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Cancer And Master Acupuncture

by Michael James Edmondson(more info)

listed in cancer, originally published in issue 217 - October 2014

Cancer is a western medicine disease whereas Master Acupuncturists practise oriental medicine, so how is it going to be possible to reconcile these two entities - the western medical disease of cancer and the oriental medical practice of master acupuncture?

The answer is in two parts:

By examining the symptoms; By examining the energetics that underlie genetic predisposition.

Firstly, the dominant symptom of cancer appears to be the development of malignant tumours. Tumours are lumps of tissue. In oriental medicine tissue lumps are diagnosed as congealed blood and phlegm. Congealed blood and phlegm occurs due to a functional deficiency of the spleen organic energy. Indeed, a major function of the spleen, in oriental medicine, is the transformation of congealed blood and phlegm. The deep organic energy of the spleen has a fire quality that dries out phlegm and shrivels lumps of congealed blood.

Congested Phlegm Forms Lumps

Congealed Blood and Phlegm Forms Lumps

Secondly, the development of a serious, life threatening disease - according to oriental medicine - occurs as a result of an extreme organic energetic imbalance that triggers a predisposition to specific organ disease and/or dysfunction. Just as there are genetic markers in western medicine that predispose to certain diseases, so there are energetic markers in oriental medicine that predispose to certain diseases. These energetic markers are collectively known as the 'Four Pillars of Destiny'.

Four Pillars of Destiny Example - d.o.b. 18/12/1952 1655hrs

Four Pillars of Destiny Example - d.o.b. 18/12/1952 1655hrs

When master acupuncturists diagnose the condition congealed congealed blood and phlegm in a client, they know that they are dealing with an imbalance of the spleen organic energy, either in quantity or in quality or in both. They apply the acupuncture formula for this condition, using specific acupuncture points that tonify and support the spleen energy. Moxibustion is applied to each of the four needles used in this treatment. The aim is to reduce the size of the lumps over the course of the treatment.

Moxa with Acupuncture Needles - Example

Moxa with Acupuncture Needles - Example

Then the master acupuncturist examines the energetics of the client's fourth pillar of destiny. This energetic pattern, created at the moment of birth, reveals the underlying energetic predisposition for serious illness to occur, should the client become extremely energetically imbalanced. The master acupuncturist balances the energetics of the fourth pillar of destiny to resolve the underlying cause of serious, life threatening disease. The following recent case history serves as an example of how a master acupuncturist responds to a client who presents in clinic with the western medical diagnosis of cancer.

Client: Michele K:  d.o.b. 23/04/1965

24/10/2013 - Initial Consultation

Western Medical History - the client presents with cancer in the left neck lymph nodes / cancer cells in the chest cavity/cancer in the liver (at least 7 tumours). Relevant past western medical history goes back to March 2011 when a womb ablation procedure was carried out that resulted in a womb infection that required 2 months of antibiotics to clear up. In April 2011 the client had a lumpectomy left breast and in August 2011 an axillary clearance of left armpit lymph cancer.

Current Medication

Capecitabine tablet chemotherapy: 2 weeks on/1 week off. A portacap was fitted on the right side in June 2013.

Oriental Medical History - the client presents with congealed blood and phlegm affecting three heater/lung / liver organic energy. Relevant past oriental medical history goes back to trauma of the spleen organic energy (the womb is controlled and nourished by this energy in oriental medicine) in March 2011, when the womb was subject to 30 seconds of radiotherapy followed by 2 months of antibiotics (these drugs weaken the spleen organic energy). Spleen organic energy dysfunction in transforming congealed blood and phlegm led to the formation of lumps to present day. Michele's personal energy signature, her energetic predisposition, indicates serious illness can be triggered by an imbalance between the small intestine and the lung organic energies..

Personal Energy Signature - Example

Personal Energy Signature - Example

In order to manage Michele's expectations a master acupuncture 'consent to treatment' form is signed by the client. This is a consent to treatment of the oriental medical condition known as congealed blood and phlegm.

