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December 05, 2004

Ghost Syndromes

Ghost Syndromes by Sherri B. Green

Introduction

As a student of Five-Element Acupuncture the study of possession and the seven dragons for seven devils protocol for treating demonic possession or what some practioners refer to as energetic blocks of emotional fixation. Treatment of possession is emphasized in Classical Five-Element Acupuncture because it does not allow the treatment of other ailments before the removal of this block. The colorful and mythical name of possession and its acupuncture treatment protocol has lead me to the study of the thirteen ghost points and what I refer here to as the ghost syndrome. Ghost Syndromes are a group of symptoms that can be associated with mania, fright and schizophrenia. These syndromes includes ghost talk, ghost evil, seeing ghost and floating ghost talk. These colorful descriptions depict the symptoms of mental unrest and disruption of the spirit. Ghost evil is described as "a disorder probably attributed to demonic possession". (Deadman et. al., p. 375) Floating corpse ghost talk refers to delirious speech seen in the terminal stages of pulmonary tuberculosis. Seeing ghosts refers to delusions of ghost-like images. And, ghost talk is delirious speech and ranting. Ghost syndrome is considered a form of possession (In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor, p. 213 ). In this short paper I will discuss ghost syndromes using the theories of classical Five-Element acupuncture diagnostic approaches and eight principles diagnostic approaches. I will then discuss the widely accepted treatment strategies accepted by both approaches.

Discussion

Eight Principles Diagnostic Characteristics

Reviewing Ghost Syndromes in terms of the eight principle diagnostic characteristics I will review tongue and pulse diagnosis associated with the syndrome and analyze the disharmonies associated with this syndrome. Finally, I described the approaches for treatment.

Symptoms of ghost syndromes are red tongue with a yellow greasy coating, wiry pulse, Heart, Liver and Gallbladder official disharmonies creating heat and accumulating phlegm in these officials. In ghost syndromes the heart disharmony is the most pronounced, accounting for the extreme mental and emotional signs and symptoms. Ghost Syndromes are commonly described as Phlegm-Heat in the Heart Official and Phlegm in the Liver and, or Gallbladder Officials.

Heart Official disharmonies displays symptoms mental and spiritual disorders. Most mental disorders involve the heart official. Conditions caused by heart disharmonies are absent-mindedness, delirium, costs, different conditions of mental disturbance, insanity, schizophrenia, excess joy, a lack of consciousness, hysteria, and frozen laughter--laughter which is not released, where the energy or the laughter is a part of inhalation and hyperventilation, which reflects unbalanced energy. (Classical Five-Element Acupuncture: The Five Elements and the Officials. Vol. III, p. 135-39)

Liver disharmonies often have symptoms of tensions and diffused pains in general, tensions and pains specifically in the chest and rib areas, anger, irritability, anxiety, "stress," and depression, menstrual irregularities, premenstrual symptoms, acute symptoms in the head: headaches especially, sometimes dizziness, ringing in the ears, eye problems, spasms, shaking in the muscles. The symptoms associated with ghosts syndromes are irritability, anxiety, fright, anger and lack of control of muscles. The liver harmonizes the emotions, and healthy liver functions allows the individual to relax and have even disposition. The liver stores the Blood directly impacting the health of the Heart and the Qi flow to the heart. The liver harmonizes the functions among the organs especially the spleen and stomach officials. The liver controls the secretion, storage and release of bile. (Classical Five-Element Acupuncture: The Five Elements and the Officials. Vol. III, p. 103-08)

Gallbladder disharmony have symptoms of mental confusion and inability to make decisions, jaundice, cholecystitis, madness and insanity, suicidal behavior, eye pain and gallstones.The gallbladder stores and secretes bile into the intestines. (Classical Five-Element Acupuncture: The Five Elements and the Officials. Vol. III, p. 108-14)

Approaches for treatment in the Eight Principle approach to treating ghost syndromes the focuses on draining and eliminating heat and phlegm from the heart, liver and gallbladder officials, using acupuncture treatment for first aid and focused energetic therapy and herbal therapy for the draining and eliminating heat and phlegm using decoctions. In the acupuncture treatment points may be needled, pricked or pricked with dermal needles such as 7-star hammer (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm).

