When I first became acquainted with Mae-Wan Ho and James Oschman‘s theory that the human body’s connective tissue matrix is liquid crystalline in nature, I was completely intrigued. This made so much sense to me since I was already aware of the body’s bioelectrical capacity to move blood and transfer energy or Qi between body systems and the extremities via acupoints along meridian pathways. I had also been exploring the use of microcurrent and colored light therapy to address chronic pain in my clinic. All these modalities proved effective because the human body is bioelectric as well biochemical in nature. However, at that point in my career, I was applying treatment according to the principles of meridian theory even though there were no coherent scientific theories in place to explain how energy could travel between the skin and the muscles—the first principle of meridian theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The chief reason that it was so difficult to identify the mechanism of action is that the meridian system is not an actual physical structure. Instead, meridians behave like a series of interconnected energetic pathways.
Eventually, as scientists began to research acupoints found along the meridians pathways, they noticed that the points and the meridians each possessed distinctive electrical properties when compared with surrounding skin. This finding correlated with research into the properties of the body’s connective tissue matrix which gives the body, body tissues, organs and cells their shapes. Many years ago it was discovered that the proteins making up the structural components of cells and tissues were closely aligned in an array of atoms. Szent-Gyorgyi, an early pioneer in connective tissue research, predicted that this molecular array would enable electrons to mobilize and form an energy continua that would belong to the whole system. He also suggested that with adequate hydration, the cytoskeleton of each cell would behave like a semiconductor, able to support high-speed communication across the body through the conduction of electrons, protons, and other subatomic entities across the collagenous protein network. The discovery of these properties led to the conclusion that the connective tissue matrix behaved like liquid-crystalline tissue and was the likely means by which energy and information moved instantaneously across the body. This working theory may well be the mechanism of action by which the transfer of energy occurs in acupuncture’s meridian and acupoint system.
Liquid Crystalline Properties
In the image below you can observe the molecular order of liquid crystals in organic tissue. Mae-Wan Ho and David P. Knight identify the following properties inherent to liquid crystals and suggest that these also apply to the body’s connective tissue matrix:
- liquid crystal molecules have an orientational order
- liquid crystals are malleable, flexible, and responsive
- individual crystals can flow or have the properties of a solid
- liquid crystal molecules respond when exposed to changes in hydration, pressure, shear forces, and temperature
- exposure to electric and magnetic fields can cause changes in orientation
As a holistic practitioner, I feel it is extremely important for me to stay open to novel ways of understanding the human body and its systems in order to remain progressive in my chosen field of holistic medicine. Since change is the one real constant that we can depend on, how do you stay current with changes in your field?