The essence of Shu-xue and Mu-xue

Prof: N. Nickolaev – M.D., Ph.D.

The Yin-Yang correspondence of the Shu and Mu antique points and their appearance to the front and back of the body originates already in the roots of ancient Chinese philosophy.

The early Taoist text “Huai Nan Ju” mythologizes the world of chaos before it was brought into harmony of YinYang. The human beings who survived this disaster to eventually live in harmony with the Cosmos “bore earth’s square on their backs and embraced the round sky”..

The same idea is found also in “I-Ching” where the “Ten thousand beings carry Yin on their backs and embrace Yang in their front, blending these two vital breaths (Qt) to attain harmony”… After hundreds of years of rendition, these lines appeared as: “Ten thousand beings turn their backs toward Yin and their face toward Yang”…

These statements place the human and the Universe realms in the orderly relation to one another according to the principle that Yin attracts Yang and Yang attracts Yin.

The earth is Yin and the heaven is Yang, the front of the body is Yin, while the back of it belongs to Yang. The mythological statement in the “Huai Nan Ju” and “I-Ching” that the Yang back bears the Yin earth, while the Yin front embraces the Yang heaven remains fundamental to the longevity practices embodied in acupuncture and other Chinese techniques…

According to “I-Ching” fire and Water represents the Heaven and Earth in life. Heaven and Earth are the Yang-Yin archetypes from which life is patterned. In order to have life there must be harmony of Yin within Yang and vice versa…

This idea is the basis of the quote “we carry Yin on our backs, and embrace Yang”.

Yin refers to the physical body, whereas Yang refers to the life force animating it from within. We carry our Yin physical embodiment around with us like a suit of clothes from the past, while we hold tight to the Yang life force and orient our direction toward it as we face the future and the continued maintenance of our lives…

The Yang of the Shu antique points on the most external part of the body attract Yin (mostly meaning pernicious influence), whereas the Yin of the Mu antique points on the front attract Yang (mostly Yuan-Qi)…

According to the “Non-Ching”: “Yin illness moves to the Yang (to he Back-Shu points), but Yang illness moves to the Yin (the Front-Mu points)”…

As for example – “Yin illness transmission to the Yang section” refers to the evil Qi of Yin nature (Cold, Humidity) that invades the body from the outside and enters through “man’s back”…

The word “carry” and “embrace” in the “I-Ching” passage, the “Ten thousand being carry Yin (essence) on their backs and embrace Yang (Yuan-Qi) in their front hold particular significance to the clinical practice. Functions of Back-Shu points are associated with:

1. Dispersing internal Yang excess manifesting at the exterior of the body.
2. Dispersing pathogenic Yang-evils when being in excess.
3. Tonification of Wei – Qi on the exterior at the body.

Mu-xue has the functions of:

1. Dispersing stagnated Qi in the Zang organs.
2. Dispersing Yang pathogenic evils from the surface of the body.

Combination of both the Shu-xue and Mu-xue has the indications of:

1. Strengthening Yang of the interior of the body (Zang-Fu) – with Acumoxa on the Back-Shu points.
2. Eliminating the stagnation of Qi in the interior – associated by Acumoxa on the Back-Shu points.
3. Stabilization of the Yin (in order to consolidate the floating Yang) -without Moxa.

Summary. The Antique Points consist of ten generic points on each of the Twelve Ordinary Meridians that regulate the flow of meridian Qi in a way that is common to all of the Main Meridians.

For example, the function of each Antique Point is different from the other nine Antique Points, whereas the function of a specific Antique Points will be similar on each of the Twelve Regular Meridians.

Since the first introduction to the Acupuncture literature in the “Ling-Shu” and “I-Ching” these points have been recognized for their importance in regulating the general flow of Qi in the channels and organs.

The Shu “Associated” points on the back and the Mu “Collecting” (or “Alarm”) points on the front of the body provide direct access to the internal organs, whereas the other eight points affect meridian Qi directly, and indirectly affect the corresponding Zang-Fu…

These eight Antique Points are located between the fingertips and the elbows, and between the toe tips and the knees on each of the Twelve Main Meridians. They belong to the “Luo”-connecting and “Xl”-activating Points, the “Yuan”-source and the Five Transportation Points of “Wu Shu Xue”, which in the Nan-Ching referred to what is called the “Jing’.-well, “Ying (xing) -brook, “Shu”-stleam, “Ting”-river, and “He”- sea Points.

Two of these points overlap on the Yin channels, so there are all together 115 Antique Points.