Tuesday, January 25, 2022

22-5 Another small insight into the Wood element

Yesterday a good friend of mine, who is interested in learning about the elements, and knows she is of the Wood element, said something which taught me something new about her element.  She said, "I am always future-orientated.  I want to know what went well, and what we could have done differently."  


Interestingly she definitely said, "we", not "I".  I think that's another slight indication of Wood's need to look at things in general terms, at what it thinks would be good for the world as a whole.  I (Fire), on the other hand, think differently, always concerned to check that I personally have done things right and not hurt other people.


I always love these tiny signposts to the elements which we all send out, indicating our particular element for anybody curious enough and astute enough to notice them. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

22-4 Clearing a CV/GV block to treat alopecia

This is a postscript to my blog of 6 Jan:  The miracle of clearing blocks


A practitioner has asked whether any five element acupuncturist has experience of treating alopecia, and I do. I have had success in treating three patients with alopecia.  In each case, the treatment I offered was the same. 


The appearance of alopecia is evidence of some major block in the energy network, preventing normal hair growth.  My pulse readings confirmed the presence of a CV/GV block (total depletion in all 12 pulses, meaning Conception and Governor Vessels were being blocked from feeding the meridians).


Treatment was very simple: 

AE drain

CV/GV block

Source points of patient's element (different elements in the three patients)


The hair started to grow back slowly within a few weeks of the treatment, and fully a few months later.  I continued to give further treatment on the patient's element in two cases whilst this was happening, but was unable to see the third patient because she lived too far away.  She told me, however, that her hair grew back without further treatment from me.



Friday, January 7, 2022

22-3 Treating other practitioners' patients

Treating other practitioners' patients

One of the things I have never liked to do is treat the patients of other practitioners.  There can be many reasons why we are asked to do that, some of them very valid, others not quite so valid.  So let's go through some of the reasons.


1. A practitioner may be moving away or giving up their practice and needs to pass on their patients permanently to another practitioner.

2. A practitioner may be away for a short time, such as on holiday, and needs somebody to fill the gap in treatments.

3. A practitioner may be finding it difficult dealing with a particular patient, and has suggested to the patient that it might be good for him/her to move to another practitioner.


A patient will always find the change from one therapist to another difficult to cope with, and this is particularly true for therapies such as five element acupuncture or any form of psychotherapy, which emphasize the importance of establishing a caring relationship between patient and practitioner.  This was why I always hesitated before agreeing to take over treatment from another practitioner.  And this was particularly true if I was being asked to do this for only a few treatments to cover for a practitioner on holiday, for example.  I would always refuse to do so for several reasons.


The first most important one for me was that I was concerned that I might not agree with the practitioner's diagnosis of the patient's element, and, if so, what was I going to do?  I could not simply change element, and start treating the patient as though they were coming for their first treatment on a new element, nor did I feel it was right for me to continue treating an element which I did not agree with.  So I would simply refuse to cover for my fellow practitioner's short absence.  I noted that other practitioners seemed far less bothered about this than I was, and simply continued treating on the original practitioner's choice of element.


I approached taking over a patient on a permanent basis completely differently, but also with some trepidation, because I would feel that I needed to base my treatment on my own diagnosis, rather than blindly following that of the previous practitioner.  I felt that I needed to explain to the patient before they agreed to my becoming their new practitioner that I would be approaching their treatment as if they were completely new to acupuncture.  Of course I would take account of how they had reacted to their previous treatment, and deep down I would hope that I would feel that there was no need to change element, but there might be.  I had to let the patient know that they would have to accept what might be a different approach to treatment from me, and would they be happy with that?


Things were of course easier if the original practitioner quite honestly felt that they were not helping their patient, and I therefore felt I had a free hand to direct the treatment in any way I wanted.


There is one further crucial point which is often overlooked, and a point which I confess I didn't always emphasize to my students.  We were told by JR Worsley that, if possible, we should always allow a gap of a few months between a patient having treatment from a different style of acupuncture before starting five element treatment.  This would allow their elements time to settle down and be receptive to a new form of treatment.  This is very much akin to what homeopaths advise, which is not to have acupuncture whilst receiving homeopathy.  This is because otherwise it will not be clear which treatment is effecting any change or, of course, indeed making things worse.  We are often so keen to help patients as quickly as we can, and no patient likes being asked to wait a few months before we can treat them, so this instruction often falls by the wayside in our efforts to help people in distress.  But it is worth remembering that we should wait to allow a patient's element to settle and be in as receptive a condition as possible when they start receiving treatment from us.


