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Fear hurts the vital energy (kidney qi)

Written by Shouchun Ma
Translated by MG Li


One day during the Cultural Revolution, the Rebels faction held a one hundred thousand person mobilization rally in the Datian Bay Square.


Several leaders of the Royalists were forced onto stage to be criticized.


Rolling red flags and thundering chants, along with several dozen Rebel workers armed with broadswords, surrounded the stage, making it a spectacular assembly.

A team leader of the Royalists was so shaken.  When the Rebels turned to him, someone asked, “should he be killed?”  There was the overwhelming chant “Kill him! Kill him!” At that moment, a hand slapped on the back of his neck, and he fell to the ground, incontinent,  thinking that his head was chopped off.  He became unable to stand or walk.

Afterwards, he sought treatment from Western and Chinese medicine.  Whereas Western medicine could not offer a definite diagnosis, Chinese medicine determined the symptoms to be some form of flaccid paralysis.


He told the details of the story to us, and we could not stop laughing.  He was thus given the nickname “one with a chopped off head”.


After Teacher Shi heard the symptoms, he immediately told us students that it was a result of emotional injury, the vital essence (kidney qi) damaged by fear.


Teacher Shi prescribed a treatment, with varying doses of Shen Qi Wan.  His students would perform acupuncture, followed by moxibustion, with the most common applications at the baihui, shenyu, mingmen, guanyuan, and weizhong points.


He could walk after  a month, but continued to be afraid of going to crowded places.  It took another six months of intermittent treatment for him to return to normal.


The seriousness of illnesses caused by emotions is well illustrated here.  Thus there is the saying in Chinese medicine: “The six evil elements hurt from without, whereas the seven emotions hurt from within.”


In my opinion, Chinese medicine is rooted among the populace, who support it’s growth.  Thus Chinese medicine is a medical discipline, as well as a cultural study.
Those familiar with the cultural backgrounds of Chinese medicine will be easier to understand this field.  A folk proverb says “a cultured person studying medicine is like catching a rooster from the cage”.
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