Sketchbook entry

In Chinese Medicine, is ‘energy’ the pathogen?

by Fletcher Kovich


Today, I treated myself for hay fever. I don’t have ‘hay fever’ as such, but I had the symptoms: sneezing and some irritation, or soreness in my eyes.

I do not have the underlying cause of hay fever. My kidney energy has always been good. But because I recently treated a lot of patients with hay fever, I started to adopt the symptoms. This phenomenon happens again and again with myself; I am prone to adopting the symptoms of the patients I treat. I seem to connect very readily with a patient’s energy. This happens particularly when I read a patient’s pulse. When I ‘connect’ to each pulse, I can often feel symptoms in my body which are usually the result of a problem with the particular organ whose pulse I am reading. Also, I seem to adopt the energetic pattern of the person I am near to; I only have to be in a person’s company, on a one-to-one basis, and I will start to feel some of their symptoms.

This made me wonder. When someone is ill, is it their own ‘energy’ that is the pathogen inside them?

Certainly, in my own case, in the scenarios mentioned above, this seems to be what is happening. The patient is ‘ill’. This causes the ‘energy’ in their body to flow in a particular way. This pattern is transferred to me (or, I ‘reflect’ that pattern, however the transfer happens; it is certainly true to say that my energy adopts the same ‘pattern’ that their energy has at that moment). I then produce the physical symptoms that the person has, though the symptoms are usually weaker and less permanent in myself. It seems to me that in this particular scenario, the pathogen inside me is pure energy. It is not a pathogen that has transferred to me from the outside world.

This makes me wonder whether all pathogens, when inside the human body, are pure energy. How might this work?

This energy ‘represents’ the outside world, is a ‘model’ of it, in the same way that a groove in a vinyl record is a representation of a sound, but is not really the sound itself. This ‘representation’, then, is adopted by me, even though I have not been exposed to the external pathogen. And this is the way that I ‘pick up’ the ailments of my patients.

My hay fever treatment

The treatment I gave myself consisted of a single acupoint: SJ-5. In the first minute or two of needling this point, I could feel the ‘pathogen’ releasing from my face and left ear. This was an interesting insight into the effectiveness of this point for clearing hay fever pathogens. I had always felt this was the single most important point to use for hay fever patients, and have always had great results using it.

Sound is also a pathogen

The previous night, I had spend a few hours in a club with very loud music playing. I always wear ear plugs in such places. It is the only way I can bear to be in that environment. The next morning, I noticed that I was pancreas deficient: I had a tender abdomen and loose stools. When I read my pulses, my pancreas was deficient and my lung pulse was floating and wiry, indicating that my lungs were fighting off a ‘wind invasion’. The loud, pounding sound had the same effect on my body that a strong wind does. This ‘wind’ penetrated into me and I was fighting off a ‘common cold’ (in contemporary terms).

It seems the reason this produced pancreas deficiency in me was because my lung/pancreas energy is usually low anyway (the lungs and pancreas share the same energy), so the energy in that pairing was being drawn to the lungs, to fight off this Wind Invasion, and there was little left for the pancreas, so this produced in me the symptoms of poor pancreas function.

I needled the acupoints LI-4 and Lu-7, and this restored my pulses and made me feel normal again. The pancreas pulse restored immediately and my tender abdomen cleared. And I no longer felt that I was fighting off a cold. I felt comfortable, all in the space of a few minutes.

It further occurs to me (continuing the previous topic) that such a quick transformation could only take place if the pathogen inside me was pure energy. These acupoints ‘released’ the pathogen, and it was no longer in my body. This ‘releasing’ is a literal thing. I have often noticed when needling certain points on patients, that when I place my hand over the needle I can feel the pathogenic energy venting from that acupoint. It often feels warm and ‘angry’, or ‘agitated’, and rises ‘wind-like’; it is like a stream of energy rising from the needle.

It seems that in this way ‘pathogens’ may be released from the body by using acupuncture. Or at least, it seems this is what's happening. If the pathogen were anything other than pure energy, this effect could not happen. This is not to say that 'viruses' do not exist, but that their involvement in the disease process may not be fully understood.

[FK Aug 2017. The above were some of my working hypotheses from almost ten years ago. My new book explores these areas in detail and has updated, simpler explanations that account for all these phenomena.]

16 June 2008