this site, here.
And if you think it was terrible?
Well, let me know so I can improve it for the next person. (Ideally let me know before cursing it in public!)
Here are some of the books I (Jonathan) have written.
Subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can borrow the first four for 'free'.
Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine! See Reviews.
Six Reviews so far for Yuck Phlegm. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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