If There is Free Flow, There is No Pain


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By Brian Lau, Acupuncturist at Live Well Medicine


       Tong Ze Bu Tong; Bu Tong Ze Tong.
       — Huang Di Nei Jing


         The above quote is taken from the ancient Chinese text known as the Huang Di Nei Jing. This quote is considered by many to be one of the defining principles of acupuncture and it roughly translates into English as saying:

         “If there is free flow, there is no pain; if there is pain, there is lack of free flow.”

         I’ve heard that saying since I was a little boy, and I have heard it a lot more ever since I decided to become an acupuncturist. Acupuncture is, at its base, about treating Qi, and allowing the channels or meridians of Qi to flow freely, thus alleviating pain and disease. Disease and pain only arise when Qi gets stagnant or stuck, and acupuncture treatments are about returning that free flow and balance to the body. We, acupuncturists, use our needles and herbs to help this process along. We help by breaking up the stagnation and allowing your body to find a new balance and allow your body’s Qi to move freely once again when your body is unable to do this for itself.

         So, you’re probably asking, “How can I help to get my Qi to move?”

         The answer is simple, you need to move. Your Qi will move, if you move.

         This information isn’t a new revelation about our health, as the book of Proverbs in the Bible used the word “sluggard” 14 times and warned of the consequences of being a sluggard. It is also being validated by modern medical research and science as studies as recently as last year talk about the dangers of sedentary behaviors to your health (Diaz, et al). People often say, “My get up and go, got up and went,” or “A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest.” Many of these old adages became popular because of the truth that is contained within them and how we need to move. It’s recently become another new buzz phrase that you can find and read in every news outlet and describes how “sitting is the new smoking.” (Please don’t smoke either!) This phrase was coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, and his research points to how sitting excessively can make you lose hours to your life span (MacVean) every time you do it.

         Moving is necessary to good health, and it can help by improving your health and how you feel but it also improve the effects and duration of acupuncture treatments. Exercising routinely, getting up to move at least every hour, and walking after meals are all things you can do to help your Qi move, help your cardiovascular health, and just be healthier and have less pain. This is why we routinely recommend movement and practices such as Qi Gong or Yoga to get you moving, and allow you to be healthier and happier. We enjoy helping people move and getting Qi moving towards a healthier life. Please contact us today if you need help or if you have any questions we could help with!


Diaz KM, Howard VJ, Hutto B, Colabianchi N, Vena JE, Safford MM, et al. Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults:

A National Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167:465–475. doi: 10.7326/M17-0212

MacVean, Mary. (2014, July 31). ‘Get Up!’ Or lose hours of your life every day, scientist says.Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-get-up-20140731-story.html


Live Well Medicine Team

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