Our body, our landscape

On the outskirts of Brisbane, an urban drain takes on a life of its own

Across town from me, landscape architects and engineers in consultation with the local community

have cut a waterway free from its concrete constraints to create living, breathing hydrological infrastructure, for humans and non-humans alike.

It sounds wonderful, don’t you think?

You can see some beautiful pictures and read about the project here.

Seeing this reborn waterway reminds me of Acupuncture Point Theory 101, and how we first learn that our bodies are a fertile landscape existing in nature all around us.

Embedded in this theory is the guiding concept of the channels with their networks of communication and movement across and through the body.

You and I know these channels as the acupuncture meridians.

Dotted along the meridians are the acupoints.

A number of acupoints are classified as well, spring, stream, river, or sea points according to the characteristics, movement, power and volume of water which you’d find in each of these watery domains.

A number of acupoints are named as sluices or gates.

When we’re thinking of the body-as-landscape in health and dysfunction, acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners think about the presence, movement and transformation of ‘water’ in the body: tears, sweat, saliva, mucus, swelling, pain, thirst, blood, lymph, tissue fluids, digestive juices, body waste, dryness, dampness.

We also think about air, earth, nature, and fire in the body’s landscape: breath, reproduction, growth, cycles, resilience, metabolism, fevers, inflammation… and so it goes.

There are so many reasons to nurture and maintain our waterways and our environment; both our internal ones and those around us.

I hope you’re able to get some fresh air and sunshine today, or rain, a cool breeze if you need it, or sun on your back.

And a few glasses of pure, fresh water.

Images: Margi Macdonald

Chapter 3: The Organs of the Body: the Harmonious Landscape. I’m so embarrassed, I can’t recall in which book I found this. Maybe one of you will know?

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