Tuesday, July 16, 2019

28. The way in which different elements hold a practitioner's hands

I have noted another example of the different ways  in which patients’ body movements will show their elements from observing the way in which my hand is held as I take their pulses.  I was alerted to this one day when a patient almost defiantly tried refuse to hold my hand when I attempted to take her pulses. She persisted in tucking her hands away underneath the blanket as I reached for them, and was very reluctant to draw them out to allow me to take her pulses, even though she knew that this was an important part of the treatment.  I would then need to push the blanket aside to search for her hand.  As soon as I relaxed my hold on her hand, she would each time snatch it away and tuck it away again.

From a diagnostic point of view I felt that there might two possible reasons for this.  The first was that she was quite clearly resisting doing what was needed to be done to allow me to do my work.  This might be the result of some perhaps unconscious resistance to helping me in any way.  The second might be a sign of fear of some kind; her action could be said to be an attempt to hide herself away.  In deciding which of these two factors were being played out here (the resistance pointing me to the Wood element, the fear obviously to the Water element), I then examined my own feelings when she persisted in doing this not only once, but each time she came for treatment.  I realised that she was making me angry, something I would start to feel often in advance of her arrival.  I did not think that she was stirring the usual feelings I have in the presence of Water’s fear, which is gently to calm the patient down.  Instead I was getting increasingly irritated.  This kind of irritation is always a sign for me of a person’s Wood element getting to me, and making me in turn angry.  And Wood it indeed proved to be.

The way the other elements hold my hand whilst I take pulses is also very significant each in a different way.  Earth’s can often be a good diagnostic indicator, because it tends to want to hold me firmly, often as though clinging to my hand and unwilling to let go. Earth, after all, looks for comfort wherever it can find it, and the warm, close grasp of a hand clearly conveys this, is received gratefully and released reluctantly.  Metal people, on the other hand, though understanding the need to hold out their hands for pulses to be taken, will do this without any of the clutching Earth may do.  The hands will feel somewhat cool and detached, and are withdrawn as soon as they feel I have done what I need to do.  Fire’s will show more appreciation of the close contact with their practitioner than Metal does, but hold less tightly than Earth does, and will perhaps linger a little longer, enjoying this contact more than Metal does.

These may seem very slight differences, perhaps too slight to emphasize too much, but it is nonetheless through such tiny differences that diagnoses are made.  I have, for example, found myself realising that my diagnosis may not be as straightforward as I might first have thought it as a result of some, to me, surprisingly dissonant information my patient’s hands are conveying which does not tally with the element I had originally decided upon. 



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