This week I had a visit from a carpenter with back pain. He had injured it lifting heavy items 10 years ago. Ever since then he had low back pain but from time to time it would be exacerbated, making it difficult for him to work. This time, it seemed that the pain had got worse after working in a very cold environment.
I assessed the injury in terms of location, exacerbation with cold and which movements were most difficult for him to make. He found it difficult to bend at the hip and to twist his body from side to side. I also took his pulse. All this information confirmed for me which channels I needed to work on. Rather than just working on the low back I worked along the entire affected channels, from head to toe, releasing all the tight and painful spots using a ‘sinew release’ treatment. This gives a much better result than just working with the injured area.
When my client got off the couch he was amazed to find that his pain was gone and that he could now bend and twist freely!
You may have noticed that your acupuncturist takes a long time when feeling your pulse. Don’t worry, it’s not because they can’t find it! A lot of information can be gathered from the pulse. We are not just feeling the pulse rate, but its quality and strength in different positions. This gives us a picture of health and disease in the different organs and channels. Most Chinese medicine acupuncturists will feel the pulse in at least three positions on each wrist. It’s probably one of the most difficult aspects of Chinese medicine to learn.
If, like me, your acupuncturist works with the complement or ‘secondary’ acupuncture channels as well as the commonly used primary channels, pulse taking becomes even more complex. Here, the pulse may be felt at over 36 different positions, all on the wrists! To truly master the art of pulse taking at this level will take me a lifetime of study, experience and self cultivation. The journey is most rewarding. As my understanding deepens, the benefits to my patients in terms of diagnosis and and treatment is clear.
In order to support my study of pulse diagnosis I have created this map of the pulse positions for the Primary, Sinew, Luo and Divergent channels. I’m sharing it in case other acupuncturists may find it useful.
The information in my pulse chart is gathered from Ann Cecil-Sterman’s excellent book The Art of Pulse Diagnosis. Her work is crystallised from the teachings of Master Jeffrey Yuen, 88th generation Daoist priest from the Jade Purity School (Lao Tzu sect) and pre-eminent scholar of Chinese Medicine. Please note that this map is my own interpretation of Cecil-Sterman’s work and is not endorsed by her. Any mistakes are my own.
I have omitted to include the pulse positions for the Extraordinary channels as their complexity means they require their very own chart (watch this space!).
Do you find my pulse map helpful? I would love to know what you think!
I am looking forward to meeting up at this workshop with some of my old colleagues and lecturers from my acupuncture degree at the University of Westminster. The purpose is to explore what it like to be a Chinese Medicine practitioner today and how this has changed over the years. My cohort graduated over 11 years ago. With professional experience and further study under our belts we are in a good position to reflect on what it means to be a Chinese Medicine practitioner.
If you are a registered acupuncturist and a graduate from the University of Westminster or London School of Acupuncture then this workshop needs you! And if you are one of my old classmates I look forward to seeing there. Please click here for a downloadable link.
To register for the workshop, please click here. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and some travel may be reimbursed.
I recently attended Ann Cecil-Sterman’s weekend workshop on the sinew channels and it has had a wonderful impact on my practice. She has created clinic-friendly protocols based on the teachings of Master Jeffrey Yuen, 88th generation Daoist priest from the Jade Purity School, Lao Tzu sect and key figure in the field of Classical Chinese Medicine.
I have created an infographic of Cecil-Sterman’s sinew protocol as a reminder. I am sharing this with the intention of helping other students of Jeffrey Yuen and Ann Cecil-Sterman consolidate their study of the sinew channels. If you are unfamiliar with their teachings of the sinew channels I can heartily recommend, as an introduction, Ann Cecil-Sterman’s book Advanced Acupuncture.
Please note that this infographic is my own interpretation of Cecil-Sterman’s lecture and is not endorsed by her. Unfortunately I’ve not yet found a way to make it very printer friendly, if you manage to do so please let me know. I hope you find it useful…please let me know what you think!
Just booked myself onto the second British Acupuncture Council case studies workshop in London. I went to the first one and it was so interesting to hear acupuncturists’ experiences with such a wide variety of cases. Speakers included Volker Scheid and Jane Wilson.
Traditionally, the careful recording and sharing of case studies has been central to the way Chinese Medicine has been taught and developed. Of course cases are always discussed in a completely anonymous manner so patient privacy is upheld.
If you are British Acupuncture Council member near London make sure you book onto this workshop – amazingly it’s free so expect it to book out quickly. There is also a workshop in York on 30th October.
Date: 4th December 2018
Place: Confucius Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine
I now have a beautiful new treatment room at the Bodyline Fitness rehabilitation studio. It’s in the same mews as my previous Ealing branch, I’ve just moved a few doors down. It’s bright and spacious with a comfortable waiting area. I look forward to seeing you there for your next acupuncture treatment!
I am very excited to open the second branch of my practice at Hounslow Acupuncture & Massage! My Hounslow practice is based at the Physio-Active Clinic on Hanworth Rd, Hounslow. This new location offers ample parking, is 6 minutes by bus from Hounslow Central tube and just a 5 minute walk from Hounslow Train station. So if you live in Hounslow or the surrounding Twickenham area, your acupuncture and massage clinic is now on your doorstep. I look forward to meeting you at Hounslow Acupuncture & Massage soon!