Thursday, May 16, 2019

More on Entry/Exit blocks

I do not myself 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 undergraduate years training myself to read thousands of 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 that I had to look for other indications in patients which would help me suspect the presence of a block.  It is always good to remember, too, 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 unsure of its presence, rather than ignoring what might be a block.   

Since I am always somewhat suspicious of the accuracy of my pulse readings, I like to supplement what I think they are telling me with what I see as corroborating physical or other evidence of a block’s presence.  If energy is blocked, such blocks can occur at any level of body, mind or spirit.  In the case of a Husband/Wife block, for example, we must never forget that this represents an attack upon 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.  Unexpected outbursts of anger or irritation, too, are therefore as much pointers to a block involving the Wood element, as feeling that there is excess or lack of energy in the Wood pulses.  Over the years I have observed many physical and emotional indicators which may suggest the presence of an Entry/Exit block to help me supplement what the pulses tell me.  You can read more fully about these in my Handbook of Five Element Practice.

It is very rare to find an Entry/Exit block between the two paired officials within an element.  In all the many years in which I observed JR Worsley taking pulses, I never once heard him say that he had found such a block.  In fact, I remember quite clearly his telling us that the yin and yang officials try as hard as possible to share their energy in order to bring harmony to their element.  This is why he said we should always start by treating both yin and yang officials equally within any treatment.  Even when he diagnosed a patient as having the Gall Bladder rather than the Liver as their Guardian Official, we should not neglect the Liver.  And as I am still not sure of my ability to diagnose which official is the dominant one, I therefore continue to treat both yin and yang officials.

The only exception is when I diagnose Inner Fire, and specifically therefore the Small Intestine, where I try as far as possible to concentrate treatment upon the many Small Intestine points, having been told early on in my training that the Heart is considered a sacred meridian, and therefore should always be approached with care.


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