Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott

How Disease penetrates

Posted by Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Acupuncturist Over 1 Year Ago

Western medicine is very good at relieving our symptoms when our body gets ill.

Mind you!

For pain and inflammation, it isn't usually as good as Acupuncture which can often reduce both acute and chronic pain in a few minutes, without the side-effects of medicine. Around 1800 years ago, a Chinese doctor noticed how people's bodies reacted to Cold. Now, in our modern Western world, with our central heated homes, warm cars and thick clothing, we can often ignore Cold! But these luxuries didn't exist until recently, and people did get ill from cold.

Even today, if you're on a ski-lift which stops in a blizzard and keeps you 80 feet up in the air for half an hour while they sort out the problem, you may find Cold has penetrated through even your thick fleece. It could then cause you problems unless you have a way to warm up properly - and quickly! Dr Zhang Zhong Jing (yes, that was his name) developed his theory called 'Six Stages of Disease caused by Penetration of Cold' and described what happened, typically, at each stage and what to do about it. The theory is used in Chinese medicine to this day - it's not some fuddy-duddy nonsense!

Of course, our modern medicines keep us alive when in the past people died, so observing Cold's penetration nowadays is sometimes quite difficult, although you can often notice or guess the level it's being held at by the medications people take and how they cope with other diseases. Other diseases? Well, it took getting on for 1500 years before another Chinese doctor formulated a clear description of what happened when 'hot' diseases penetrated and what to do about them. Of course, they'd been treating hot diseases all that time but not with such a clear formulation of how to do it.

What are hot diseases?

Those caused by bacteria and viruses, including coughs and colds, flu, TB, Ebola and Covid, for example. These are infectious diseases and include infectious epidemics. This theory, for Hot diseases, is called the 'Four Levels'. It's very relevant nowadays, and useful, though again, modern medicine manages to suppress many of the symptoms which would tell you which level the disease has got to. Of course, as regards, hot diseases, the best thing is not to get ill in the first place, hence the importance of hygiene, hand washing and, in some cases, face masks. But if you do get ill, it's comforting to know that there's a theory to deal with it!