By Jamuna Rangachari
A renowned healer in Chennai works wonders with acupuncture
Even before I met Dr Muthukumar, people from all over were testifying to their miraculous improvement after his treatment. Mrs Sethulakshmi, afflicted with arthritis, is now off medication and cannot stop singing his praises. Others report lowered blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and an increase in energy levels. When I walk into his clinic he is gazing deeply into a patient’s eye with a magnifying glass. The reason he tells me is the formation of certain patterns in the iris in a diseased condition. So all that needs to be done is pricking a few vital body points to release blocked energy, thus eliminating the presence of disease. “Allopathy has its uses, but we must also recognise the strengths of acupuncture. However, many doctors do not accept this,” he adds ruefully, admitting that long ago he himself was one such sceptic.
After a medical education in Madurai, he practised allopathy in Kumbakonam for several years disregarding any alternative forms of treatment. In fact, when he met a Chinese doctor, Aman Talib, in 1984, at a conference, he openly accused him of hoodwinking the public with mumbo-jumbo about needles. A calm Talib turned around to ask a few simple questions, like why patients getting a heart attack report pain in the little finger, why men were more prone to wearing glasses than women, and other such inscrutable mysteries that set him thinking.
At that time, Dr Muthukumar learnt that the bronchial cases he was treating reported only temporary relief. When he discovered that acupuncture had a complete cure, by energising the lung meridian, he was stunned, and excited. For the next six months, he chased Talib, before the latter agreed to take him under his wing.
The step forward
Today, Dr Muthukumar has numerous prestigious qualifications in acupuncture. He has devoted himself to curing what the allopaths have given up as incurable. Working alongside is a young medical student Sashi Rawat, who was set to pursue her medical studies in the US. However, when she heard of acupuncture she brought her diabetic father to Dr Muthukumar and found that it lowered the sugar levels. It sparked an interest in the Chinese system of healing and she joined the doctor in his work.
“There are so many ailments which can be cured with the unique approach of acupuncture. We really need to recognise its potency,” she says.
What is acupuncture?
Though we often think of it as an alternative, acupuncture is a medical system that is over 5,000 years old. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), on the body’s surface, in order to influence physiological functioning of the body.
The first record of acupuncture is found in the 4,700-year-old Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), said to be the oldest medical textbook in the world. As the basis of acupuncture, Shen Nung theorised that the body had an energy force running through it. The qi (also called chi) consists of all essential life activities, which include the spiritual, emotional, mental, and the physical aspects of life (the Indian equivalent is the concept of prana). A person’s health is influenced by the flow of qi in the body, in combination with the universal forces of yin and yang. If the flow of qi is insufficient, unbalanced, or interrupted, Yin and Yang are unbalanced, and illness may occur.
Qi travels throughout the body along meridians or special pathways. The meridians (or channels), are the same on both sides of the body (paired). There are twelve pairs of meridians and two single ones running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Out of these, there are twelve organ meridians in each half of the body and two unpaired midline meridians. Energy constantly flows up and down these pathways. When pathways become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just imbalanced, the yin and yang are said to be thrown out of balance. This causes illness. Acupuncture is said to restore the balance by releasing the energy.
Another popular treatment method is Moxibustion, which is the treatment of diseases by applying heat to the acupuncture points. Acupuncture and Moxibustion are considered complementary forms of treatment, and are commonly used together. Moxibustion is used for ailments such as bronchial asthma, bronchitis, certain types of paralysis, and arthritic disorders.
Tuning to the body clock
“It is also essential to understand the working of our body clock,” says Dr Muthukumar. ‘For instance, one notices that asthma patients usually get an attack in the early morning hours and so on.”
3 to 5 am Lung
The lung controls physical energy through depth of respiration, and regulates the pores of the skin. It is affected adversely by dryness (in autumn) and anxiety. This is the best time for doing breathing exercises (pranayam). Asthma attacks are common between 3 and 5 am in autumn or during periods of extreme stress. It is also associated with skin problems
5 to 7 am Large intestine
This has a cleansing or detoxifying effect on the body. Mentally controls negativity and toxic thoughts
7 to 9 am Stomach
9 to 11 am Spleen/pancreas
• Maintains body immunity by manufacturing antibodies and WBC.
• Secretes insulin to control blood sugar related with diabetes.
• Transports energy obtained from food to the lungs and after combining with prana (breath) this energy from the lungs, is supplied to the whole body.
• Worry, excessive thinking, excessive consumption of sweets and food affect it adversely
11 to 1 pm Heart
Is the root of life and the seat of the spirit (emotions).
v 1 to 3 pm Small intestine
Assimilation of nutrients from food. Mental assimilation of ideas.
3 to 5 pm Urinary bladder
Protective meridian that regulates all meridians.
5 to 7 pm Kidneys
• Storage tank of body’s surplus energy. Responsible for stamina and sexual vitality and reproduction.
• Decline in kidney energy means ageing, arthritis, deafness.
7 to 9 pm Pericardium
• It protects the heart and is also related to sexual function.
• Emotional feeling of happiness
9 to 11 pm Triple warmer
• Controls respiration, digestion and elimination.
• Controls body temperature and equilibrium
11 to 1 am Gall bladder
Ability to make decisions and execute them. Anger affects it adversely and imbalance can cause migraine, and insomnia.
1 to 3 am Liver
• Controls eye and nervous system
• Generates personal motivation and actions.
• Affected adversely by anger which leads to depression
Like ayurveda and unani, acupuncture is based on sound holistic principles that have stood the test of time. I went away, vowing that I would use acupuncture on myself too.
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