Weird Acupuncture Terminology

If you've spent any time at all reading this blog, you are well-aware that we acupuncturists have our own language. Some of this language is, well, pretty weird. I love that we have ways of describing conditions that most people experience at one point or another, but up until now had no words for. Such as: Liver Qi Stagnation: This is a very common term, and most of us suffer from it. The Liver is in charge of the smooth flow of blood throughout the body, and blood and qi move together. If the Liver qi isn't flowing properly, the patient might experience discomfort or pain on the sides of the body, breast pain, PMS, constipation, difficulty swallowing, hiccups, depression, frustration, anger, abdominal discomfort, or a poor appetite. Fortunately, Liver qi stagnation is relatively easy to resolve. So come set up an appointment, crankypants.

Liver Yang Rising: Remember when we talked about Yin and Yang? Yin is cooling and relaxed, Yang is heat and tension. If there is excess Yang, the patient will have symptoms of heat that rise up to the head: red face and eyes, high blood pressure, dizziness, and headaches. And anger. Lots of anger.

Running Piglet Syndrome: A sensation of qi rising from the lower abdomen up to the chest and throat. This is accompanied by abdominal pain, chest oppression, dizziness, palpitations, and rapid breathing.

Plum Pit Qi: a sensation of having something stuck in the throat that you can't get rid of. This is another sign of Liver Qi stagnation.

Water Gu: Disease characterized by abdominal distention that gurgles when the patient moves.

Wind: Wind can attack the body internally or externally. If the attack is external, you have your classic cold symptoms. If it is internal, it results in tics, tremors, spasms, or any other issues that (like wind) move around from place to place. So if you come in with an itchy throat, headache, and congestion, your diagnosis might be an "Invasion of Wind." If you complain of muscle spasms, we will likely say that you have "Liver Wind," or "Internal Wind."

Bi Syndrome: This is a term for a blockage in the acupuncture meridian that leads to pain, swelling, or heaviness. It most commonly refers to arthritis.

Fright Wind: a convulsive spasm in infants that leads to loss of consciousness

Gu worms: parasites. Gu worms can also refer to the long, stringy black clots that can sometimes come out during a session of bloodletting. If the blood is very stagnant, it will look like worms as it is exiting the body.

Intestinal Wind: bleeding hemorrhoids, bloody stool, or diarrhea caused by an invasion of wind.

Straw Shoe Wind: Itching, pain, and sores that begin in the upper thigh and spread down to the feet.

Phlegm Misting the Mind, or Phlegm-Fire: Symptoms of mental derangement, such as inappropriate or bizarre behavior, incoherent ranting, or violence. In cases like these, it is said that the mind is obscured by a type of insubstantial phlegm, which clouds the ability to act appropriately. The Fire, or heat, leads to the manic aspect of mental illness. Interestingly, people with this issue are usually physically very hot and damp to the touch, as well.