This blog is prompted by an email from Sarah, a Chinese five element acupuncturist, saying "Help needed!".  She tells me about some problems she has had treating patients, who were "all new patients transferred to me from another practitioner".  Some patients complained that "they felt very tired after my treatment".  But then she adds: "Despite 1-2 days' exhaustion, patients told me that the effect is good, or even better than forecast."


What would be good for me to know is whether Sarah is treating the patients on the same elements as the previous practitioners, or has changed elements. Some of this tiredness could be coming from the elements' confusion at being addressed differently by the treatment.  Or, as she herself points out, could it be "because I didn't do an AE drain for them?".


Well yes, there could be many reasons for the tiredness the patients complained of, not least my concern that maybe they are picking up on Sarah's own anxiety about how the treatments are going, which I am reading throughout her email.  Many practitioners just starting on their practice, as Sarah is, often anxiously ask their patients how they are feeling after treatment as a way of reassuring themselves, and that often makes patients anxious because they can feel their practitioner's uncertainty.  I never ask patients how they feel after treatment.  I instead look at the patients and gauge for myself if I can see any positive changes in them.  There may be many changes which point to effective treatment which patients are often not themselves aware of, because they may be so subtle to start with.  Patients may also choose not to mention any improvement because they fear that they will lose their practitioner's interest if they tell us that they are feeling better.


This is a very full answer to Sarah's email, but she has touched on many topics of interest to all five element acupuncturist as we try to work out how best to treat our patients.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

22-2 The miracle of clearing blocks

I have just received a lovely email from a five element acupuncturist, Sophie Barrowcliff, who lives far away In Malawi, and she writes:


"I have long been wondering about the role of acupuncture for post-Covid symptoms, and had a couple of interesting moments with patients that I would like to share with you.


The first was a young man of 34 who had medium-severe Covid, and never quite got fully back on his feet. I treated him some 2 months later and found CV-GV block on his pulses.


The treatment was dramatic (he still talks of it), and was instrumental in his turning a corner and getting back his energies and notably his clarity of mind.


The second was a lady of 50, previously without any illnesses or complaints, who took a Covid vaccination, and 3 days later collapsed with a sort of paralysis that rose from her feet to her midriff. It was diagnosed as 'transverse myelitis', possibly involving some auto-immune response.   All sorts of symptoms accompanied this. Slowly over 4 months she began to regain movement but was left with a lot of pain in the legs and discomfort in the abdomen. This is when she came to me, and again, her pulses suggested CV-GV block. After treatment and over the weeks she has improved in many ways - energy, incontinence, pain, joie de vivre etc.


The other post-Covid patients I have seen all seem to have a block somewhere, all respond well to treatment and are soon back to their old selves.  These few experiences make me wonder about 'long-Covid' that is so debilitating to so many people. I can't help but think that they might all have blocks, maybe CV-GV blocks, and that this is what stops them recovering. 


What do you think, and have you any experiences to share?"


I replied as follows:


"You did exactly what I’ve always said is essential in helping people recover from post-Covid symptoms.  Covid obviously causes all kinds of blocks, Entry/Exit, Husband/Wife (a fellow acupuncturist told me he has often found H/W), and of course CV/GV which is also often found.  So I think what you have been doing is exactly what is required."  


I have always thought that one of the most effective components of five element treatment is its diagnosis of the different energy blocks, and its ability to clear them so simply by means of just a few points.  I believe that if all we did was select an element's command points ,and diagnose and clear any blocks we find, we could transform most people's lives.  We wouldn't need to search around for complicated point combinations, which so many budding five element acupuncturists tend to do.  


There aren't many blocks:  the simple Entry/Exit blocks, including of course the major CV/GV block, Husband/Wife and Possession.  Not many points to learn, but how effective your treatment will be if you concentrate on clearing them.

And of course, we must never forget the wondrous effect of doing an AE drain, which may also be necessary when post-Covid symptoms persist.





Saturday, January 1, 2022

22/1. Happy first blog of 2022

Two lovely emails have just arrived from two of my Chinese students, wishing me a Happy New Year.  Both express their love of practising five element acupuncture.  

The first writes:

"I still deeply love five element acupuncture.  Last year, I have many patients with depression.  The treatment course seems to be very long, but recently I have received feedback from the patients that they are getting better.  I am very happy and have more motivation to move on.