Initial Treatment

Treatment is focused on tonifying the spleen organic energy, clearing the unwanted side effects of chemotherapy. The client is shown how to stimulate the acupuncture point pericardium-6 (nausea point); and raising the spirit by needling the highest energy point in the meridian system (ba hui at the vertex of the head).


ba hui
ba hui

Spleen Organic Energy Points

Spleen Organic Energy Points


31/10/2013 – 2nd Treatment

Michele reports that she is back on the 2 weekly chemotherapy cycle. She complains of raw, painful palms and soles. A bruised area has appeared at acupuncture point small intestine-18 on the face. Treatment is focused on increasing cool, yin energy by activating the sea of yin meridian (ren mai) and then cooling the metabolism by using the metabolic regulating points along the ren mai.

Ren Mai Meridian

Ren Mai Meridian

8/11/2013 - 3rd Treatment

Michele reports that her sleep has improved, along with her mood. She says that she feels hot on the outside and cold on the inside. Treatment is the needling of the 'four gates', well known for harmonizing internal and the external sensation.

Four Gates Points

Four Gates Points

13/11/2013 - 4th Treatment

Improvements are again made in energy levels and sleeping well, but Michele feels nauseous, and was physically sick that very morning, as well as abdominal distension. Blood test results reveal a strengthened liver function. Treatment is focused on the nausea and distension symptoms using pericardium-6 and the acupuncture point for abdominal distension (liver-13).

22/11/2013 - 5th Treatment

The client has discovered what seem to be lumps in her right breast and she is to go for further investigation next week. Treatment is focused on stimulating the spleen organic energy in both quantity and quality.

28/11/2013 - 6th Treatment

Scans show that it is scar tissue formation and not tumours in her right breast.

Treatment is focused on balancing the pulses according to oriental medicine.

5/12/2013 - 7th Treatment

At the last treatment session it was explained to the client that she was now strong enough in terms of energetic oriental medicine to begin a series of treatments using the master acupuncture formula for reducing lumps of congealed blood and phlegm. Treatment: the four points were needled and each point was fired up by burning moxa on it five times. Michele was then instructed in how to use moxa sticks to self-moxa the four points once a day.

Self Moxa

Self Moxa

12/12/2013 - 8th Treatment

Michele has been experiencing extremely painful, raw and cracked skin on her hands and feet for the past 3 weeks, put down to chemotherapy side effects. Her western medicine consultant has suspended the chemotherapy because of this side effect. The client reports that mucous and phlegm are being released through her 'orifices'. Energy levels remain good. Treatment: the master acupuncture formula for congealed blood and phlegm with more self-moxa sticks to last until the next treatment.

16/12/2013 - 9thTreatment

Michele reports that sore/red hands and feet problem is clearing up. She feels tired but restful. Chemotherapy has been suspended for the last 18 days, with CT scans and a consultant meeting due next month. Treatment: the mini-series of master acupuncture formula treatments is completed during this session, but the client will continue to self-moxa the four points herself up until the next treatment.

23/12/2013 - 10th Treatment

Michele reports that blood test results show nothing abnormal. However, she is concerned about deteriorating health, about ending up in a wheelchair with intravenous chemotherapy. She has decided not to take her prescribed chemotherapy. The client complains of liver pain that feels like chronic indigestion with throbbing. Treatment is focused on liver pain relief and liver function stimulation by using the liver and gallbladder command points on the bladder meridian.

Command Points

Command Points

21/1/2014 - 11th Treatment

The client reports that she has been trying the chemotherapy on and off over the past month but complains of sickness and venal problems. Michele also has the same liver pains as before. Treatment this time combines the master acupuncture formula plus the nausea point plus the abdominal distension point.

6/3/2014 - 12th Treatment

CT scan results have come back, showing a lymphatic tumour in the neck that has increased in size, but the largest liver tumour has reduced by 33%. On examination, her hands and feet are swollen and raw. She is back on chemotherapy. Treatment is focused on regulating the fire quality of the spleen organic energy.

27/ 3/2014 - 13th Treatment

Michele reports that all swellings and internal heat are much lower, even the hands and feet. Treatment is focused on increasing yang energy by activating the sea of yang meridian (du mai) and the bladder meridian. The next CT scan results are expected before the next treatment session.

Du Mai Meridian

Du Mai Meridian

14/4/2014 - 14th Treatment

CT scan results were in on the 1st April: Multiple tumours in the liver are now almost invisible. All chest cavity tumours have gone. The neck tumour has gone. Some non-pathogenic lumps and some lymphoedema remain. The oncologist has advised Michele to continue with the chemotherapy; however she has refused. The oncologist agrees to a six week break in the chemotherapy on the understanding that Michele takes Letrozole (tablets) - hormonal treatment. Letrozole prevents the body from producing oestrogen in the fat reserves, effectively starving the remaining tumours. The client reports that she has not taken the Letrozole, as previous hormonal treatment for the cancer in her body "had a serious nasty effect". Treatment this time is the opposite of the last treatment, with sea of yin (ren mai) activated and metabolic function regulated. Michele is advised to consult a local expert in the treatment of lymphoedema.

