The practitioner, Ruth Wallis, with whom I shared a happy day last week (see my blog of 5 Feb), has emailed me with a slight correction to what I wrote. Apparently students were told to end the first treatment with Ht 7 rather than a source point of the element they have chosen only if they could not decide which element to choose. As she puts it, “If I am happy with the CF then I do not use Ht 7”, adding that “you have at the back of your mind it’s all too easy to think 'O its ok not to assign a CF straight away because you can always use Ht 7 after AE'.”
And therein lies the problem, and what I consider to be the mistake. This is my reply to her: “But who is “happy with the CF” at the first treatment? That’s really the problem. People are so worried about getting the “right CF” straightaway that they don’t give themselves time to address the elements and instead reach for Ht 7. You are right when you say about it being easy to grab at Ht 7 instead of looking for the element. I’m going to write a follow-up email based on what you wrote. Thanks for stimulating me!”
Each treatment is there to ask a question of the elements and we must get used to gauging their responses so that they eventually guide us to the right element. Note the word “eventually”. We should not try to model ourselves on the example of JR Worsley, who some of us will remember saying with conviction after only a few minutes with the patient that “he/she is Wood”. He would say that we would all be as proficient as he was at diagnosing the elements if we had done the same 40 or more years he had. But few of any us have this amount of experience. I have completed some 30 years as a five element acupuncturist, and still acknowledge that I need quite a few treatments before I am ready to convince myself that I am treating the right element.
Because element-diagnosis is such a rarefied skill, we should waste no time in the practice room. And by not addressing a particular element by reaching instead for Ht 7 we are doing that. The Ht 7 treatment will tell us precisely nothing about the patient’s element (unless by chance they happen to be Inner Fire), and it will only defer to the next treatment what some seem to regard as the dreaded moment when they have to make up their minds and plump for one element. It is far better gradually to train ourselves not to be fearful of “not being sure” of the element, and instead accept, as I do, that the initial absolutely necessary period of uncertainty, often extending to several weeks of treatment if not more, is a natural part of the process and not to be feared. We should not be surprised at the difficulty of pinpointing the unique complexities of each human shaped by one particular element.
And even JR would query his own diagnosis. I remember him saying about a patient of mine, “That’s odd. I’m sure he is Earth, and yet his colour is not Earth’s colour”, and he went away puzzling about that.
We should all enjoy the mysterious world which each human being opens up to us, and accept that this ultimate unknowability makes our work to fathom which element lies at the heart of each of us difficult but enthralling. And we should never be in a hurry, always remembering one of my mantras “Don’t worry, don’t hurry!” Patients don’t if we don’t.