Four of today's patients are teenagers.  Their problems are related to their families.  I hope to help them get better."


The second writes:

"I am studying your online course these days, which is helpful in my treatment.  Actually I feel more and more confident in the treatment during the year 2021, since I always found obvious effects through very simple treatment.  Five element acupuncture is amazing.  The more I practise, the more incredible cases I observe."


It is so rewarding for me to receive confirmation that my Chinese students are now unquestioningly addressing that area of their patients' lives which relate to deeper, emotional problems.  When I first arrived in China, my students were very reluctant to engage in this area with their patients, believing that acupuncture was only there to address physical problems.  Now they take for granted that five element acupuncture can help all levels of the human being, the body, the mind and the spirit.  I feel that this is my greatest achievement since arriving in China 10 years ago.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

87. A happy blog to complete the year 2021

I want to finish this last blog of the year 2021 on a happy note, and luckily I have found something very suitable to write about.  It satisfies me for several reasons:  firstly because it will make my life easier, less stomping around laden with heavy parcels, secondly, it is a new venture for a lovely newsagent's family, which I have been encouraging them to embark upon, and finally, it feeds so beautifully into one of my passions, which is looking around for any remaining signs of old London.

I have lived in London all my life, except for some of the war years when we were evacuated to the Lake District, and I remember so many of the sights of all those years ago, including playing in bombed-out buildings and going along the Thames watching boats unloading their cargoes into the tall warehouses.  So I was delighted one day, when walking past a local shop that was being renovated, to notice that the builders had stripped away the fascia above the shop window to reveal an old sign which said, simply, "Post Office".  I had always wondered why the post box was positioned outside this shop rather than a few shops down outside a large Rymans which then housed a post office counter.  Soon afterwards the sign disappeared under a new one advertising a hairdressing saloon.


The Rymans, together with its very convenient post office, closed a year ago, and since then I have had to traipse a long way away to find a post office to take the many books I send around the world, now not so much books that I have written myself, which Singing Dragon Publishers now happily do for me, but all the many books I read and pass on to whoever I think would like to read them after me.  To my delight, then, the newsagents I go to told me that they have taken on the lease of another local shop and will be bringing a post office back to this area.  Imagine, too, my further delight when it turns out that the shop they have taken is the very shop which was a post office all those many years ago.


So both the newsagent and I whooped with happiness, when the builders doing the renovations and taking down the hairdressing sign, again revealed the old sign, still in place.  Because I had told them the history of the old post office and its sign, the present occupier intends simply to freshen up the old sign, leaving it in its place.  This will make it probably the last reminder around this area of a bit of old London, amongst all the destructive building work now blocking the beautiful London skyline.


The newsagent and I have decided that we should hold a street party to celebrate the re-opening of the old post office, probably more than 100 years ago.

And here's another piece of serendipity to complete this happy little story about a bit of old London.  Early this morning I go into my lovely newsagents to pick up my daily Guardian, and the newsagent and I talk about the opening of the post office opposite.  I told him that I'd just blogged about it, and the man standing next to me, said, "Oh, I remember going into the post office there years ago."   It was lovely quite by chance to meet somebody who used the old post office regularly.  He and I agreed to meet there in the New Year to celebrate its re-opening after all these years. 

This brings the story of the old post office full circle.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

86. How the internet rules our lives

 It is lovely to be able to write about something joyful today, and that's because of a book I am reading, 100 Things We've Lost to the Internet, by Pamela Paul.  It's a quite delightful, but also a very insightful book.  I was hooked once I read one of its 100 small chapters, entitled The Period (English translation: The Full-Stop).  "Is any punctuation mark less remarked on than the lowly period, the wearisome little dot whose job it is, essentially, to bring you to a full stop?  Nobody talks about it."ˆ  But she does, and quite beautifully.

I am now at item 25 out of the 100 little "things we've lost", and Oh! how much I agree with what she has written.  Here is a selection of her 100 things to tempt you to buy the book:  "The phone in the kitchen", "The family meal", "Handwritten letters", "Figuring out who that actor is", "Maps", "Eye contact".


The whole book is a splendid reminder of what we are losing each day in terms of our personal contacts in the overpowering world of the internet.  Do read it!  It will make you think very deeply about what we should value, and also remind us of what we are beginning to lose.