Peaceful Mountain Acupuncture

A weekly blog about Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

My Photo
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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Approval of a BAD idea

Yesterday I heard that the FDA has approved "continual birth control" as a way to minimize pain from different menstrual irregularities including endometriosis. I find this hard to understand.

From a TCM perspective this is another bad idea in the continuum of different options for treating gynecological disorders. I have already written about 'botox injections' as one way of stopping menstruation for up to three months. That is a truly bad idea, injecting poison directly into the uterus to effectively paralyze it, thus stopping ovulation and menstruation giving one the illusion that the problem has been addressed.

To stop ovulation is not natural, nor is it in a woman's best interest. The process of shedding eggs and the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, is important in allowing the energy to continue to flow and to allow her to be fertile, healthy and vibrant. The long-term complications that arise from stopping this natural cycle will not be apparent for years, however they will manifest eventually. By shedding the endometrium her body is clearing itself of toxins. These cells are designed to be shed. The symptoms that manifest with the period are indicators of imbalances, they are NOT the problem.

One thing that concerns me is the complexity of the discussion we need to have about this. To retain the endometrium and eggs within a woman's uterus for essentially "cosmetic" reasons {I am sorry about that word, but I cannot think of another word to describe this procedure as it is not medically necessary, nor in my opinion advisable.} is to retain toxins within her body. There is a complete set of pathological complications, or patterns-of-disharmony, that come from "lingering pathogens trapped within." These are "knotty"or complex conditions that are difficult to treat. These patterns involve both excesses and deficiencies, complicated with heat and or cold and blood stasis. Even without a firm understanding of Chinese Medicine you can begin to understand that if there are these polar opposites it becomes more complex to treat effectively.

I think what I wanted to say in this post is to remind us all about the "law of unintended consequences." I can see a whole range of consequences that may come from continual birth control, 99.99% of them are not good. As I mentioned earlier, the manifestations of an irregular or abnormal menstruation are NOT the problem, but rather are symptoms of a deeper imbalance. What will that imbalance morph into if it is repressed for years, even decades? Whatever it changes into it will not be good, it may even become cancer and or other very bad conditions.

Please consider what I am writing about and think about the law of unintended consequences. if any of you have questions about this feel free to contact me.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Frozen Wind

The doctor told her she had a tumor in her brain and that surgery was the best option. When they got into the tumor they found that it had grown around an artery in her brain. While scraping the tumor off the artery, the artery was 'nicked' and she had a massive stroke. She survived, but will never be the same. The right side of her face is severely affected, her speech is seriously impaired, as well as her walking and all right side body movements.

That was two years ago. Countless hours of rehab later she is still only able to walk with a walker or a cane. Most times out of the house she will be in her chair, as it is easier over all.

I had the pleasure of meeting and treating this beautiful soul. We have been working together on a weekly basis for 4 weeks now. Her face is still paralyzed, but she is starting to get some tingling sensations around her eye and in her cheek.

This beautiful soul is teaching me about perseverance, and perspective.

Those of you that know me can imagine how I would respond to this if it were me. I am not even sure the doc could have convinced me to let them open up my skull and perform the surgery. Much less what my reaction would have been to the aftermath of that surgery...

This beautiful soul has realized that there is some reason she is still alive. She may not be happy, but she is not unhappy. She may want to do "this" but she can accept that she cannot do everything as she used to do. Through all of our time together she is so positive, yet realistic. It humbles me.

From a TCM perspective we talk about a stroke as "internal wind" because it strike so fast like wind and it is internally generated. The shaking of Parkinson's disease, the twitching of a facial muscle, a gran-mal seizure; all of these are manifestations of Internal Wind.

I add the term "frozen" on because the sequela of a stroke leaves the face muscles "frozen" in place. Bells palsy is a very good example, and it is one that responds well to acupuncture and herbs. (In fact if you ever have Bells palsy, or know someone that does, send them to an acupuncturist ASAP!)

The treatment for Internal Wind is to nourish the Liver, Extingush the Wind, and to Calm the Shen (spirit). We are proceeding with this, but because of the medications she is on I will not risk using herbs. Chinese herbology can be very effective in treating stroke, but I will not risk that for her, at this time. maybe later...

