Sunday, February 3, 2019

4. Important milestones in my five element life

An experience in my early acupuncture life had a long-lasting effect upon me, because it brought me face to face with an area of life which until then I would probably have denied existed or would even have ridiculed.  These were very early days in my practice and I was still a very uncertain practitioner, often unsure of what I was doing.  I doubt if I had treated the condition we call a Husband/Wife imbalance on my own before then, and found myself faced with diagnosing a case obvious enough from the pulse picture and my patient’s distress for me to be certain that this block was there.  At the time I had the mistaken idea, culled from I know not where, that it would be dangerous on a Metal patient, as this patient was, to do the part of the treatment which required me to transfer energy from Metal to Water (the Water tonification points) to help re-establish the smooth flow of energy from the pulses of the right hand to those of the left hand.  I felt that this would be going against the principle that we always need to strengthen the pulses of the guardian element, in this case, the Metal element.  In fact the rule is always to treat the Husband/Wife imbalance, whatever the patient’s element is, and then continue treatment with the source points of the chosen element, whichever that is.

I remember freaking out a little, wondering if I would be doing the patient harm by needling these points, so calmed myself by very slowly marking the points whilst trying to gather my thoughts.  I had forgotten that I had given my patient a copy of JR Worsley’s Talking about Acupuncture in New York in which he mentions the importance of treating this block.  As my fingers felt for the points to locate them before needling, she suddenly said, unprompted and after a few moments of silence, “That sounds like quite a dangerous thing that Husband/Wife imbalance your Professor writes about in his book.”  I remember sending up silent thanks to the good lord of acupuncture hovering over me, and with a sigh of relief, carried out the treatment and cleared the block, emboldened now by my patient’s unconscious confirmation that it needed to be done.  She never mentioned JR’s book again to me afterwards in all the many further treatments I gave her. 

I have always asked myself what had moved her to help me in this way.  And this proved to be the first of many examples of the power of the often hidden forces which can stir the elements to life through connections set up by something as apparently simple as stimulating the points as I mark them, or, as here, some unconscious request I must have been sending out for help in dealing with a difficult treatment situation.  I have found that, at other difficult times in my practice, help has surprisingly been forthcoming in odd ways, as though I somehow offer up a prayer for help to whatever powers rule the universe and summon an answer when I feel an answer is desperately needed, as in the case of this patient.

This is when the rational part of me, nurtured since childhood in the atmosphere of an agnostic family with no particular interest in spiritual matters, and with an unshakable trust in the power of orthodox medicine to heal, for the first time encountered something I could find no rational explanation for.  And yet my family had been prepared to welcome a rather odd cuckoo into their nest, an eminent astrologer whose writings I later learnt were evidence of a belief in much esoteric thought.  So perhaps there was something in the atmosphere at home that prepared the ground for my growing realisation that somehow my practice of acupuncture had the potential to tap into forces in the universe which lay beyond my experience so far.  The incident with my patient with a Husband/Wife imbalance first alerted me to this.  What had made her mention JR’s words about Husband/Wife at the very moment when I was unsure what to do?  I don’t really know the answer to this, but the feeling that my acupuncture practice stirs into life forces so far unknown to me or ignored by me has grown increasingly strong with my years of practice.

 

 

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