21/4/2014 - 15th Treatment

Michele has low back pain but feels a lot stronger. She looks vibrant and says she feels less vulnerable. Treatment is focused on the underlying cause of serious illness for her i.e. the small intestine organic energy and its relative balance to the lung organic energy. The acupuncture point small intestine-5 is used. This point reduces over production of oestrogen, for which her consultant has recommended a course of hormonal treatment.

Small Intestine-5

Small Intestine-5

The course of oriental medicine treatment for congealed blood and phlegm is now completed.

Michele's next oncology appointment is on May 15th 2014. The client will return in 6 weeks’ time for a follow up consultation with a view to further master acupuncture course of treatment as necessary. In the meantime Michele will return for a treatment session addressing her hormonal imbalances.

16/05/2014 - 16th Treatment

Michele saw her oncologist on the 15th. He wants to focus on her hormonal imbalances by using an oestrogen reduction drug called Aromasin, effectively starving any remaining tumours of oestrogen producing growth. Michele agreed and started this drug therapy yesterday. Already she has a blinding forehead headache which she attributes to the new drug reaction. The plan is for her to continue on this treatment until the results of her next CT scan (28th May) are known.

Michele reports that she has been suffering extreme sciatica (right hip) for most of the time that she has been staying away with relatives over the past few weeks. Indeed, it continues despite osteopathic interventions.

Treatment - A structural acupressure release technique (sart) is used to realign the pelvis in relieving the sciatica. The main focus of this session is regulating hormonal output . The last treatment was focused on oestrogen reduction and this treatment activates the dai mai meridian. This meridian is known as the girdle meridian, being located at the waist, like a belt. This extraordinary meridian regulates current hormonal balances.

Dai Mai Meridian

Dai Mai Meridian

The master acupuncture point of this meridian is Zu Lin Qi, commonly known as Gallbladder 41. This point is also the moving point for qi flow throughout the gallbladder meridian. This meridian travels through the hip and indeed, the gallbladder organic energy governs the entire hip. A block in this energy meridian often manifests as sciatica. The hips are all about moving forward, and in oriental medicine as in other energy medicines, at an energetic level a block of energy in the right hip indicates an imbalance in the person's relationship between self and other.

To activate the extraordinary meridian dai mai, the master acupuncturist needles the couple point, Wai Guan, the outer gate known as ThreeHeater 5. Wu Shu, a point along dai mai, is also bilaterally needled to assist in maintaining low oestrogen production. Michele is shown how to acupressure the point he gu, also known as Colon 4, as it is known to relieve forehead headache. She is also encouraged to try the sart treatment on a daily basis herself if needs be.



Her next treatment session will be in a week - a hormonal follow up treatment. After that treatment, a telephone consultation will take place once Michele has received the results of the next CT scan.


Case Example Update

The mini-series of master acupuncture formula points for dissolving congealed blood and phlegm (akin to tumours/lumps in western medicine) was completed in treatment #9 on16/12/13, with the client, Michele, continuing to self-moxa these points up to treatment #15 on 21/04/14. Michele's oncologist then decided on a six week break from chemotherapy in order to focus on a hormonal treatment approach, using the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole.

The master acupuncturist prescription of Dai Mai acupuncture points for treatment #16 on 16/05/14 reflects this shift in approach, complementing the western medical treatment regime.

26/05/14 - 17th Treatment

CT scan results show a resumption of tumour growth, specifically in the liver, chest cavity and bones (T-11 vertebra and left hip).

Michele reports that two days ago she forgot how to swim whilst swimming in the sea! She was helped to shore and then found it difficult to dress, talk and walk. She was taken to hospital where on examination she was found to have fluid on the left brain. Michele is now put on steroids prior to a pre-op assessment.

Master acupuncture treatment on this occasion was a one needle treatment - Du 15 - and Michele was advised that further acupuncture treatment would be ineffective whilst she continued to take high dosage steroids.

