Contemporary Applications forJet Lag from Ancient Principles!
John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Med.Ac. (IAMA), L.Ac
Carefree, Arizona

In the following article, any of the acupoints illustrated may be stimulated by a variety of non-invasive procedures. Pressure stimulation by using 20 taps with a ballpoint pen has been shown to be very effective. However, following are some of the recommended stimulation devices for the best response:

A spring loaded retractable non-penetrating meridian point stimulation modality. In use for many centuries. Used by tapping on the meridian point for 12-20 strokes.

Quartz Piezo
An exceptional stimulation device utilizing quartz crystal technology. When a quartz crystal is mechanically struck, it produces a mild electronic stimulation. Perfect for Meridian point stimulation..

The “Teishein” is Dr. Amaro’s personal favorite. Piezo stimulation is used for
9-12 plunges. To obtain any of the devices go to: Supplies

As the world has become increasingly smaller with the advent of jet aircraft travel, it has allowed the average person to experience with comfort and ease, the joy of visiting far away places previously unavailable to them. Jet travel however, has also been the cause for countless individuals being made miserable by the experience. I am referring of course to “Jet Lag”

Jet aircraft flight traversing international time zones at speeds approaching mach one (speed of sound) may produce a variety of symptoms in 96% of flyers according to a 1994 New Zealand study. The symptoms of “jet lag” range from fatigue, disorientation, insomnia, nausea, irrational behavior, mental confusion, edema, headache and anorexia. These symptoms may last from one to ten days depending on the person. As a result many vacations, political and business dealings have been dealt serious blows because of the symptoms of jet lag.

Most authorities agree flights with destinations to the east of their point of embarkation produce more severe symptoms than flights heading to the west. Jet lag does not occur when flying north to south or vice versa it only occurs when crossing time zones. Children age five and below do not appear to be as affected as adults.

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) estimates disturbance to the normal circadian rhythm of the adult body takes approximately one day of recovery per time zone crossed to be completely returned to normal healthy pre flight functioning.

As early as 1975 I had developed an interest in jet lag as I practiced in Kansas City which was the then home base of TWA airlines prior to their relocating to St. Louis. Because of my close proximity to so many people who were employed by the airline, I had access and treated scores of patients who were international pilots, flight attendants and of course corporate executives who frequently flew back and forth to Europe on business trips. Having begun my practice of acupuncture in 1971, I had observed the phenomena of jet lag on numerous patients who constantly inquired of what to do and had attempted several treatment approaches to ease the symptoms through acupuncture for four years. Having discussions on this topic during a certification program in Denver, myself and a group of acupuncture students discovered a treatment approach that has since become internationally known and accepted.

Jet Lag is a contemporary disorder, it obviously never existed until the utilization of jet aircraft therefore a treatment approach does not occur anywhere in Asian medicine literature or in practical treatment approaches passed on from Master to student. It was apparent if a benefit to jet lag was going to occur through acupuncture, it was going to have to be an entirely new approach. The thought alone was exciting.

Since most discoveries of significance come by accident, I cannot say any different about this one. Even though I was given recognition as the first to formulate the concepts of Acupuncture Jet Lag, the credit must be shared with that group of 25 or so MD/DC acupuncturists who helped to formulate the theory. Since that was approaching 25 years ago, and many acupuncturists practicing today were children or not even born, unfortunately those who were in on the early discussions of jet lag reversal are nameless. However as one who has always stepped to the side for those Masters and scholars, the real credit still goes to our ancestral colleagues who first discovered the “horary cycle” of meridian flow.

Borrowing the knowledge of the General Circulation of Chi and being aware that each meridian undergoes a two-hour time peak that moves and peaks from meridian to meridian as it travels though its general circulation. It was reasoned that if one were to reset the body clock utilizing the horary cycle, the body in theory could be made to function at the horary cycle of wherever the person is physically located on the planet, disregarding the effects of so called “time travel”. The best part to the theory is that in reality it worked!

The Horary (Circadian) Cycle

Having been a frequent traveler to Asia, Australia and Europe on numerous occasions in addition to escorting as many as 66 doctors and spouses and as few as 38 on 12 separate acupuncture study tours, I was able to experience first hand the effects of the acupuncture jet lag formula. I was also able to observe personally those traveling companions that were given “sham” treatment as to their effects or lack of it as the case may be.

In virtually every instance of the subjects advised to stimulate the proper points based on the theoretical concept, they reported and it was observed, jet lag literally did not occur. They felt they were connected to the time zone of their newly arrived destination as opposed to the time of their departure location. On the other hand, the subjects sacrificed and given sham treatment, all suffered the effects of jet lag and in some cases the effects were classified as severe. Hundreds of experiments were conducted over 12 years with a success rate averaging 96% perceived success in time zone flights over five hours between part of departure to destination.

