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The Origins

The origins of acupressure and acupuncture can be traced back 2,500 years or more. Ancient Chinese practitioners delineated the pathways of circulation that flow throughout the body. They grouped related pathways together and located specific active points on these pathways.

Instead of taking the body apart and learning how to fix it piece by piece like a machine as is done in the West, the Chinese understood the body as a complex, integrated ecosystem. Body, mind, and spirit were treated simultaneously as an interrelated whole. This perspective produced a unique method of treating pain and disease that is remarkably safe, noninvasive, and free of dangerous side effects.

 Learning Different Styles of Acupuncture

I started to learn about this fascinating system of medicine at the Mid-West College of Oriental Medicine. After graduating I continue to study and learn different styles of acupuncture treatment including Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, Master Tong’s Family style, Dr. Zhu’s scalp acupuncture.  These approaches to acupuncture have one thing in common: instantaneous pain relief which frequently happens with the insertion of the first few needles. These styles are based on theories which use related pathways of circulation to treat specific areas of the body. Although I learned these theories using acupuncture needles, circumstances lead me to try using them with acupressure too.  This was the beginning of Presto Acupressure. When I started using Presto Acupressure my patients were shocked by the dramatic results.

 Developing Presto Acupressure

It took me years of study and practice to develop Presto Acupressure.  I used Presto Acupressure while working year after year at a free medical clinic at the National Rainbow Gathering.  I used it when my friends or family had any issues with pain.  I taught my acupuncture patients specific points to use so they could supplement their treatments by using Presto Acupressure at home.  When I met people at local health fairs I gave them free Presto Acupressure treatments and I have taught monthly Presto Acupressure Workshops at the Beaver Dam Community Hospital for six years.

 

Most acupressure instruction is so generalized that it rarely helps even if it is applied repeatedly. Presto Acupressure targets specific areas of pain and often uses a combination of two or more points together to relieve pain and rebalance the body at the same time. The precise targeting of Presto Acupressure makes it faster and much more effective but, much more difficult to learn. If I am treating a patient with a cramping pain in the calf muscle at the back of the lower right leg I identify the channel where the pain is and use points on related channels and related areas which are on the left leg or left arm.  I know where to press and the cramping pain goes away instantly. It is an amazing system.  If you memorize the locations and corresponding channels you know exactly where to press. 

 

Using Presto Acupuncture for a few years was like living on a strange planet where everyone suffered because they were cold all the time.  I could see that everyone had a sweatshirt wrapped around their waist but no one but me knew that it was there.  All I had to do was help people find the sweatshirt that it was already there so they could put it on and be warm.  I knew that Presto Acupuncture could relieve a lot of pain and suffering but I also knew that very few people would go through the years of study necessary to learn how to use it.

  Making PrestoPainGo.com

That’s why I made PrestoPainGo.com.  All the complexity of the system is buried in the structure of the website so using Presto Acupressure is simple: locate the pain, go to corresponding pressure points, and press the points for relief.

Most people who use PrestoPainGo will feel some immediate relief from their pain. Repeated acupressure treatment may erase the pain completely and if they use it again and again if their pain returns they may find that their pain never comes back. Others may get only partial relief or find that their pain keeps coming back, and some people may find that PrestoPainGo doesn’t work for them.  If you don’t get complete relief or if you have a complex health problem with symptoms beyond simple pain relief I recommend that you find a local acupuncturist and work with someone who can diagnose and treat your condition more thoroughly.  I hope this website will help hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people but it can’t replace working, one to one, with a good acupuncturist.

 Acupuncture Goes Beyond Pain Relief

In my busy acupuncture clinic in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin I use acupuncture for most treatments because it allows me to treat a wider range of complex health problems than I can treat with acupressure. I can also treat more patients because needles can be inserted quickly, while pressing on acupressure points takes more time.  My acupuncture patients find that even long-term pain that persisted after several surgeries, pain killing drugs, and antidepressants can be quickly and simply reduced and then cured with a series of treatments.  Pain from recent injuries takes fewer treatments and chronic conditions need a longer series of treatments, but in most cases acupuncture goes far beyond simple pain relief. These treatments trigger a healing response in the body that can completely heal many different health problems and diseases. Our clinic website has hundreds of patient testimonials covering a wide variety different health issues.

 

Another way in which acupuncture goes beyond simple pain relief is the response called “collateral benefits”.  Almost all of our acupuncture patients find that as their primary health problem get better they notice other unrelated improvements in their health.  Sometimes when their back pain goes away and they no longer have a problem with constipation which has been bothering them for years.  They feel more relaxed and, at the same time, more energized.  I also have seen many patients make life changing decisions during treatments and start treating their body and their selves with new respect.  Acupuncture improves the body’s ability to communicate with itself.  This improves the body’s ability to heal and repair itself.  When this happens healing can happen on many levels.