28/06/14 - 18th Treatment

A month has passed and now Michele is on a much reduced steroid dosage. Interestingly, after the last one point master acupuncture treatment, she felt strong pain for 2 hours, followed by intense sweating and copious nasal phlegm discharge. After this, she had a restful and much needed night's sleep. Treatment today was a repeat of the previous treatment.

02/07/14 - 19th Treatment

Yesterday, Michele had a brain scan, showing a left hemisphere brain tumour. The good news is that the tumour is superficial to brain tissue and eminently operable. Tomorrow, Michele is having some radiotherapy on her left hip.

The master acupuncture formula for maintaining life is the treatment.

04/07/14 - 20th Treatment

Following yesterday’s radiotherapy, Michele has a master acupuncture treatment to boost energy levels prior to brain surgery on the 7th.

If successful, then Michele's oncologist has said that a return to chemotherapy can be expected in 4-5 weeks’ time. This timescale is taken into account in planning the next miniseries of master acupuncture treatments for congealed blood and phlegm.

11/07/14 - 21st Treatment

Michele is back home after successful brain surgery.

Treatment is all about increasing yin energy and protecting the spirit, hence the use of Ren Mai (sea of yin) and associated points along the meridian.

21/07/14 - 22nd Treatment

It's been over 2 weeks since the radiotherapy session and Michele is now very stiff and painful in the hips and pelvis, but she still intends on going for a swim later today! She also reports that the left side of her head is very hot and that she has misty vision.

The master acupuncture treatment is to needle and moxa the four gates of chi in order to increase yang moving energy and also because one of the four gate points, Liver 3, is known to clear misty vision when moxa'd. The bladder meridian painkiller point is also used in this session.

25/07/14 - 23rd Treatment

Michele's GP has invited her to make a will and to take stronger painkillers "as there's no knowing how much longer you may live".

Master acupuncture treatment is threefold:

i)          Reduce pain levels with known painkiller points;

ii)         Protect the spirit;

iii)        Local points for hip pain.

28/07/14 - 24th Treatment

Michele has fluid retention in the chest cavity, mouth ulcers and a sore mouth. Master acupuncture treatment is aimed at stimulating organ function using 7 command points on the bladder meridian, and also reducing lung fluid.

31/07/14 - 25th Treatment

Michele sees her oncologist tomorrow with a view to restarting chemotherapy.

Master acupuncture treatment is twofold:

i)          Continued treatment for lung fluid retention;

ii)         Preparing to support chemotherapy treatment.

07/08/14 - 26th Treatment

Michele reports that the lung fluid issue has resolved since last treatment.

X-ray results show that the right hip has some bone disease.

Master acupuncture treatment involves use of the bone stimulating point, and Michele is shown how to self-moxa this point.

12/08/14 - 27th Treatment

Michele has been away on holiday and is in noticeably more pain when moving. Treatment consists of pain relief points for the lower back along with acupuncture points to stimulate the liver energy which is very weak according to pulse diagnosis.

18/08/14 - 28th Treatment

Michele started another chemotherapy course 2 weeks ago and will have radiotherapy on the right hip after seeing her oncologist tomorrow.

Treatment is aimed at resolving pain and increasing energy for another mini-series of master acupuncture formula points for congealed blood and phlegm, due to start at her next master acupuncture session.

Master Acupuncture Conclusion

Acupuncture is well known for providing pain relief, nausea relief and increasing energy levels in client's with the western medical diagnosis of cancer.

The master acupuncture treatment of congealed blood and phlegm (akin to tumours/lumps in western medicine) is a stand-alone treatment according to oriental medicine.

In this case example it has been used by the master acupuncturist in support of western medical chemotherapy, complementing the western medical approach. This case example appears to lend some validity to the combined use of chemotherapy and master acupuncture in treating tumours.

The energetic effects induced by acupuncture can be overwhelmed when the client is prescribed either high dosage steroids, hormonal treatments or radiotherapy.


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About Michael James Edmondson

Michael James Edmondson Lic Ac ICOM worked for the NHS for eight years. Michael switched over to alternative medicine and graduated from the International College of Oriental Medicine in 1994. Over the last 20 years Michael has practised clinical acupuncture in both private and NHS clinical settings. Having taught Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong for many years, Michael co-founded the TaiYoga fusion fitness system and is co-founder of Birthday Oils. Michael may be contacted via    

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