Quite often, my patients step down from my treatment table and express that they feel so much better. In many cases, instantly or within less than 24 hours post treatment, they call or email me and tell me their constipation is resolved, they can bend and touch their toes again, move their necks without pain, their sleep is better, or they are walking without their cane….the list goes on and on. My patients ask me ‘how do you know exactly where to place those needles so that I feel better?’. The answer is complicated and involved. There are many different diagnostic methods in Traditional Chinese Medicine to determine a course of treatment. I will speak of one very important diagnostic tool today – palpation.
There are many different channels of energy in the body that correspond to the organs, blood circulation, the immune system and pain patterns to name just a few. These channels can be palpated by a very skilled practitioner to determine heat, cold, pain, excess, deficiency, fullness or flaccidity along a channel. All these various aspects can affect the overall health of an individual. Active points related to a pathology (whether it be infertility or low back pain) will feel hollow or very sensitive upon palpation or as the practitioner runs a finger along the channel of points. For example, a particularly sensitive point palpated and hollow-feeling along the tibial crest of the lower leg can determine the pathology of ob/gyn or prostate disorders. This gives the practitioner a plethora of information related to the chief complaint that is quite useful in the overall treatment of the patient.
Hence, the ‘how did you know it was right there?’ is not a guessing game nor is it magic. It is years of developing a skill that requires sensitivity, true understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine and solid training in allopathic medicine. That’s what sets apart the skilled physician from the amateur; the healer from the apprentice.
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