Monday, May 07, 2007

It's Not What It Looks Like! I Was Only Raising My Ch'i!

If Western practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are to be believed, TCM is a powerful holistic modality that comes with the imprimatur of thousands of years of tradition that increases its proven benefits. Wade James, for example, in his column in the West Australian's Mind&Body supplement regularly warns of "ill winds", "stagnant chi" and "rising heat". Still other practitioners accept a direct connection between the bowel and the brain.

If you're going to fall for this magical thinking EoR presumes you have to accept all of its tenets, rather than pick and choose arbitrarily which you want to believe. Given some of those examples above, it seems there's little discrimination in marrying "traditional" wisdom with something that could be shown to be false by a simple autopsy.

EoR therefore assumes practitioners both regularly imbibe, and encourage their patients to also imbibe, cinnabar and gold.

The Pen Ts'ao, oldest of Chinese medical works, declares: 'People have long been taking cinnabar to brighten their faculties, maintain their youth and make their bodies light.' Ko Hung, learned scholar that he was, spoke highly of this substance, saying: 'The longer you refine cinnabar, the more wonderful its transformations; as for gold, it can be refined five hundred times and not change its composition. These two can assist in attaining immortal state.'

Practitioners presumably also perform the following necessary ritual (though EoR has never been at the TCM doctor's at the required time, thankfully).

According to Yuan Liao-fan, transmutation of the ching [essence] can be assisted by an esoteric practice that involves rising at midnight, sitting down on the bed, placing one hand round the scrotum and the other over the navel. 'Then shên [spirit] will congeal in the inner channel of the scrotum and, with long practice, the ch'i [vitality] can be made refulgent.'

EoR just bets it does.

The quotes are from Taoism: the Quest for Immortality by John Blofeld (Unwin Paperbacks, 1979).


  1. I find cinnabar to be very crunchy and the gold tends to stick to my teeth. I use flakes cuz it doesn't cost so much.
    Thanks for the post; I've been doing the other thing wrong which is why my "chi" hasn't been refulgent. This will also help me save on tissues.



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