Lesson from an Excellent Acupuncturist: Each Case is Different
For people who have been off world, the Olympic Games started this past weekend. Here in Brazil, the host country, everything is linked to the Olympic Games, even Chinese medicine made its way into the games. You may have noticed round red marks on the backs of some of the US swimming team, including Michael Phelps. These marks comes from the practice of Chinese medicine called cupping, which is used to relieve pain. Pain relief is one of the main reasons why people opt for treatments of Chinese medicine, so it is important that the acupuncturist is up to date in this area.
Recently, in São Paulo, I attended a seminar on pain presented by Chinese physician, Dr. Du Wei. The first day was theoretical – presenting pain syndromes and talking about how they are associated with major organs in the body from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine. The next day, he presented cases and how he had treated the patients. In one case, a patient had lower back pain. The solution was a sequence of points working the muscles of the left side of the back. Dr. Du Wei asked us if we understood why he only used needles on the left side. The correct answer was that the case called for treatment of the muscles on one side of the back rather than typical treatment that usually includes meridians on both sides. Then like any good teacher, he asked if anyone had
questions about this case. At that moment, someone asked him why he did not use point XX. The doctor repeated that the treatment was directed to muscle pain and not an organ. Soon after, another participant asked about another point commonly used in the lumbar area. This time, Dr. Du Wei went to the board where he had written some information about the case and slapped the board thus drawing everyone’s attention. For the third time he explained that treatment was for muscle pain and not a problem with an organ.
The questions coming from the audience demonstrated how easy it is to fall into the habit of using protocols as recipes for treatment. He emphasized that we always need to think carefully about each case instead of using recipes to treat symptoms that do not exist.