The meaning of life was for human beings to return to the Dao in consciousness (or become ‘Immortals’). The role of the alchemical acupuncturist was to educate people as to how to live their allotted lifespan and, through judicious use of bone and metal needles and burning herbs, to assist them in completing their ‘curriculum’. It was always stated that treating after the development of symptoms was, perhaps, a little too late?
In 1935 John Blofeld met a Daoist monk at his monastery in the mountains. This was what that monk had to say about immortals:
“Immortals not only break wind or belch like other people, they die.
Becoming immortal has little to do with physical changes,
like the graying of a once glossy black beard;
it means coming to know something, realizing something –
an experience that can happen in a flash!
Ah, how precious is that knowledge!
When it first strikes you, you want to sing and dance or you nearly die of laughing!
For suddenly you recognize that nothing in the world can hurt you.”
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ACUPUNCTURE AND ORIENTAL MEDICINE
By the time of the middle ages, acupuncture in China had been sidelined in favour of herbal medicine and other oriental medical techniques. This focus on integration and homogenization continued during the modernization and westernization of China. Acupuncture in Japan, Korea and Vietnam followed a different course with increasing diversification and creation of microsystems. All of these traditions are now emerging in the melting pot of western society.
FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE
The theory of the Five Phases or Five Elements appears in many acupuncture and Oriental medical traditions. One lineage of Five Element Acupuncture became prominent in the UK in the 1960s (see Peter Eckman, In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor: Tracing the History of Traditional Acupuncture) which in turn gave birth to US Five Element colleges in the 1980s & ‘90s. The Ongiara College of Acupuncture and Moxibustion is the first Canadian college (in Ontario) to come from this particular perspective.