In This Issue
Pangu Created the World

Heaven Above, Earth Below

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Lok-Kwan is a Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of Illinois. He is a national board certified acupuncturist and herbalist. He sees patients and teaches qigong in Chicago and Wilmette.

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Issue #1March 2012
Qigong among the hoodoos
Greetings and a 50% Discount!

After a year's hiatus, Inner Gate Qigong is springing back into action. Although I stopped offering group classes, I have continued to teach Qigong on a one-on-one basis. New students may take advantage of the 50% discount for a private class and experience how customized and targeted instruction can help them along their paths.

This issue features three stories. Ancient history meets space age science in the perennial Quest for Immortality. Pangu Created the World is a Chinese creation myth. Its meaning and relevance to Chinese medicine are explored in Heaven Above, Earth Below. I hope you find these stories interesting!

questQuest for Immortality
Few things are as certain in life as death. The Elixir of Immortality, or Elixir of Life, is a substance that confers eternal life or eternal youth. All ancient cultures have some myths about it; the search for lasting youth, beauty, and health is a perennial human expression.




After Qin Shi Huang became the ruler of a unified China in 221 BC, he envisioned a perpetual empire that was purely his own. He declared himself the First Emperor, and proceeded to purge the country of the past. He ordered books burned and scholars buried alive. He barricaded the country by building the Great Wall to protect against 'barbarian' invasion, but also to prevent the infiltration of foreign ideas. Only his death would stand in the way of fulfilling such an agenda and, after a number of high-profile assassination attempts on his life, he knew he had to do something about it. He sent expeditions overseas in search of the Elixir of Immortality. When those efforts came up empty, he had a Terracotta Army of 8,000 soldiers built to protect him in his afterlife.


Easter Island (Photo from Wikipedia)


In the scientific world, this enterprise is carried out at the molecular level. In the 1960s, a group of Western scientists went to Easter Island. They collected and brought back blood samples from the natives and soil samples from the island. In one of those jars of soil were found bacteria that were able to significantly prolong the lifespan of mice. They were named rapamycin, after Rapa Nui, another name for Easter Island. Rapamycin inhibits the expression of a protein named TOR (Target Of Rapamycin), and in so doing retards the process of aging and decay. Although Rapamycin is used in some cancer-combatting drugs, it is not suitable as a longevity substance because it is an immunosuppressant     


mTOR (Image from Wikipedia)  


with serious side effects. Its importance here is the light it throws on mTOR (mammalian Target Of Rapamycin), a genetic protein that is essential for healthy, normal growth and development of life in its early stage, but unfortunately also responsible for its degeneration in its late stage. The expression of mTOR mediates the life process. The search now is for safe substances that may inhibit mTOR.


The Elixir of Immortality that the Daoists talk about may refer to several things. First of all, there is the difference between Nei Dan and Wei Dan. Nei Dan is the cultivation of internal elixir by practicing qigong or meditation. Wei Dan is the ingestion of external substances, like minerals and herbs. Cinnabar was a common form of Wei Dan. It was taken in minute amounts to aid meditation. Cinnabar contains mercury and is highly toxic. It killed quite a few Daoists, including several emperors. A different kind of Wei Dan is a group of herbs, many of them mushrooms, regarded as having a spiritual affinity. They can be safely taken for a long period of time. The top three may be ginseng, lingzhi (reshi), and cordyceps. They are regarded as longevity herbs because they build health and protect against diseases. Many studies show that they protect the vital systems and functioning of the body and inhibit tumor growth. They retard the aging process as the inhibition of mTOR seems also to do.


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panguPangu Created the World

Pangu 盤古 was the first being born out of formless chaos. For 18,000 years, Pangu grew in a cosmic egg, working ceaselessly to create order by separating the clear yang from the turbid yin. The clear became the egg white, the turbid the yolk. Out of these, he created heaven and earth.

Each day, heaven rose ten feet, earth expanded ten feet, and Pangu grew ten feet taller. After incubating for 18,000 years, Pangu hatched from the egg and laid down to rest. His breath became the wind, his voice the thunder. His left eye became the sun, his right eye the moon. His limbs and trunk became the mountain ranges. His blood became the rivers, his flesh the fertile soil. His hair and beard became the stars and the Milky Way, his fur the trees and forests. His teeth and bones became metals and minerals. The marrow of his bones became jade and pearls. His sweat became the rain and the dew. And when the wind blew, the fleas on his fur became fish and animals. Thus, the world was born.                                                                                                            

heavenHeaven Above, Earth Below

Humans, unlike most animals, are blessed with a vertically oriented spine, rooted in earth, but reaching up to heaven. In establishing order, knowing up from down assumes foremost importance. yang is light, and ascends. yin is dense, and descends. yang is heaven above. yin is earth below. But up/down is only one dimension of yang/yin. When Pangu laid down to rest, his left eye transformed into the sun, his right eye the moon. The left side of the body and the sun are yang. The right side of the body and the moon are yin. The left-yang, right-yin distinction is commonly used in acupuncture. When only one side needs to be needled, men are needled on the left, women on the right. It also explains the placement of Liver diagnostic areas on the left side of the cheeks and abdomen, since the Liver is a yang zang organ; and the placement of Lung diagnostic areas on the right, since the Lung is a yin zang organ.


The distinction between clear yang and turbid yin is very important in Chinese medicine. Turbid means thick, or dense. Turbid does not mean dirty or bad. The head is heaven; it is the highest part of the body. It is the most yang part of the body; hence, it should be filled with clear yang. If it is, the brain and senses will function well. The person will be able to perceive the world and communicate clearly, and respond appropriately. If it is not, a blockage be preventing the clear yang from rising, or the body is unable to descend the turbid yin. Either way, the head is now filled with turbid yin. The senses will be clouded, the head will feel heavy, the person will not be able to think or speak clearly.


Phlegm is a excellent example of turbid yin. It can be in the familiar form that can be seen - thick and sticky; or thin and clear; or yellow, green, or brown in color, depending on whether it is associated with cold or heat. But there is also psychospiritual phlegm that has no physical form. It is the emotional or mental blocks that stick to the sensory organs and confuse their functioning. Phlegm can generate and combine with wind or fire to create headaches, dizziness, epilepsy, or mania.


Spleen is the organ most responsible for raising the clear yang. A common scenario for the generation of phlegm is this: emotional frustration causes Liver qi to stagnate, blocking Spleen function so that the Spleen cannot raise the clear yang and turbid yin cannot descend. In time, turbid yin turns into phlegm.


The most important acupoint for getting rid of phlegm is Stomach 40, located at the middle and about an inch on the outside of the shin bone. The two main herbs for raising clear yang are Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) and Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri). They are often used together in combination with other herbs. Unlike western herbalism, few Chinese herbs are used singly.


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Take your first one-hour private qigong class with Lok-Kwan at the reduced fee of $45. You can also buy a class as a gift for a friend. To enroll, please submit payment below, then contact Lok-Kwan at 847-323-9297 to set up a convenient time for your lesson. Unused classes will expire 90 days from the date of purchase; no refund will be issued.

Offer Expires March 15, 2012