the complete debate with materialists see this
Sina's 2nd response to Truthspeaker
It is very
good that someone is doing some serious studies on this subject and does
not merely dismiss it as placebo effect. The recognition that
acupuncture works after so many years of bald face denial that it does
not, is heartwarming.
However, it must be noted that the acupoints fall neither on the nervous
system nor on the veins. In fact if the needles rupture a vein it causes
bleeding and if it touches a nerve it causes pain. While acupuncture if
correctly performed should not cause neither bleeding nor pain.
We should also remember that needles are not the only way one can
stimulate the acupoints. Shiatsu, moxibustion, electric charge and even
laser applied on these points can have the same effect.
So the theory that acupuncture blocks the flow of blood to certain parts
of the brain and thus stops the pain, although not conclusive could be
true. If true it does not eliminate the concept of qi.
According to Chinese medicine qi is what regulates the function of the
body including the blood circulation. So if with acupuncture the follow
of the blood to the brain is reduced that is caused by the manipulation
of qi. Since the acupoints do not fall on the veins this is a very
Qi is very much the same as my idea of the Single Principle as presented
in Rational Spirituality. It is not only the vital energy that gives
life to the living but it is the essence of everything. See few
definitions of qi by ancient Chinese philosophers:
Zhuangzi writes: "Everything under heaven is a single qi."
Wang Chong writes: "The generation of the ten thousand things, all
are endowed by the original qi."
Luo Qinfeng writes "Throughout heaven and earth, from ancient times
to the present, everything is a single qi. The qi is originally one, but
now moving now still, now coming now going, now opening now closing, now
ascending now descending, circulating ceaselessly, accumulation of
subtlety becomes manifest, this is the four seasons of warm, cool, cold
and hot, this is the generation, growth, gathering and storing of the
ten thousand things."
In the Song Era, Neoconfucian philosophers elaborated a cosmology in
which all entities are composed of li (principle or pattern) and qi (the
driving force of li).
Qi was also conceived as the medium through which heaven, earth and the
ten thousand things interact. The idea of "resonance" or
"induction" (ying), inspired by magnetic phenomena and
resonance of musical instruments, was generally considered to occur
through the medium of qi.
The existence of qi is debated passionately. Naturally the western
materialistic ethos is not comfortable with the idea of something
ethereal and immaterial regulating the functions of the body.
F. Gates writes:
Scientists can measure a difference in electrical conductivity on the
surface of the skin at acupoints, but they cannot yet account for the
pathways of the meridians nor, with any certainty, for the effects of
acupuncture or moxibustion on areas distant to the points stimulated.
(For instance, moxa on the point UB-67, Zhiyin, located beside the fifth
toenail, is often used successfully to correct a malposition of the
fetus, breach presentation, prior to childbirth.) Whether or not Qi
exists as it was explained by the ancients—an uncertainty that leads
TCM researchers and philosophers to use the term "TCM theory,"
rather than "the Laws of TCM"—the venerable, somewhat
mystical-sounding-to-Western-ears explanations of the earliest Chinese
philosophers still serve to guide practitioners of this medicine in
directions that prove clinically useful. Until a better theory is
introduced or (more likely, I believe) the current theories are
scientifically validated, the ancient theories of Qi, its movements, and
its meridians will continue to guide us in (and the martial artists, and
meditators, and massage therapists) our practices.