“The Spark in the Machine”

“How the Science of Acupuncture explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine”

By Dr. Daniel Keown


This summary aims to explore “The Spark in the Machine”.

The connective fabric of our body, the tissue that wraps and joins our entire body is fascia.  Fascia arranges the body into compartments. The principle ingredient of fascia is collagen. Collagen has properties that include piezoelectricity, the ability to generate tiny electrical currents when an object is deformed.  Every time we move any part of our body we are creating tiny electrical currents. Collagen produces electricity and electricity guides bone growth.  

Qi is used in place of the English word “air” or possibly “space”.  Science often balks at the idea of Qi as a vague invisible force but it is quite happy to believe in the vague invisible force of electricity.  Qi needs a conduit and what better pathway is there in the body than the fascia? It connects and surrounds everything whilst maintaining a completely free pathway between its layers.  “When Chinese Medicine talks about Wind, Western Science agrees it is a condition of abnormal movement of energy.”  

Qi is the strength of the organisational energy in the organ.  All the organs have strong emotional ties via hormones. I now realise that I need to understand the roles of individual hormones in order to direct the flow of Qi effectively.  More study of the endocrine system is needed. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is seen as the Emperor, the Supreme Controller, and the lungs are seen as its Minister. The Minister acts to protect the Emperor and regulate his actions.  I can relate to this system of hierarchy and for further understanding will need to map this out in a chart.  

When Chinese Medicine talks of the stomach, it talks of the Gut.  The Gut will also include the large intestine and the small intestine.  The Small Intestine Channel is interestingly named because there are no clinical uses for it that involve the small intestine.  It is probably the channel to be used in neck problems.  

In Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are seen to be equally as important as the heart; they are the Yin to the heart’s Yang.  Jing is stored in our kidneys. Jing - the alchemy of Yin and Yang; our foundation - is considered to be one of the three treasures of our inner life.  Jing is the innate ability of the body to overcome and prosper. Shen, another one of the treasures, which is expressed through the eyes, is personality or spirit and it interacts with our innate strength; Jing.  The other treasure is of course Qi.

There are a few qualities of the organs that have registered with me from reading this book and these are information that I shall deliver through my classes when seen as appropriate:

  • The spleen is the only organ that is able to completely regenerate itself after being removed.  The pancreas is ignored by Chinese Medicine since it is considered spleen Yang to the spleen Yin.

  • The liver controls the emotional aspects of maintaining appropriate boundaries and anger; it is the organ of irritability.

  • The gallbladder channel is the channel of lymph; the lymphatic system.  Headaches often respond to massage of the gallbladder channel.

“The Spark in the Machine” has brought my attention to, but not clearly explained:

  • The Du Channel.  The channel of Yang energy.
  • The Ren Channel.  The channel of Yin energy.
  • Jing, Shen and Qi.  The three treasures.
  • Ming Men.
  • The ligament of Treitz.
  • The Pericardium.

These are all areas that I will need to look into further.