Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Acupuncture for Portland

Artist Adam Kuby performed a month-long, single point acupuncture treatment for the city of Portland last March. This project "explores the interface between art, regional planning, traditional Chinese medicine and the health of a city."

Chinese medicine has for thousands of years recognized the fractal theory, although they didn't name it as such. (A fractal is a geometric construction wherein each part of the total structure is an exact copy of the whole. There are many other attributes as well - see here for more information on fractals.) In essence, the entire universe is a fractal, with each part reflecting the structure and relationships of the whole. This is most clearly seen in the relationship between the human body and the planet earth. The human body has twelve main meridians; Earth has the Nile, the Yellow River, the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Rhine, and so on. Earth has storms, thunder and lightning; humans have their emotions. Earth has five continents (six if you count Antarctica); the human body has five major organs (six if you count the Pericardium).

The parallels go on and on. So, if humans have acupuncture points, what are their equivalents on earth? The character for an acumoxa point is 穴 xue. The meaning of this character, taken alone, is cave, den, or hole. Therefore, earth's acumoxa points are its caves.

Caves have particular significance to spiritual traditions the world over. The prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Koran after meditating in a cave. Jesus Christ was entombed in a cave for three days before being born again. Some qi gong masters live in special caves in order to connect more directly with the qi of the earth. Think about that - you can go live in one of the earth's acupuncture points! We're no more than mites feeding on the earth's crust.

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