chán (鑱)

literally means “a chisel, or to engrave;” this is a fairly obscure character without modern usage, though the nciku dictionary (online) includes its use as a verb, meaning “to thrust into;” it seems to refer to an archaic sharp iron implement with a long bent handle for digging in the earth; alas, this scholarly research yields an inaccurate impression about the use of the chán (鑱) needle, which is actually quite subtle – wēi (微). Using the chán (鑱) needle, or simulating it with the modern filiform needle, is responsive to the opening and closing of the patient’s wèiqì (衛氣), which allows one to use it to ‘reset’ the intrinsic and autonomic mechanisms of wèiqì (衛氣), and thereby drain the excesses that regularly accumulate around local stagnations of wèiqì (衛氣). In modern CM terms (TCM), these stagnations of wèiqì (衛氣) are called ‘external pathogenic factors.’

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