 How do acupressure and acupuncture work?

How do acupressure and acupuncture work?  How do they improve the body’s ability to communicate with itself?  I have witnessed so many acupuncture miracles that I often wonder how it works.  I once had a patient with a frozen right shoulder who could only raise her right arm half way up before it froze.  It would go no further.  I inserted one needle in her leg and asked her to gently raise her arm.  She was shocked to find out that she could now raise it all the way over her head!  Her other shoulder had a similar problem a few years before and it needed surgery and months of painful physical therapy to heal.  This time, after several acupuncture treatments her shoulder was back to normal. 

 

Since then I have successfully treated many frozen shoulders.  These patients have many different Western medical diagnoses: tendonitis, bursitis, thickened synovial fluid in the bursa, rotator cuff damage, adhesive capsulitis, and arthritis. No matter what their diagnosis they often see dramatic improvements during their first acupuncture treatment. I don’t think that inserting a needle in the leg suddenly reduces inflammation in the tendons and bursa, removes adhesions, or instantly thins the synovial fluid. So why do my patients keep getting better when they are treated for all kinds of diseases?

 

Like years later, when the patient I treated for shoulder pain came back because her doctors were telling her that her kidneys were failing and she would need to have dialysis at the hospital several times per week to keep alive.  She knew that something was wrong because she felt terrible all day and could barely walk from her kitchen to her bedroom.  This patient felt so good after her first six treatments that she was ready to quit acupuncture before her condition was stabilized.  Luckily her doctor convinced her to continue treatments, we were able to see her kidney test results improve dramatically, and dialysis is no longer being considered.

 Theories I Learned School

In school we were told that acupuncture works by removing blockages to the flow of “Qi” that circulates throughout the body in 14 major channels that are called meridians. If this explanation is good enough for you I recommend that you stop reading now.  For me, this description seems rather vague and mystical.  Don’t get me wrong, I love mysticism, but the everyday treatment results that I witnessed were so immediate and physical I wanted a better explanation.

 

Western medical researchers have advanced many theories to explain how acupuncture works. One theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various "gates" to these areas. Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving substances called opiods may be released into the body during acupuncture treatment.  

 

Unfortunately, these theories don't even begin to explain the instant change in my shoulder patient.   After she raised her arm she told me, “It wasn’t pain that kept me from raising my arm.  It was just locked up.” These theories also fail to explain how acupuncture can successfully treats so many different conditions like kidney failure, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, allergies, asthma, PMS, infertility… and more.

 Anatomical Structures Which Reveal How Acupuncture Works

The most interesting research about acupuncture is currently happening in Korea.  A North Korean anatomist named Bonghan Kim discovered anatomical structures that correspond to acupuncture meridians in humans and other mammals in the early 1960's. But, because he did not reveal the microscopic dye staining technique which he used to make these vessels visible, very few scientists were able to confirm his discovery.  Then, in 2002, researchers in South Korea directed by Kwang-sup Soh began using modern micro-anatomical methods to reinvestigate these structures. At first this network of threadlike vessels was called the Bonghan System after Kim Bonghan.  It has recently been renamed and is now known as the Primo Vascular System (PVS).

 Primo Vessels

 

This recent microphotograph shows a white, thread like Primo Vessel (blue arrows) inside a lymphatic vessel.  Pink arrows point to the structure of a lymphatic valve.

Source: Hyeon-Min Johng, et al. Use of Magnetic Nanoparticles to Visualize Threadlike Structures Inside Lymphatic Vessels of Rats, Evid Based Complement Alternat Medd. 2007 March; 4(1): 77–82.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810370/

 

 

The Primo Vascular System consists of fine, threadlike structures that are found under the skin, inside of blood and lymphatic vessels, and also forming web-like networks on the surfaces of the internal organs.  The Bonghan channels are filled with a circulating fluid that includes microcells containing DNA molecules which, like stem cells, are capable of regenerating damaged organs and tissues.  Furthermore, the DNA in these microcells may be capable of emitting laser like coherent light called biophotons which would allow for the communication of incredible amounts of information at the speed of light. This biological fiber optic network would have the capacity to manage the organizational complexity of embryonic development and the ongoing repair and maintenance of our body that keeps us healthy in spite of demanding physical and emotional stresses.

Organizational Networks That Originate in the Embryo

Dr. Charles Shang has also created a hypothesis that explains how acupuncture works which is called the Morphogenetic Singularity Theory. Dr. Shang does not mention the Primo Vascular System but, he also believes that acupuncture vessels are organizational networks that originate in the embryo before the development of nerves or blood vessels.