When I first published the concept of “Beating Jet Lag” in 1987, the procedure explained was much more complex than the one I am about to offer here, however even though it was very effective, the revised approach is much more user friendly if not more effective.

For obvious reasons, there are certain common sense things to consider in international time zone travel of which the most significant is proper and often hydration by drinking sufficient amounts of water. It is also important to hydrate the skin with water from a spray bottle.

It is highly advised to completely eliminate coffee, tea, alcohol and juice in trade for water. This should be common sense however in observing my fellow passengers, I find very few people are aware of hydration.

Bear in mind, jet lag is not restricted to long trans oceanic flights it can occur as easily in the three hour time zone difference from coast to coast across North America. Therefore, the treatment described here is effective for jet lag despite the length of the trip.

Once a person finally arrives at their international destination, it is usual to reset their wristwatch to correspond to the time of day of their arrival. The problem of course is a flyers body clock is totally different than the time of day of their landing thus producing the myriad of symptoms associated with jet lag. When it is 12 noon Friday in Los Angeles it is at exactly the same time in history, 4:00 am Saturday in Shanghai. What one simply does to eliminate jet lag is to reset their body clock as they are flying across international time zones allowing their horary cycle to be at the same time as local time on their landing.

To accomplish altering the horary cycle to match local time simply determine what time of day it is at your destination upon boarding the aircraft. For example if you are flying from Chicago to Munich Germany on the 7:00 pm Monday flight, it is actually 2:00 am Tuesday in Munich. If on the other hand you are flying from New York to Honolulu, departing at 10:00 am it is exactly 4:00 am in Hawaii at the time of your departure. Since each two hour time zone on the horary cycle is attributed to a specific meridian, the jet lag formula begins by stimulating the horary point of the meridian which is active at the time of your destination. In other words if you are boarding the 7:00 pm flight from Los Angeles in route to Tokyo, Japan it is actually 12:00 noon in Tokyo the next day. Even though your horary cycle at your present location corresponds to the Pericardium meridian beginning at 7:00 pm it is actually 12:00 noon in Tokyo (your destination) which corresponds to the Heart meridian. Thus one stimulates the horary point for the Heart meridian which is HT 8.

This same formula is repeated every two hours of flight as the flyer moves through time zones. Therefore, two hours later which means it is 9:00 pm on your wristwatch it is actually 2:00 pm in Tokyo which corresponds to the Small Intestine meridian. Stimulation would therefore be SI 5 which is the horary point for the SI meridian.

Two hours later it would be 4:00 pm in Tokyo corresponding to the Bladder meridian and stimulation of BL66. The rest of the formula simply follows the General Circulation of Chi around the cycle stimulating the horary point for the meridian associated with the time of day it is presently at your destination (Tokyo). Therefore, to continue the example it would be followed by KI, P, TH, GB, Liv, LU, LI, ST, SP, HT.

Figure B: (Time Zone Chart)

Figure C: (Horary Point Chart)

It has been my experience that the best approach to the jet lag formulae is to treat the horary points for the entire 24 hour cycle ending at where one began. In this example case ending at the Heart meridian. Should one fall asleep and sleep through several horary zones, simply pick up on your awakening. Remember that you must always stimulate the horary point for whatever time it is at your destination.

Upon arrival at your destination city, regardless of if you flew East to West or West to East, your body, mind and spirit will be operating on the time zone of your destination.

Stimulation may be achieved by any means of acupuncture stimulation. Needles are generally inserted .05 tsun with moderate stimulation. Needle retention of five to seven minutes is adequate. Treat bilateral. Electronic and laser stimulation are acceptable alternatives to needles and produce startling results.

My personal favorite mode of stimulation is a non-invasive, Teishein. It is quick, effective, painless, and very easy to use. It is recommended to stimulate the point 25-30 times in short blasts of 5 strokes. The non-acupuncturist patient may have this procedure simply and easily explained, given a copy of the attached charts and advised to stimulate the points with something as easily available as a ballpoint pen. In this formula approach the method of stimulation is of secondary importance to the application of the precise point.

On your return trip simply employ the exact same rules which is to determine what time it is at your destination and begin stimulating the horary points according to the General Circulation of Chi. I once flew from Phoenix Arizona to Melbourne Australia, conducted a two day 16 hour lecture, total travel time was 24 hours each way considering auto travel, airport layover etc. The whole experience was four days from time of departure to return with no effect of jet lag in either direction. I arrived back in Phoenix at 10:00 pm and conducted office hours at 8:00 am the following morning.

This same approach can be utilized effectively in infants who have suddenly switched their days and nights as well as those workers who frequently do swing shifts. In this case, have the patient stimulate the horary point for the time of day corresponding to the General Circulation of Chi. Stimulate the respective points every two hours moving through the cycle.

Best Wishes on your future international travel. Remember if you are going to take that “slow boat to China” you won’t need this knowledge. If going by air you will find this to be one of the most significant things you will ever learn.

John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.
Carefree, Arizona