Ontake Warm Bamboo is a moxibustion technique with two additional components: pressure and rhythm. A short piece of bamboo is filled with moxa wool. When the bamboo gets hot it is held, tapped, pressed or rolled rhythmically along the acupuncture channels. With the use of a metronome, these techniques can be applied rhythmically at specific frequencies of beats per minute, namely, Dr Manaka’s meridian frequencies, greatly expanding the clinical effects.
This post introduces a holographic model that can be integrated into bamboo treatment that gives it a new use as a fast-acting tool for the relief of pain.
Dr Tan’s Balance Method
Dr Tan was a very effective Chinese practitioner and teacher who developed a simple approach to balancing yin yang. Not only did he use the dynamic relationships between different pairings of meridians to balance the body but he also used the holographic and isophasal relationships between different areas of the body to select the best area to needle.
First described in his book Acupuncture 1 2 3, Dr Tan called his treatment Balance Method. The idea is very simple. If you can identify which channel is out of balance, you can rectify it by treating its natural opposite, for example, internal external pairs, six-channel pairs and polar channel pairs. If the bladder channel is sick, for example, then the balancing channels are kidney, small intestine or lung.
The book describes a three-step protocol. First, you have to identify the ‘’sick’’ meridian. For pain relief, this is quite simple; the sick channel is generally where it hurts. Next, you have to figure out which paired meridian balances the sick channel best. Dr Tan actually used five systems of channel pairing, not just three. Finally, you use one of his holographic mappings to decide the area to needle.
Dr Tan’s protocol works extremely well for both channel and organ problems but it sometimes involves deep needling, often with many needles, which may be manipulated to obtain hibiki. With some simple adaptations, using only three systems of meridian pairings, Ontake can be used for pain relief in exactly the same way. It achieves equivalent results very rapidly and yet is very comfortable to receive.
Dr Tan’s Holographic Models
In the description above, Dr Tan’s method does not yet seem very remarkable. Most acupuncturists know that channels are paired in various ways and that these pairings can be exploited for treatment. What does make his system so effective is that he overlays these basic pairings with holographic thinking. It is these holographic mappings that dictate where on the channel to needle and by putting the two systems together, he made something new and significantly better.
Adapting Dr Tan's System for Bamboo
Ontake is very effective with just three of Dr Tan’s pairing systems: internal external, six-channel pairs and polar channel pairs. His three-step approach can be adapted to Ontake as in the video below.
Dr Tan developed a very effective style of acupuncture by combining together two different treatment modalities: balancing pairs of channels through various pairing systems, at the same time as employing holographic mappings to choose the area to be needled. Dr Manaka himself had used the same idea, for example, using the Hirata zones, another holographic system, to focus his point selection for treating pancreatitis with ion pumping cords.
Bamboo has two areas of physical effect. It generates heat, both radiated heat and conducted heat that feels soothing and can help the muscles relax very fast. Secondly, it affects the soft tissue both by compressing or stretching them, as with simple rolling techniques and with percussion, such as with knocking or tapping. These percussive and rhythmic strokes acquire even more healing momentum when applied with a metronome at the appropriate frequency of the meridian.
In conclusion, importing Tan Balance Method theory into bamboo treatment adds new dimensions to both, on the one hand liberating us from painful needling and on the other focusing the bamboo treatment into very specific and dynamic applications. It is perhaps for these reasons that pain relief with bamboo can be so effective.