This organizational network controls the development of the embryo and then persists in the mature organism for the purpose of coordinating information, regulating homeostasis (or homeodynamics), and overseeing the balanced and continuous renewal and rebuilding of the body.  Dr. Shang references physiological evidence for this theory which includes a strong correspondence between the well known high electrical conductance of acupuncture points and the high electrical conductivity of embryonic organizing centers.  Both tissues have a high density of gap junctions which are cellular organelles that allow increased communication between adjacent cells.

 

 “As embryonic development progresses, gap junctions become restricted at discrete boundaries, leading to the subdivision of the embryo into communication compartment domains. These boundaries are major pathways of bioelectrical currents and divide the body into domains of different electrical currents.” * These boundaries develop into “neurovascular bundles” a combination of veins and nerves that lay out the foundations of the bodies meridian pathways.  The Chinese were able to map out these pathways by working with individuals who have sensitive reactions to acupuncture stimulation.  Further analysis and careful dissection created a deep understanding of the relationship between internal organs and the circulation of blood and energy in the body.

Like a Child’s Cut-out Paper Snow Flake

At the beginning of embryonic development these networks are folded over on each other like a child’s cut-out paper snow flake.  When fully developed the networks still have a strong balancing relationship with each other.  This helps explain why a point in the leg can treat a problem in the shoulder.  The genius of Chinese Medicine is that these complex relationships have been so clearly mapped out and passed down through generations of scholarship and teachings to give us the insight we need to treat patients with contemporary diseases today.

 

If you are interested in reading more about the Bonghan System and what its discovery means to the practice of acupuncture go to the following link and read David Milbradt's article in Acupuncture Today: http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=31918   

 

* From lecture at the 1999 Annual Symposium of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture by Charles Shang, MD

The Bonghan System or Primo Vascular System 

 

The Bonghan System was discovered in the early 1960’s by Bonghan Kim, a North Korean anatomist who was looking for anatomical structures corresponding to classical acupuncture meridian theories. This anatomical system is a network of discrete, microscopic, threadlike structures about 30 µm in diameter [1] located between the skin and muscles,[2] [3] inside blood vessels,[4][5][6] and lymphatic vessels,[7] on the surface of various internal organs,[8] and inside organs including the brain and spinal cord.[9]

History

Between 1961 and 1965 Bonghan Kim and the National Acupuncture Meridians Research Institute in North Korea published a series of five papers in Korean describing the anatomy and physiology of the Bonghan System and one English review paper. This paper, entitled On the Kyungrak System,[3] describes Bonghan Corpuscles which correspond to acupuncture points and Bonghan Ducts which correspond to meridians. Both Bonghan Corpuscles and Bonghan Ducts were observed superficially in the skin, deeper in the body, and on the surface of internal organs. They were also observed inside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. A circulating fluid was found inside Bonghan Ducts and injections of radioactive isotope and staining solutions were used to trace a directional flow of fluid within the ducts. Fluid from the Bonghan Ducts was analyzed and found to contain unusually high levels of DNA. Experiments investigating the electrical conductivity and excitability of Bonghan Ducts are also described.

 Confirmed by Modern Research

In 1967 Kim’s discoveries were partially confirmed in a paper published by the Japanese anatomist Fujiwara [10] but, further research was delayed for several decades as Kim did not disclose the preferential dye staining technique which he used to observe these elusive and transparent structures. In 2002 researchers in South Korea directed by Kwang-Sup Soh at the Seoul National University began an intensive investigation of the Bonghan System. They have confirmed many of Bonghan Kim’s observations using modern methods including electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy,[7] to study tissues in rabbits, rats, and mice ,[1] histological staining techniques using Trypan Blue,[11] Alcian blue,[12] fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles,[7] and Acridine orange[13] have been used to visualize Bonghan Corpuscles and Ducts in a variety of tissues. The existence of Bonghan Ducts has also been confirmed by experiments carried out in Beijing, China. [14]

Recent Discoveries

Following Bonghan Kim’s earlier research South Korean researchers have identified norepinephrine, epinephrine, and the chromaffin cells that secrete these hormones in organ surface Bonghan Corpuscles[15] and in the superficial acupoint CV12 of rabbits.[16] Their observation of red blood cells in the early stages of maturation inside of Bonghan Corpuscles of anemic animals supports Kim’s claim that the Bonghan System generates new blood cells.[1] Researchers have confirmed that the Bonghan System is a circulatory system with a one way flow of 0.3 ± 0.1mm/second by observing the flow of fluorescent nanoparticles in mice, starting from an injection in acupuncture point LV9 of the liver meridian and flowing to acupuncture point LV3.[17] The presence of Bonghan Granules (microcells containing DNA molecules) in Bonghan Ducts and Corpuscles has been documented and it has been theorized that these are a source of adult stem cells capable of regenerating damaged organs.,[8][18] Another theory postulates that the DNA in Bonghan Granules may emit coherent light in the form of biophotons, enabling communication through out the Bonghan System which thereby directs the repair and regeneration of cells in damaged tissues.[19]