Five Element Diagnostics Characteristics
In looking at Ghost Syndromes one needs to take into consideration the relationship between the Wood (Liver and Gallbladder officials) and Fire (Heart Officials) Elements. Deficiency within these elements indicate the severity and the pronunciation of the symptoms. Heat and phlegm in the heart results in more unrest and disruption to the spirit and irritability. However, heat and phlegm in the liver and gallbladder drains and disrupts their ability to send Qi to Fire Elements Heart Official along the Shen cycle. A deficient Wood element creates a deficient Heart Official because of a lack of nourishment from the Wood Element. Therefore,
Wood (Liver and Gallbladder Officials) Element is unable to nourish the Heart Official.

Also, contributing to the heat and phlegm in these officials is different elements' officials inability to nourish other officials along the Control cycle or K'o cycle. In the case of the ghost syndromes Earth's control of water is not adjusted leading to Heat Pernicious Influence Injuring Yin, in these cases the organs of the middle burner. Therefore, the Small Intestine Official (Fire Element), Colon Official (Metal Element), Stomach and Spleen Officials (Earth Element), and Gallbladder and Liver Officials (Wood Element) all show signs of deficiency and labor within the pulse and tongue diagnosis. They are unable to send Qi along the K'o cycle thus causing heat and phlegm to build in the Heart, Liver and Gallbladder officials. The injury manifests itself as phlegm and heat in the Heart, Liver and Gallbladder. Although, it is rare that ghost syndromes appear unaccompanied by other syndromes and disease, which is noted by the overall disfunction of the majority of the officials/meridians throughout the body. One might ask where is the root deficiency or what is the causative factor creating this syndrome. The causative factor may be either the fire, wood, or water element. In the appearance of ghost syndromes indicates the decline and strain of the majority of the body's officials. The degree of damage indicates a probable congenital weakness in one of these elements. However, the causative factor needs to be identified by assessing the individual's pallor, body odor, emotions, and vocal sound quality.

Finally, let us describe the approaches for treatment for these syndromes. It is first important to remove any blocks that my impede treatment. The block that impedes treatment is possession, which is assessed by examining eyes for fixation. During the first treatment this syndrome should be addressed by first aid acupuncture treatment for hysteria, which will address some of the acute symptoms and initiate the individual's calming. The other two imbalancing blocks are Aggressive Energy and Husband wife Imbalance (Traditional Acupuncture, p.169-185). Both of these imbalances are life threatening and should be assess for in the initial diagnostic exam and treated immediately following the removal of possession and first aid treatment. During the initial exam the causative factor is assessed and the official identified as the causative factor should be treated by a four needle treatment. During this first treatment different symptoms of the syndrome should be treated by pricking and needling the ghost points or the points associated with the symptoms of the syndrome. Below both are outlined. Also, included in the outlines are the ghost protocol approach recommended by Bob Flaws. (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm)

In this discussion, I have reviewed the different approaches to treating ghost syndromes using two dominant theories of the practice of acupuncture. I have avoided comparing the two theories, because the strength of both are pertinent in any practitioners practice whether they practice Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional Oriental Medicine, Classical Five-Element acupuncture or another acupuncture tradition. Classical Five-Element acupuncture routinely addresses possession as a part of the diagnostic exam and treatment. Ghost syndromes is considered a type of possession (In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor, p. 213 ). Traditional Chinese Medicine, which utilizes yin/yang and the eight principle theory predominantly heals using herbology. Therefore, in treatments with acupuncture and herbs eight principle approach is always present.

Case Study

Yin/Yang and Eight Principle theory of treatment
The following outlines the particular acupuncture protocols and herbal treatments for ghost syndromes as described above in the treatment strategies.
Acupuncture Treatments
Ghost Talk: ST-32
p.151"Actions: Activates the channel and alleviates pain. Dispels Wind-damp
Ghost Evil: P-5
p. " Actions: Regulates menstruation; settles and calms the spirit; transform phlegm; descends rebellious Qi and regulates the stomach
p. 72 Floating Ghost-Talk; LU-3
p. 72 "Actions: Clears lung heat and descends Lung Qi; Cools blood and stops bleeding; calms the corporeal soul (po)
Seeing Ghost: LI-5; LI-7; ST-40; ST-41; BL-10; BL-61; DU-12
Actions: This group of points drains heat and pain from the organs of the lower burners.

