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Welcome the Pain

By Jennifer Waters, LAc, Dipl. Ac

One reason I admire Mr. Zion Yu is that he is able to treat extremely complicated cases very simply and directly. His life-long study of acupuncture has led him to many discoveries and inventive ways to share this healing system.
Zion has worked diligently at eliminating meridian theory and replacing it with nerve theory. This allows modern medical doctors to relate to the mechanism of acupuncture much more easily. This interview is excerpted from a medical memoir about Zion Yu entitled Welcome the Pain: Transformation with a Master.

JW: Everyone is wondering about the research you are doing now?

Zion: Right now, I am doing research on the hands and the nerves that go through the hands; they are very important. The Lung and Large Intestine meridians have a direct affect on the head, thyroid, ear, nose and throat - basically the entire upper part of the body. All trained acupuncturists know this, but they may not fully comprehend to what degree or how to really approach this area.

JW: Tell us more about this.

Zion: When you needle He Gu (LI 4), you should feel an immediate and lasting change; a very strong sensation. By creating a strong sensation in this area, it is expanding your central nervous system, causing a reawakening in the brain. This area has most likely been numbed by the brain and needs to be invigorated via this point to re-establish the nervous system. If you do it right, it is not going to be painful. It is much different than the usual pain people think of as associated with acupuncture needles. When you needle this correctly, people will undoubtedly feel the difference.

JW: That is a very good point about the "pain" associated with acupuncture needles. Your motto is "Welcome the Pain." Can you expand on that?

Zion: Initially, when you insert an acupuncture needle, you feel the nerve-skin reaction. After that initial sensation, you can go much deeper. It feels as if you are reaching into a deep wave, and then deeper as if you penetrate through something. The practitioner has to completely embrace their own fear of needles, their own fear of so-called pain. Once they do that, they are able to penetrate much deeper into the body. He Gu (LI 4) is a perfect opportunity for that. Once inside the hand, you will feel the electric shock in the palm, and it opens up all the area of the chest. Through that process, people are going to release a lot of headaches, stimulate their thyroid, improve their memory and reduce insomnia.

If a person does not heal, they are resistant. This resistance is an aspect of denial. Everyone has the ability to break through that denial/resistance and then all their pain is gone. When the person graduates from this kind of treatment, it means that they have gone to the deepest places in their mind. After that, we give them a lifestyle routine. They can always come back for more.

JW: This is a radical departure from your previous style of treatment, whereby you might have used 100 to 200 needles at a time.

Zion: Only younger people benefit from hundreds of needles. For older people, it is best to use less needles and select the points very carefully.

JW: Tell us more about your areas of concentration in the body.

Zion: We have taken special interest in the groin area. This is where people deteriorate first, and where a lot of stagnation occurs. Once this area is flushed out, you feel tingling and the blood rushing to your legs. Treating this area helps with the bladder and reproductive areas. Where you feel soreness and pain, that's where you need to do the work by going into the pain. It is the opposite of how many practitioners think.

After opening up and releasing stagnation in the groin area, then you work the ear. You do the whole body tune-up. Each patient is different so you have to assess the person very individually. Some people speak frankly; some doubtful; some hopeless; or some fearful. It is very important to personalize the treatment methods with the individual.

JW: In your lineage, you are nerve specialists. Tell us more about the nerves.

Zion: Nerves are a branch of our central nerve: the brain. Many practitioners view the body as a tree with the roots going into the ground and our head as the leaves at the top. However, when dealing with the nervous system (and acupuncture is the only modality that can directly affect the nerves), that is the opposite of how we should see the body. Actually, the head is the root of the tree. We can affect the entire body and the entire nervous system throughout the scalp alone because the brain is the central nerve with direct access to the body via the scalp and ear. It is a perfect design. Our fingertips are the nerve endings and our central spine is the passage through which the limbs receive the message from our brain.

JW: Tell us more about the ear and the role it plays in nerve regeneration?

Zion: The side opening to the brain is the ear. That is the main portal we use. The ear is like a relay nerve. When there is nerve damage in the ear, we may lose our hearing. This is because there is either degeneration and/or crystallization, of the relay nerve and that can affect the spine, liver, stomach, etc. The ear is where a lot of information about the brain/body communication is registered and stored. If there is a problem in the ear, it is a warning sign that possibly the nerve will be dead very soon.

JW: Can the nerve be resurrected from the "dead"?

Zion: Definitely, but you have to discover exactly where the damage lies. Sometimes you have to think of the nerve like a baby learning to walk. You have to train the nerve. In the beginning, it will be very sensitive. This is why people become nervous. There is an imprint to their nervous system and the communication breaks down while continuing to regenerate. This can all manifest in your nervous system, leading to symptoms such as anxiety.

Pain is stored in the nerve. In the beginning, it can be quite painful to release. However, when you fully reactivate and heal the nerve, the pain will be eliminated.