 

References

1. Kwang-Sup Soh, Bonghan Circulatory System as an Extension of Acupuncture Meridians, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 93-106 (June 2009)

2. Dong-Heui Kim, Young-Kun Deung, Byung-Soo Chang, Han-Suk Jung, Dan Jin, Ki-Rok Kwon, and Kyu-Jae Lee, Histological Examination of Tissue Isolated from Fascia with a View of Meridian System, Korean J. Electron Microscopy 36(3),183~194, 2006

3. Bong Han Kim,On The Kyungrak System, Foreign Language Publishing House, Pyongyang, 1964

4. Kwang Hwa Chung, Yong Hyeon Shin, Sue-Nie Park, Hyun Sook Cho, Soon-Ae Yoo, Byung Joo Min, Hyo-Suk Lim and Kyung Hwa Yoo, Acupuncture Meridian and Intravascular Bonghan Duct, Key Engineering Materials, Volumes 277 – 279:124-129, Jan. 2005.

5.  Xiaowen Jiang, Hee-kyeong Kim, Hak-soo Shin, Byong-chon Lee, Chunho Choi, Kyung-soon Soh, Byeung-soo Cheun, Ku-youn Baik, Kwang-sup Soh, Method for Observing Intravascular Bonghan Duct, arXiv:physics/0211086v2 [physics.med-ph], Nov. 2002.

6. Yoo JS, Kim MS, Ogay V, Soh KS. In vivo visualization of Bonghan ducts inside blood vessels of mice by using an Alcian blue staining method. Indian J Exp Biol 2008;46(5): 336-339. 

7.  Johng HM, Yoo JS, Yoon TJ, Shin HS, Lee BC, Lee C, Lee JK, Soh KS. Use of magnetic nanoparticles to visualize threadlike structures inside lymphatic vessels of rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2007;4:77-82. [6]

8.  Shin HS, Johng H, Lee BC, Cho S, Baik KY, Yoo JS, Soh KS. Feulgen reaction study of novel threadlike structures on the surface of mammalian organs. Anat Rec B (New Anat) 2005;284:35-40.

9.  Lee BC, Kim SK, Soh KS. Novel anatomic structures in the brain and spinal cord of rabbit that may belong to the Bonghan system of potential acupuncture meridians. J Acup Mer Stud 2008;1(1):29-35.

10.  Fujiwara S, Yu SB,Bonghan theory morphological studies. Igaku no Ayumi 1967;60:567-577.

11.  Lee BC, Kim KW, Soh KS. Visualizing the network of Bonghan ducts in the omentum and peritoneum by using Trypan blue. J Acup Mer Stud 2009;2(1)

12. Yoo JS, Kim MS, Ogay V, Soh KS. In vivo visualization of Bonghan ducts inside blood vessels of mice by using an Alcian blue staining method. Indian J Exp Biol 2008;46(5): 336-339.

13. Lee BC, Baik KY, Johng HM, Nam TJ, Lee J, Sung B, Choi C, Park WH, Park ES, Park DH, Yoon YS, Soh KS. Acridine orange staining method to reveal the characteristic features of an intravascular threadlike structure. Anat Rec B (New Anat) 2004;278:27-30.

14.   Demo-Experiments of Bonghan Ducts in Beijing, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, March 2009 (Vol. 2, Issue 1, Page 90

15.  Kim JD, Ogay V, Lee BC, Kim MS, Lim I, Woo HJ, et al., Catecholamine producing novel endocrine organ: Bonghan system. Med Acupunct 2008;20:97−102.

16. Ogay V, Kim MS, Seok HJ, Choi CJ, Soh KS. Catecholamine storing cells at acupuncture points of rabbits. J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2008;1:83−90.

17.  Hyeon-Min Johng1, Chang-Hoon Lee1, Jung Sun Yoo1, Tae-Jong Yoon2, Hak-Soo Shin1,Byung-Cheon Lee1,3, Jin-Kyu Lee2, Jung Dae Kim1, Wan Su Park4 and Kwang-Sup Soh, Nanoparticles for tracing acupuncture meridians and Bonghan ducts, ‘’IFMBE Proceedings’’, Volume 14, World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2006, Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

18.  Ogay Vyacheslav, Baik Ku Youn, Sung Baeckkyoung, Soh Kwang-Sup, Naturally Generated Microcells as One Possible Origin of Adult Stem Cells, Journal of International Society of Life Information Science, Vol.23;No.2;Page.286-291(2005)

19.  Soh Kwang-Sup, Qi as Biophotonic Information Flux of DNA in the Bonghan System, Journal of International Society of Life Information Science, 22(2) pp.287-293 20040901.

Sources

Kwang-Sup Soh,, Bonghan Circulatory System as an Extension of Acupuncture Meridians, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 93-106 (June 2009)