Peaceful Mountain Acupuncture

A weekly blog about Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico, United States

This blog is going to be, primarily a venue for me to express my thoughts about Life and the complexities of the physical plane. My story is simple, I am an easy going individual and a moderate recluse. I am comfortable walking or sitting, talking or being silent. I am always seeking new friends and acquaintenances. I tend to look deeply and question myself about the lesson behind the experience. If you like what you read, please leave me a note, if you have a blog please leave me a link so I can read your writing as well. Thanks

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

You want to do WHAT?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of treating a gentleman that has been surviving the effects of a stroke for nearly 30 years. When he was 29 years old he had a massive stroke as he was diving off a spring-board into a pool. He did not discover acupuncture for nearly 28 years. He has been coming to the Acupuncture school nearly every week for the last two years and has been making steady progress.
He is a willing, interesting patient to deal with, but is always willing to try a new technique.
I think I might have surprised him with my request.
The acupuncture school, The Asian Institute of Medical Studies, has a class for first year students to observe a practitioner and see how she or he operates after graduation. I have done a few of these classes and it has been a good experience for me; and from what I gather it has been good for the students as well. The school gets patients, either new or return patients and the students watch as I ‘do my thing.’
Enter this fine gentleman.
He comes in to the room, with a cane and a smile. He has not been in "Observation Theatre" before, but as I said he is a willing guy. So we are going through the questions. He slurs his words, but is able to communicate if you listen to what he is saying.
I asked him to stick his tongue out. His tongue deviates sharply to the left; by that I mean that the last 1/4 of his tongue is turned at least 45 degrees to his left. And his tongue quivers while extended.
I talked to him about what I wanted to do. He listened to me and said "You want to do What?" I had explained to him that what I wanted to was to bleed the sublingual veins under his tongue. After we talked it over he said "OK."
I bled the left vein then I needled the right vein with VERY STRONG STIMULATION. I never took my hand off the needle (because it was in his mouth!!!) as I stimulated the needle as strongly as he could stand. When I took the needle out of his tongue he said CLEARLY "You’ll never do that again!!!" Then he looked around for a minute and we could see this look of wonderment in his eye’s as he realized that he was speaking clearly. I asked him to stick his tongue out again. It came calmly out and straight forward.
By the time he left the clinic that day he told us he was going to ask for that treatment again.

He has and he is speaking more clearly these days.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Resentment ~ How it affects health.

In an interesting series of events I have been blessed with three patients that are all dealing with various issues of gall bladder dysfunction. Each patient is presenting with different ‘issues’ but have a similar underlying ‘gall bladder issue.’ Two of my patients have had their gall bladder removed, the other has avoided the knife so far. It is always interesting to me to see how allopathic medicine seems to like removing parts of our bodies. Now I know that sometimes it is required if the patient wants to survive, but it is also over utilized as a option that may not be required. I believe that an honest evaluation would agree with that observation. But, be that as it may.

In TCM I have read that if the Gall Bladder is involved there are issues that the patient is holding on to resentment from. I have asked each of my patients if this is true and they have all said ‘yes.’ Of course we all have experiences that we wish would have turned out a different way, I know I have. The issue at hand is ~ can we let go of it and get past the emotions we are carrying from that experience.

A different teacher from my past taught me that the meaning of the word resentment is to re-experience what we did not process at the initial time of the experience.

Think about that for a moment.

If I have a certain experience that I do not give myself permission to express my true emotion about, what happens to that emotion? I have read that the entire purpose of an emotion is to be expressed. That is not to say we should all be walking emotions. As with everything it is a matter of balance.

It is also true that our minds get addicted to the emotions we experience. “Might as well face it. You’re addicted to Love.” Or in this case maybe the addiction is to resentment.

