Wednesday, July 25, 2018

We should never rely too much on our pulse-taking

An Israeli practitioner, Anton, who is making every effort to deepen his understanding of five element acupuncture, has recently sent me the following interesting question:

I have a question about the husband/wife block. Today I treated a patient and found this block on her. And this is the third time in four months that I make this treatment for her. Well, maybe I am missing something, am I? Does it seem ok to you to have this block back almost every month?
This patient delivered a baby four months ago, and the baby has a heart problem from birth. He needs to undergo a surgery on the next week. I explain to myself that all the worry about new born baby makes the block to come back every time, but is it really so? Do you think it is possible, or maybe I need to pay attention to something else?
This was my reply to him:

It is very rare for blocks to come back more than once in a short time.  It is most likely that this patient’s pulses are always a little stronger on the right hand than the left hand, so that it isn’t a H/W block.  Just assume that that is what is the case, and don’t treat the block again.

I mulled over his question and my reply for a time afterwards, and realised that I should have added something important.  I myself never rely only on my pulse-taking to help me diagnose a block of any kind. As I have said on many occasions, pulse-taking is a very complex art, much more complex than I think we like to admit to ourselves.  In effect we are attempting to read the state of the five different elements and their 12 officials with what I always like to think of as the rather blunt instruments of our finger-tips.  Of course we get more adept at doing this as the years pass, but I have never forgotten the lessons I learned comparing JR Worsley’s pulse-readings with my own, even after I had been more than 3 years in practice (plus 3 years training myself to read pulses). 

He would tell me one of my patients had an Entry/Exit block or a Husband/Wife block when I simply could not feel this.  Conversely, what I rather simplistically thought to be some kind of a block would turn out not to be that.  In other words the delicate art of accurate pulse-reading was something I realised would take me many years to learn.  And in the meantime I realised, too, that I had to look for other indications in patients which should be helping me suspect the presence of a block.  In the case of a Husband/Wife block, we must never forget that this is the indication of a deep attack on the Heart, and a patient must be showing signs of some desperation, of almost wanting to give up.  They may not articulate this in words, and some may like to hide their despair, but as good five element acupuncturists we should always be looking below the surface to see what is really going on deep inside a patient.

Anton’s patient is dealing with the serious condition of her baby, but not everybody facing something like this would necessarily feel like giving up.  It may not be causing a Husband/Wife block, though it is always worth considering this, and carrying out the treatment procedure for a block even if we are not sure of the pulse picture.  Remember that it never matters if we try to clear a block of any kind, from Possession to a simple Entry/Exit block, if the block is not there.  It is then only like trying to open a door which is already open.  So it is better to err on the side of treating for a block even if we are unsure of its presence, rather than ignoring what might be a block.  On the other hand, once you have treated a block, you don’t need to repeat this treatment if you are sure you got the points the first time.










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