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

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Tongue that does not lie

One of the diagnostic tools that we use in TCM is noting the color, shape, thickness etc, of the tongue. There are some truly amazing things one can see by looking at the tongue. If you are skilled enough and observant enough it could honestly be said that the tongue does not lie. Though we all know the individual using the tongue may lie, but that is another story.

A few months back I was supervising a student clinic at The Asian Insitute of Medical Studies. Part of the responsibility is to keep the students on track with the time, their diagnosis and treatments. I enjoy supervising. SO I walk in to the treatment room to feel the patients pulses and examine his tongue. Then the student will come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan. I feel this patient's pulses then say "may I look at your tongue?" He extends his tongue and it iscompletely unlike any tongue I have EVER seen. He has a purple/red tongue (OK that was expected) but he had a bright-orange thick, sticky tongue coating (fur). I did a double take, looked at the student and he looked at me and said "We already discussed that." It seems this gentleman had just had an orange gatoraide drink before coming into the clinic. Whew, I thought this guy was experiencing some really weird dis-ease....

But more recently I am seeing a lady for a small dermatological condition. Her tongue has always intrigued me. It has always been purple. A purple tongue reflects a degree of blood stasis. She assured me that her tongue has always been this color.

This week as we were working together she started talking about a heart condition that she has had episodes of since she was a teenager. Atrial-fribulation is where the electrical impulses that control the heart-beat become erratic and do not produce a functional heart beat. The heart is beating, but not efficiently. As she said this the ol' proverbial light bulb went on in my head.

The erratic heart beats do not keep the blood flowing consistently, that is as clear of a definition of blood stasis as one can get.

Her tongue has always been this color as long as she can remember because this A-fib has been happening sporadically throughout her life, well maybe not as a little girl, but for most of her life. It is 'below the radar' in the alopathic world because it is self-limiting and has not created a serious problem. It is NOT BELOW THE RADAR in TCM. Now that I have figured out what is going on I can see what, if anything I can do about it.

I needled Ht-6 Yinxi, then felt her pulses again. The pulses were smoother and had a fuller feel to them before I started the rest of her treatment. At the end of her appointment I asked her to report to me next week about how she is feeling.

It was the color of her tongue and the unexplained implication of that that had me listening for the explanation. If I was not listening for some reason her words might have just slipped by.

Her tongue did not lie, I just had to be aware and observant enough to capture the truth it was telling me...