Bodymind Treasures

We are the Map


Teaching Stories

Teaching Stories about people, acupressure and Chinese Medicine that I use to illustrate stuff in teaching.

“The Highway Conduit” and Orgasm

So what about this “orgasm” function that’s related to the Penetrating Vessel?  (See “The Penetrating Vessel and Protective Qi: A New York Story.”) Another story.


Whenever I have a chance I teach Chinese Medicine through theater because I teach bodyworkers and we like to experience things physically.  In one class I was demonstrating the interrelated functions of the twelve meridians and the eight strange flows (extraordinary vessels) by having students physically demonstrate how they connect. People playing the “twelve meridians” were in a circle in the order of the 24 hour cycle of qi. I’ve done this with water in paper cups, but this day we were in a space that had a large quantity of small pillows scattered around the room, so they were being passed from meridian to meridian to signify the qi. I then gave the group situations that would divert the qi and each “strange flow” demonstrated how it would help to restore balance. At one point, “Penetrating Vessel,” who was in the very center of the circle, began collecting the pillows from all the “meridians” until she had them all clutched precariously in her arms. In a giant burst of energy, she threw them all into the air and yelled “Orgasm!”  

And there you have it.

It’s pretty much the same function as in emergencies. It draws qi in to the center from all the meridians, only in this case, instead of rushing up or down it all gets “thrust” out in all directions so strongly that it “blasts through the kinks” in the twelve meridians.  Wilhelm Reich was such a great believer in the benefits of orgasm that he wrote a whole book about it. I think of it like a plumber’s helper that blasts water through the pipes with great force to dislodge the clogs.  And that’s why it feels so good and why you feel so relaxed after a good one.

Terrorism & Running Piglet Qi

More Highway Action

Image ID: Shutterstock 1830488852

After 911 I expected to find some depleted Kidney Qi in my New York clients, related to the fear generated by the terrorist attacks. But what I found was a lot of imbalance in the Pericardium. “Terror,” or “fright” in Chinese Medicine is one of the internal dragons – or endogenous causes of disease – and affects both the Kidney and the Heart. It is said to “scatter the Shen.” In a couple of my clients their fright had led to a susceptibility to panic attacks. 

One day when I was surfing through my favorite tome on Chinese Medicine, Deadman and Al-Khafaji’s A Manual of Acupuncture, I came across something called “running piglet disorder.” This was very intriguing. The disorder was caused by fear and fright and described as a situation in which “…qi is violently discharged and rushes upwards along the Penetrating vessel causing great agitation and anxiety.” Remember that the Penetrating vessel is intimately related to the Heart and Blood Vessels. It also says that it can be related to stagnant Liver qi turning to heat and rushing up.

I told a client about this description and about the Penetrating Vessel’s “fast lane” in danger function. (See “Protective Qi and the Penetrating Channel: A New York Story.) Over several sessions with lots of mindfulness on her part both in session and between sessions, we discovered that as a panic attack came on she would feel  the qi run up and then run down and then run up again, rather like a penned, frightened, squealing piglet looking for some way out. We concluded that this is precisely the long-term effectiveness of terrorist activity. In danger there is usually a source of threat that one can either fight – energy up to the head and shoulders – or run away from – energy down to the legs.  In this situation, one doesn’t know where to run or whom to fight and so the qi generated can’t be channeled into the sinews. It gets collected for action and stays trapped on the highway, unable to commit to fight or flight.

In her sessions, when she was calm, we worked on finding tasks for the gathering qi to give it something to do, rather than run up and down squealing.  I taught her the “Punching with Angry Eyes” exercise from Pal Dan Gum (The Eight Brocades form of Qi Gong) to direct it out through the face and arms. She decided that what she needed from her legs was grounding. In her mind’s eye she saw the Ents from the Lord of the Rings trilogy: the huge, living tree-like beings, slow moving because of their enormous roots and determined nature. With practice, her panic attacks began to diminish in severity and she was even able to intercede occasionally when she felt one might be coming on. Our most spectacular results came one day, however, when she arrived for a session in the throes of a panic attack triggered by an appointment with the dentist scheduled for later in the afternoon. Using her tools for moving the energy, and working with the Penetrating Vessel (most importantly St 30 and the master and coupled points – GB 41 and TW 5) we were able to calm the qi. It was the only time in her experience to date that she had been able to do anything but wait it out once a panic attack was in full throttle.

More About What You Might Find Here (8/4/15)

dvsheadshotgerald.My plan is to post something here at least twice a month. Each posting will have one or more of these parts:

  1. A verse from my book-in-progress, Guidance from the Old Sage. My favorite book on Taoism is The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, so don’t mistake this for another scholarly translation of the Tao Te Ching. It is just I what heard the old sage say when I asked about my own life, my family, or working with other people. I fully embrace my imperfect interpretations, because even though flawed, they have given me insight, perspective and peace. Regarding terminology, I read “The Great Mother” and “The Tao” as other names for “The Great Mystery” of Native Americans, “The Emptiness” of Buddhism ,” and the Judeo-Christian “God.” Whatever words we use, “it” is formless, full of compassion, gives birth to all things and, when you get right down to it, can’t be named. I’ve mainly called it “Love.”
  2. A piece from another book-in-progress, taken from my anatomy and physiology course by the same name, Western Body, Eastern Mind, Integrated Anatomy & Physiology. This will be on some aspect of Chinese Medicine from the perspective of Western Science. Or vice versa.
  3. Teaching Stories about people, acupressure and Chinese Medicine that I use to illustrate stuff in teaching.
  4. Short, easy Meditations  for the reader.

©2015 Deborah Valentine Smith

Blog at

Up ↑