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Cure of Loss

By Frederick E Steinway, Licensed Acupuncturist/Herbalist
Breast lumps and other Manifestations of Loss

Acupuncture and herbology have two special contributions to a better understanding of breast disease--its long-term development and the role of emotions.

The upper, outer quadrant of the breast and axilla, where some of the cancers develop, is traversed by two acupuncture channels that conduct emotions. Acupuncturists in Europe and in Asia believe some breast cancers develop in connection with separation or loss of relationship. A woman can nurture and feed another person out of her own body and substance. Because of this, tender feelings of relationship may be especially identified with the breast, so that traumatic loss or relationship loss may react there.

Acupuncture is effective for the emotions, and for womens' feelings particularly, according to recent research.* But there is another way acupuncture can be healing. This is by increasing self-reliance and lessening involvement with external controls--not in a way that would alienate a person from her relationships, but to lessen dependency even as it builds inner strength. Through acupuncture a person can find the freedom to love, regardless of how others react--a serenity in the feelings, in relation to others.

Zhu DanXi, a 14th century acupuncturist, wrote, "When a woman is worried and depressed...stagnant Qi turns into nodules like turtle eggs (a turtle egg is a sphere the size of a large blueberry)...after 10 years...the disease is called breast cancer." This does not mean everyone with a fibrocystic nodule will have cancer in 10 years! But by identifying possible early signs people can reduce the probability, through self-awareness and through treatments that build up and maintain better health in body and soul.

Within breasts milk flows through tiny ducts. These ducts are so minute they easily become stuck together or contracted. When, at period-time, milk production rapidly increases and rushes up against these blocked passageways, small soft nodules may appear which then decrease and vanish after the period. One possible factor in these tiny ductways becoming stuck may be stress and tension.

As a self-administered preventive remedy Lori Provost, an herbalist from Ware, MA, suggests the application of external packs made with castor oil directly over the nodules. Called bi ma zi in herbology, castor bean is a bitter, acrid herb that reduces swelling and clears obstruction. A wad of cheesecloth or commercial patch from a pharmacy can be soaked in the oil, taped to the breast and left overnight for several nights. Absorbed through the skin, the oil softens and moistens the ducts so they become unstuck and instead of building up into lumps allow the fluids to circulate freely.

* at University of Arizona, effects of acupuncture for depression in women, pilot study.

c 1998 Frederick E Steinway, Licensed Acupuncturist/Herbalist


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