So back to my patients. What are the chances that acupuncture will help them with their experience of ‘gall bladder’ dysfunction? I honestly think that unless each one is willing and able to address and focus on the emotional content under the surface that acupuncture will only be a “band-aid” solution. That is not to say that it cannot help, but it is to say that the issue is not just the physical aspect and until the non-physical aspect is addressed (to some degree) the physical will continue to be a reminder to each of my patients. Stated in another way I am saying we each have to take responsibility for the consequences of the choices we have made. In these examples the choice seems to be to hold on to a past emotional experience and to let that affect their health. From a TCM perspective as well as an energy conservation perspective it seems much easier and healthier to just let it go.

I have told individuals that have ‘hurt’ me that the choice I have is to either forgive them, or forget that they have done that. I won’t do both; if I forgive AND forget I set myself up to let that happen again. I do try to learn from my experiences and to not repeat the painful ones if I can help it.

I’ll try to contemplate more and write more soon.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Connections of a Family

I am treating a woman, 74 y.o. that has had a severe digestive issue for the last year. She has been unable to eat much, if any, solid foods; she has had to live off ‘ensure’ and other liquid food supplements. She has been to her gastroenterologist, and cancer specialist; they can find no physical reason for her digestive disorder. She had her gallbladder removed 30 years ago and while her allopathic doctors tell her it has nothing to do with her current condition she has had the intuition that it does.

She presented with abdominal pain, right upper quadrant, in the area of her liver. Tender upon palpation and with more-or-less continual pain. Her left leg was painful, all along the Gallbladder meridian, and GB-40 is very tender upon palpation.

After the first treatment she has noticeably less pain in her abdomen. She was able to eat some solid food (she started with a very small salad, not what I would have wanted her to start with, but she never asked me...). The pain along her leg was better for a while, then returned and focused in on the bottom of the heel. I started her on an herbal prescription and she is improving every day.

What I found to be very interesting was when I asked her if there was a “significant emotional event at or around the time her digestive disorder started?”

She said the disorder started first, then the event happened. I am not at liberty to talk about the event, but I would like to explore the connection I felt and saw intertwined into her experience.

In Chinese 5-Element Theory one way of talking about the relationships of the “elements” is to use familial relationships. Grandparents, Parents and Children. The “Sheng” or generating cycle follows the sequence listed above and there is a “Ke” or controlling cycle where the grandparent influences the action of the grandchild. These two cycles are part of the normal 5-element paradigm of health. There are others that are reflections of imbalance or disease, one of those cycles is the “insulting cycle” where the grandchild is, in essence, revolting against the controlling influence of the grandparent. In China it is literally an insult if the grandchild rebels against the grandparent. In a three-generational household the grandparents have significant influence over the lives of everyone within the family.

The event that happened in her life actually happened to her grandchild, but I think on some very real level she is not able to “stomach” what happened. It is also interesting to note that what happened impacted her grandchild’s stomach, in a very physical detrimental way.

Going back to 5-element theory what happened affected the grandmother in her wood element, creating a LOT of anger; manifesting as Liver and Gallbladder overacting on her Stomach and Spleen [Earth Element]. It also affected her daughter in the Fire Element and aside from anger it is causing her to look deeply at her own experience of Spirituality, protection and boundaries [Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and San Jiao meridians]. I have not been able to meet the grandson, but I know he is having severe digestive issues arising from this incident, grief and fear [Earth, Metal and Water].

Just look at the connections. Did the grandmother sense the issue was about to manifest thus causing her stomach disorder? Is the mother having to face and re-evaluate her connection to her Spirituality as a result of this, or is this a manifestation on a gross-physical level to put her in a position where these questions cannot be evaded? Was the action the grandson took that caused this incident a reaction to control or over-control in his life? Is any of this actually connected in any way?

It is so interesting to me to contemplate this familial connection, to see the representation of the 5-Element Theory in such a complex, yet to my perception clear-cut, example. If I could I would love to be treating all three generations simultaneously. Would they all respond more quickly as each generation was returning to their healthy balance?

For now I am content to just be working with the grandmother and talking to the daughter. I know there will be some other twists that get uncovered (or should I say “unearthed?”) as we progress through our work together.

That’s all for this week. Tell me if you think I am interpreting this correctly, or just letting my overactive mind get out of control, again.