Module 2: A Stroke of Insight

posted in: Acupuncture, Blog, Chinese Medicine | 1

Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist (brain scientist), shares her first-hand experience of a stroke and how it changed her life…and probably yours too.

I’ve worked with only a handful of stroke patients during my internship at Bastyr.

I’ve heard several anecdotes, but this TED talk brought me a little closer to the reality (or lack of reality) of stroke patients (or some stroke patients at least).

It also makes me reflect on the basic theory of yin and yang – How sometimes it takes one to completely crumble in order to regain strength, wisdom, and a new perspective on life.  It is much more profound than a simple sentence like that…but just some food for thought.

Then I wonder, ” Why is acupuncture and Chinese medicine so beneficial for stroke/neurological patients?”

Possibly, it is because Chinese Medicine looks beyond just treating the brain directly. Instead, it looks at the pattern, and treats the organs involved, whether that is the Liver, the Heart, etc…

It makes sense as there is a spirit associated with each Zang organ. The Shen resides in the Heart, the Hun resides in the Liver, etc…

SO, when we treat the Heart, we calm the Shen or spirit; when we treat the Liver, we affect the Hun or ethereal soul, etc.

In summary, it is possible to treat or at least support the brain indirectly.

Just read this article, Probiotic bacteria may aid against anxiety and memory problems. It certainly supports the previous statement.


THEN, I looked up the Hun for a more detailed reminder:

Hun & Po as Formless & Tangible Consciousness

“Most poetically, the functioning of Hun and Po is described here (by Master Hu — a Shaolin qigong practitioner) as having to do with the relationship between “formless” and “tangible” consciousness — the latter pertaining to sensory perceptions, and the former to the more subtle realms of phenomenal arising associated with the Three Treasures…””


How similar is this to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s recollection of her stroke?!

In biomedicine, you can also think of neurotransmitter receptors. A common example is serotonin and how over 95% of the receptors are not found in the brain, but in the gut! This is why the gut is often referred to as the “second brain” or more scientifically, the enteric nervous system.

What other neurotransmitter receptors may be found on other organs – the heart, liver, kidney – that we have yet to discover thoroughly?


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