Saam acupuncture is a unique acupuncture system that focuses on the identification and treatment of core imbalances within the body. Also known as Korean four-needle technique, it is structured around the 12 primary channels to restore balance. The approach, which originated in Korea in the 17th century, organizes the body’s physiologic and pathologic processes into 12 archetypes. These archetypes include physical morphology, symptoms, personality traits and correspondences based on Chinese medicine’s classical references to the channels. Generally, only four needles are used on transport points to supplement the corresponding channel where the grossest deficiency is diagnosed.
The History of Saam Acupuncture
Saam acupuncture originated in Korea in the 17th century. It was purportedly the creation of a Buddhist monk named Saam who was known as one of the Three Great Physicians in Korea. Saam is said to have meditated in a cave for thirteen years, and through that practice gained a significant understanding of how to unify the various tenets of Chinese philosophical and medical understanding into a framework that combines the Yin Yang and Five Phase theories to target the body’s organ systems. Saam’s technique was used through the centuries by monastics, but his clinical records came to light in the 21st century and have been adopted into clinical use to provide relief of ailments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Rather than searching for the cause of disease from external factors, as is the practice in Western medicine, Chinese Medicine is based on the foundation that diseases affect people when their personal resources are blocked or diminished. Where Western medicine tries to cure the disease, the acupuncture approach is to reinforce the weakened qi and to restore physiological disharmony of the body’s yin and yang.
Like other Asian medical philosophies, Chinese medicine is tied to nature and the concept of opposing forces in the universe such as summer and winter, male and female, sun and moon and north and south. The five natural elements of earth, water, fire, wood and metal are correspondences within the body, and these correspondences describe both normal function and pathological phenomenon that are linked to those elements and energies. Saam acupuncture’s system of diagnosis categorizes imbalances that the body and mind can experience, enabling practitioners to deliver a laser-focused therapy based on the energies viewed as being out of balance.
The Practice of Saam Acupuncture
Saam acupuncture is unique in many ways. It identifies 12 channel traits that are essentially controlled by corresponding meridians which are impacted by Yin Yang and the five elements among the organs, and focuses treatment on rebalancing the channels that are presenting in either an excessive or deficient state using a process known as tonification.
The Five transport treatment points that Saam acupuncture is built on are all located below the elbow and knee joints, and are selected/combined based on their different effects. This approach is far different from traditional acupuncture, which can use many more acupoints: it is known for providing surprisingly quick results. Neurobiological researchers examining the impact of Saam and other forms of acupuncture theorize that it may stimulate the brain cortex via the central nervous system, causing either hormones or chemicals to be released to the diseased area of the body. This would explain the benefit of needling in the limbs rather than in the body part close to the involved organ.
Saam Acupuncture’s Clinical Applications
Saam acupuncture has proven very effective in treating a wide variety of conditions. Clinical studies have shown success in treating conditions ranging from a sleep disorder caused by a traffic accident to hearing loss, and one case study reported a thirty-year-old woman whose uterine mass was eliminated after 14 weeks of Saam therapy. When Saam acupuncture was administered to cancer patients in four sessions over a two-week period, they displayed significant increases in immune activity, as well as a decrease in fatigue.
In studies on Saam acupuncture’s effect on musculoskeletal pain symptoms including leg pain and numbness attributed to a herniated disc, knee pain from osteoarthritis, and chronic tension headache, researchers found that the Saam acupuncture technique showed good results.
Saam Acupuncture is Just One of Many Protocols Offered at Empirical Point Acupuncture
Sharon Sherman has been licensed to practice acupuncture and Oriental Medicine since 2001 and holds the highest credential available from both the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has deep knowledge and understanding of how acupuncture and herbs can provide relief and numerous benefits for the unique range of symptoms experienced by her patients, and her expertise allows her to select and employ the best therapy for her patients’ unique presentation.