Monday, February 25, 2019

A reminder to myself about treating Metal and Earth patients

This week a practitioner asked my help with a patient of his, whom I diagnosed as Metal.  I thought she was more likely to be the Lung official (not able to take in) rather than the Large Intestine (not able to let go).   As usual, seeing this patient added something to my thoughts about the elements.

After I left the practice room I realised that I was in danger of forgetting something JR Worsley told us about treating Metal patients, and which I had not pointed out at the time to the practitioner.  This is something which also applies to treating Earth patients.  He told us that we need to be aware that, for different reasons, both elements might find the start of treatment difficult.  Both might find that the first few treatments could have the somewhat disturbing effect of making them feel rather empty.  I see this as confirming that these first treatments have such a profound effect by addressing the element so directly that they often strip away some of the defences we put up to cope with life.  Metal may therefore experience, perhaps for the first time, a profound emptiness of the spirit, that spiritual disconnection which is the burden Metal has to bear when it is out of balance.  Earth, by contrast, may experience a more physically-based emptiness, that of not being nourished, literally the gnawing feeling we have when we are hungry.

We should therefore always warn our Metal and Earth patients that this might happen, reassuring them it this is a good sign that treatment is clearing things away, so that their energy can be replenished with the good things of life.  After all, that is why we often add that prime clearer-away-of-rubbish, the point IX (Lu) 8, Meridian Gutter, to the normal command point treatment at the very early stages of Metal treatment.  And similarly with Earth, we may add XII (Sp) 8, Earth Motivator, or XI (St) 24, Lubrication Food Gate, early on.  In their different ways, these points all have the effect of helping the element we are directing our attention at to reveal its true needs.

I felt that this Metal patient had so profound an emptiness of spirit that after the initial Metal treatments with which we should always start treatment (see my Handbook of Five Element Practice here for advice on what these points are), I felt she might need more to replenish her.  The obvious point which comes to mind here is IV (Ki) 24, Spirit Burial Ground, but I also felt that she might benefit from another point one or two treatments later, a point which JR Worsley told us is “like IV 24, only deeper”, and that is III (Bl) 42, Spiritual Soul Gate.  And somewhere I feel the lovely point, I (Ht) 1, Utmost Source, beckoning at some time in the future.  JR told us that this was the supreme connecting point, re-establishing a direct connection between Heaven and Man (and Woman of course).  It can be used for patients of any element, and what better point for a Metal patient who, in my eyes, so obviously has lost a sense of this connection.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

The effect of needling Large Intestine 7 Warm Current on two Metal patients

I like to share interesting feedback from the practice of other five element practitioners, so below I pass on what I have just received in an email from Pierre Bulteau, who lives in Rennes in Brittany.  It is with his permission that I include this in a blog. 

Pierre is one of those brave people who have dared to take the courageous step to engage wholeheartedly in treating his patients using five element acupuncture, although trained in a different discipline.  He has had to do all his learning quite on his own, except for coming regularly to SOFEA’s seminars, because there are no other five element acupuncturists in his area.  I very much admire his tenacity and dedication in making this decision.  It’s never easy changing your approach to practice, particularly when there is nobody around to help you when you start doubting what you are doing.

I say that it requires courage to be a five element practitioner because we have no textbook to refer to and no fixed criteria we can call upon to define an element.  Who can describe, in words, the green colour on a person’s face or the sound of laughter which distinguishes Fire’s outburst of joy from the nervous expression of Water? Because we have to rely on our purely subjective skills, we have to learn to cope very much on our own with the inevitable highs and lows our practice demands of us.

So here is what Pierre emailed me in his own words:

“Today I would like to give you a feedback about the use of a point.  I had read in your handbook that you like using the point X7 to bring some heat to a Metal patient. In the last month I had the occasion to use it on two Metal patients.

The first one, despite the good treatment I give him since 4 months, still had cold feet all the time. After using Warm Current X7, his feet are normally hot now without collapse.

The second one is a Metal patient I have treated during 2 years. Until now, his health was good and the last year I just saw him at the season change. But on Monday when he visit me for the preparation of the spring he explained me a constant feeling of cold in the lumbar with chills since Christmas. I used again X7 with success because today he sent me a SMS to say that the symptom has disappeared.

It's wonderful to discover another way to use the points through an element and his channels.

Before, because of their weak kidney pulse I would have reinforced the kidney Yang. Now with five element acupuncture I stay on an element and I look for a point which can help this person belonging to a specific element.

What a wonderful system of healing!”

Aware that other branches of acupuncture locate X 7 at 5 ACI (cun) rather than the 7 ACI that we do, I asked him where he had needled the point.  This turned out to be at 5 ACI, which again raised the question in his mind, and in mine, about a practitioner’s intention when needling.  He then sent me a very interesting reply with his thoughts on this, which concludes with the following beautiful thought:

“So, as a quantum physicist that I am before being an acupuncturist, I really think that our faith coming from our heart is the key to allow a treatment to succeed. Indeed, consciousness has a direct action on the Qi.
No matter where you choose to locate a point, what really matters is to believe it with all your heart."

This has set me thinking again about what I always describe as the tricky topic of a practitioner’s intention, to be discussed further in another blog when I have thought this through in more detail.

I would like to thank Pierre for constantly stimulating my ideas with his often challenging questions in the many emails he sends me asking for help with his five element practice.  You certainly keep me on my toes, Pierre!


Friday, February 1, 2019

Reading about a heart-warming new community enterprise

It always lightens my heart to hear about a successful community project which is breathing new life into rundown city centres.  Nothing has equalled the glow that spread through me when I read an article by George Monbiot in the Guardian on 24 January, with the title “Could this local experiment spark a national transformation?

He wrote about a visit he made to a 5-year community project called Every One, Every Day, set up by the local council in Barking and Dagenham, and inspired by a group called The Participatory City Foundation

I quote from his article:  “They launched Every One, Every Day in November 2017, opening two shops (the first of five) on high streets in Barking and Dagenham. The shops don’t sell anything but are places where people meet, discuss ideas and launch projects. The scheme has also started opening “maker spaces”, equipped with laser cutters and other tools, sewing machines and working kitchens. These kinds of spaces are usually occupied by middle-class men, but, so far, 90% of participants here are women. The reason for the difference is simple: almost immediately, some of the residents drew a line on the floor, turning part of the space into an informal crèche, where women take turns looking after the children. In doing so, they overcame one of the biggest barriers to new businesses and projects: affordable childcare.”

He goes on to say: “There are welcoming committees for new arrivals to the street, community potluck meals, cooking sessions and street lunches. There’s a programme to turn boring patches of grass into community gardens, play corners and outdoor learning centres. There’s a bee school and a chicken school (teaching urban animal husbandry), sewing and knitting sessions, places for freelance workers to meet and collaborate, computing and coding workshops, storytelling for children, singing sessions and a games café. A local football coach has started training people in the streets. There’s a film studio and a DIY film festival too, tuition for spoken-word poets and a scheme for shutting streets to traffic so children can play after school. Local people have leapt on the opportunities the new system has created.”

George Monbiot finishes by writing: “Perhaps it’s not the whole answer to our many troubles. But it looks to me like a bright light in a darkening world.” 

And it does to me, too.  So I hope sharing this will lighten some of my readers’ day, too.