But for me, for today I am just feeling humbled by this beautiful, powerful soul. It really does help put my life into perspective....

Be well,
With Love & respect
(PS: Everyone passed the herbal mid-term. WHEW!!! Big load off my shoulders...)

Friday, May 04, 2007

More than 9 Volts

It has been an interesting time. I have been seeing quite a few individuals with various physical injuries. The gentleman with the back pain I wrote about recently is doing very well. He left to return to his summer home, but he did so standing upright and with a smile on his face. That was nice to see.

I have been using the micro-stimulation (e-stim) device I have on many of my patients. It really does help in certain conditions. In fact I have used it so much that I had to replace the battery! I just drained it over the last 6 months of use. Before this replacement The previous battery lasted 18 months.

I find it interesting to use e-stim. This has been in use since approximately 1958, and the understanding and application of e-stim has evolved and been refined a lot over that time. I remember the first time I experienced it; the machine was not of the best quality. As soon as I could feel the electrical stimulation the intern at the school attempted to turn it up just slightly; I almost went through the roof. The machine had "spiked" because of the poor quality of electronics used to make it. The machine I have is a high quality, Japanese made unit. It responds well to the controls, in a very predictable manner.

One reason I find the use of e-stim to be interesting is the difficulty it presents in explaining its function. The temptation is to use "Western Scientific Terminology" to explain its effectiveness; but that is also the trap. I feel it is very important to keep my understanding of "all things Chinese Medicine" in the paradigm of Chinese medicine. I have to resist the temptation to explain something in a western scientific term whenever possible.

One of the other instructors at the school explained this very well, and very clearly. I will paraphrase his explanation.

He said, and I have used this exact terminology for several years, that it is very much like languages. In this explanation he said that when "Western Science" tries to explain Chinese medicine and science one has to be careful to look at a deeper message within this attempt. He said it MAY cover a belief that "Western Science is the TRUE science" and that anything that happens has to be able to be explained in that paradigm. Think about that for a minute. Carried out to a logical conclusion that would state that for the Mayan calendar to be 'true' it would have to have been built and explainable in Western scientific terms, or that the Hopi belief system is inaccurate, untrue and inexplicable. There would be many many examples of this; but the point is that this type of thinking greatly limits what you will see or learn.

His other example was directly about languages, and it is an example I have used in my presentation to various doctors over the years. If one takes the example of one person speaking Italian and another person speaking Greek it would not be accurate to presume that either of the languages is the "truth" at the exclusion of the other. It is also very important to remember that when one translates from one language to another something is ALWAYS lost in the translation. This becomes very important when trying to explain and or understand the concept of one scientific paradigm as compared to another.

As an example let me discuss pain; it is accepted as a 'statement of fact' in Chinese medicine that "where there is no free flow (of qi) there is pain, and where there is pain there is no free flow (of qi)." In a reductionist argument one could say that all of the treatment for pain involves and revolves around reducing or removing the obstruction of the flow of qi that is manifesting as pain. That statement has some truth, but it does not address pain from deficiency, which is a completely different subject. But within the spectrum of pain caused by an impediment to the flow of qi it is accurate, though limited. So in this one could use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese Medical Massage (tuina) to restore the free flow of qi and stop the pain.

E-stim works to reduce or dissolve the obstruction that is impeding the free flow of qi; once the qi can flow the body will return to its own natural state of well being.

E-stim does NOT work for all types of pain, nor does it work by incorporating Western Science and Chinese Medical Science. In a way that is difficult to explain it works within the contextual understanding of Chinese Medicine to resolve the stagnation, or impediment of the free flow of the qi within the meridians. I have seen that when the 'intensity' needed to elicit any sensation decreases it indicates that the degree of stagnation, or impediment has also decreased; and if the level of intensity is fairly high it indicates a higher degree of stagnation is present.

The last piece of this is that the results are not always immediately apparent. I treated a gentleman last week for excruciating pain in his right elbow. At the end of the treatment he was still in severe pain. We agreed to try again, after all he has had this pain fro 16 years. I got a message today that the next day his pain was "drastically reduced."

It is great when this happens, and it is much, much more than 9 volts...