From a Chinese Medical perspective, the internal organs have a hierarchy of importance, the heart is seen as the emperor, the liver is seen as the general of the armed forces, the lung is the chancellor and so on. It is said that the sovereign (heart) rules over the whole empire precisely by the action of just ‘being’, if the sovereign is balanced, ruling with intelligence and enlightenment, it allows the officials to carry out the duties endowed to them by nature. It is through a balanced and abundant heart energy that happiness radiates, it knows innately what is good and what is bad.
Addiction has many faces and effects on the organ/channel system are varied. Some addictions affect the heart directly, like thrill seeking, gambling, shopping, and work, alcohol affects the liver, smoking the lung, food the stomach and pancreas, pornography which effects the nervous system which in turn is maintained by kidney qi. It is believed all addictions stimulate the mesolimbic (dopamine-reward) pathway in the brain itself maintained by kidney qi. But what underpins all of these, is a weakness in the Qi of the heart, the intelligence and power of the sovereign is imbalanced and the other organs act in a manner unbecoming to them. The lungs will crave tobacco smoke, the liver alcohol, drugs and so on.
Using acupuncture to restore the Qi of the heart is usually the most important aspect of healing an addiction. Of course it is common to find there are emotional factors inciting the triggers, these can be found in various organ/meridian systems and dispersing them from the body forms part of the overall treatment protocol.
Addictions that run in families
The Qi of the heart has another function not mentioned above, as well as bringing the consciousness of the whole organism it also provides the Qi for cellular consciousness, all the way down to the level of DNA, if the Qi is weak it can not ‘look after’ the DNA, DNA that is present in the genes but switched off maybe switched on if the heart Qi is deficient, many addictions run in families such as alcoholism, gambling and others. In acupuncture we have a way to manipulate the DNA through what are called extra meridians, these meridians deal with hereditary (among other things), Impure genetic Qi will be caught in this part of the system, if it can be removed (with acupuncture), this is akin to turning off the mutated gene, something that is referred to as ancestral disconnection.