Ghost point protocol:
Prick and bleed the Jing well points on the hand or Shi Xuan to reduce the heat. Plus:
Acupoint Needling Depth Name
GV-26 0.3 Ghost Palace
LU-11 0.3 Ghost Message
SP-1 0.2 Ghost Rampart
PC 7 0.5 Ghost Heart
CV-62 0.3 Ghost Road
GV-16 0.2 Ghost Pillow
ST-6 0.5 Ghost Bed
K.I.-24 0.3 Ghost Market
PC-8 0.2 Ghost Cave
GV-23 0.2 Ghost Hall
KI- 1 0.3 Ghost Storage
L.I.-11 0.5 Ghost Leg
Gui Feng NA Ghost Seal

Gui Feng is an extra point, contraindicated for needling. This point is bled only. It is located at the middle point of the frenulum of the tongue (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm).

These thirteen points are used to treat mental diseases i.e. insanity with emotional depression and madness. They are punctured or pricked to bleed. These points are not all needled in one session, and in each session a different set of three points are needled.

Because the Yin tends to raise the Tai Yang to the head and neck area, treatment strategies focus on ways to bring it down. In this regard, Flaws shares his personal approach. He uses a 7-star hammer on the upper back to draw the heat, and uses peripheral points to draw down heat such as LV-3, KI-3, BL-62, SI-3, and MH-6. He favors the use of points around the head and neck on the Governing Vessel (GV) and Bladder (BL) meridians, particularly Ah Shi points, and draws similarities between these points and the 13 mythical ghost points, which are listed above (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm).

Herbal Treatment
Below are three formulas and their actions. During treatment planning please give attention to specific formulation and variations to these formulas to fit the patient's symptoms.
Iron Filing Decoction
"Actions: Sedates the Heart eliminates phlegm and calms the spirit." (Bensky and Barolet, p. 386)

Bupleurum plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell Decoction
"Actions: Unblocks the three yang stages, and sedates and calms the spirit." (Bensky and Barolet, p. 387)

Peach pit Decoction to Order the Qi
"Actions: Drains heat and breaks up blood stasis."(Bensky and Barolet, p. 312)


Classical Five-Element acupuncture:
1. Treat possessions--Seven dragons for seven devils: external devils GV-20, BL-23, BL-61 and internal devils CV-15, or master point halfway from CV-15 to CV14, SP-32, SP-41. (In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor, p. 213 )
2. For first aid treatment Heart 7 (hysteria)--Tonifies the heart official calming the spirit and relaxing the upper burner area. (Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, p. 173)
3. 4 needle technique on the causative factor official
4. Acupuncture ghost syndrome
Ghost Talk: ST-32
"Actions: Activates the channel and alleviates pain. Dispels Wind-damp. (Deadman et. al., p. 155)
Ghost Evil: P-5
" Actions: Regulates menstruation; settles and calms the spirit; transform phlegm; descends rebellious Qi and regulates the stomach (Deadman et. al., p. 374-76 )
Floating Ghost-Talk; LU-3
"Actions: Clears lung heat and descends Lung Qi; Cools blood and stops bleeding; calms the corporeal soul (po) (Deadman et. al., p. 78-79)
Seeing Ghost: LI-5; LI-7; ST-40; ST-41; BL-10; BL-61; DU-12
Actions: This group of points drains heat and pain from the organs of the lower burners. (Deadman et. al., p. 649)
Or

5. Prick and bleed the Jing well points on the hand--LU-11, HE--9,P-9, L.I.-1, SI-1, 3H-1 or Shi Xuan--extra point 24: located on the tips of the fingers and thumbs to reduce the heat. Plus use the Ghost points: GV-26, LU-11, SP-1, PC-7, CV-62, GV-16, ST-6, KI-24, PC-8, GV-23, KID-1, LI-11, Gui Feng (pricked and bled). (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm)
Or

6. Because the Yin tends to raise the Tai Yang to the head and neck area, treatment strategies focus on ways to bring it down. In this regard, Flaws shares his personal approach. He uses a 7-star hammer on the upper back to draw the heat, and uses peripheral points to draw down heat such as LV-3, KI-3, BL-62, SI-3, and MH-6. He favors the use of points around the head and neck on the Governing Vessel (GV) and Bladder (BL) meridians, particularly Ah Shi points, and draws similarities between these points and the 13 mythical ghost points, which are listed above (http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm).

Herbal Treatments:
Below are three formulas and their actions. During treatment planning please give attention to specific formulation and variations to these formulas to fit the patient's symptoms.
Iron Filing Decoction
"Actions: Sedates the Heart eliminates phlegm and calms the spirit."(Bensky and Barolet, p. 386)

Bupleurum plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell Decoction
"Actions: Unblocks the three yang stages, and sedates and calms the spirit." (Bensky and Barolet, p. 387)

Peach pit Decoction to Order the Qi
"Actions: Drains heat and breaks up blood stasis."(Bensky and Barolet, p. 312)

Summary and Conclusion

The consistent pathologies of the ghost syndrome are heat and phlegm in the Heart, Liver and Gallbladder Officials. The symptoms of the syndrome is red tongue with greasy yellow coating, rapid wiry pulse, mania, disruption of spirit, fright, irritability, delusion, and speech affects.

The focus of treatment is relieving the Heart, Liver and Gallbladder Officials of heat and phlegm. Acupuncture is used for aggressively relieving the symptoms. Acupuncture is an energetic therapy for each official. There are a few ghost point protocols reviewed here in the treatment strategy section. I choose the protocols that best address the specific symptoms and signs for each individual patient. Acupuncture treatment should be carried out over several sessions.

And, herbal treatment is used for aggressively draining and eliminating the heat and phlegm. The herbal treatments sedate and, or drain heat and phlegm. The use of the different herbal decoctions varies with each individual's specific case's pathologies and associated diseases. Treatment is done over several sessions.

The difference in philosophies of yin/ yang and eight principles, and classical five-element acupuncture differ in the way that the body is viewed in the manifestation of disease. Eight principles assesses symptoms to diagnose pathologies and classical five-element acupuncture assessing the individual's signs of congenital deficencies, which gives rise to disease and pathologies. While the treatments given by practitioners of both schools are similar, classical five-element acupuncture focuses and clarifies its treatment strategies, which may get loss in the discernment of symptoms during eight principles diagnostics. Eight principles finds its strength in that Traditional Chinese Medicine use it as its foundational theory. The primary topic of Traditional Chinese Medicine is herbal treatment, which makes this theory essential during acupuncture and herbal treatments. I have not given any discussion to the herbal treatments, but I will recommend that the attention to each formulas ability to address an array of symptoms gives need for assessment and tailoring of herbal formulas to create the appropriate treatment for the patient.

References

More from Dr. Ma at: Acuherbsonline.com http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/schizo.htm

Bensky, D. & Barolet, R. (1990). Formulas & Strategies. Seattle: Eastland Press, Inc.

Eckman, Peter (1996). In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor: Tracing the History of Tradition Acupuncture. San Francisco: Cypress Book Company.

Greenwood, Michael MB (MD) (2001). "Chinese Medicine And Psychiatry: A Textbook And Clinical Manual" (review). Medical Acupuncture: A Journal For Physicians By Physicians. Denver: Blue Poppy Press, 13: 1.

Kaptchuk, Ted J. (2000). The Web Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. Chicago and New York: Contemporary Books.

Worsley, J.R. and Worsley, J.B. (2004). Classical Five-Element Acupuncture: Meridians and Points Vol. I. United States: Worsley, Inc.

Worsley, J.R. and Worsley, J.B. (1990). Traditional Acupuncture: Traditional Diagnosis Vol. II. Warwickshire: The College of Traditional Acupuncture, U.K.

Worsley, J.R. and Worsley, J.B. (1998). Classical Five-Element Acupuncture: The Five Elements and the Officials. Vol. III. Miami Lakes: J.R. and J.B. Worsley.




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