Hello again, and it is that rare time of year when once again I make an update to my blog. I have been undertaking a few new projects of late and making some changes in my practice, researching some different styles and updating my site.
On the business side I was invited to another couple of days treating the staff in some local offices. Two days of intense work plus time before gathering information so I can treat people effectively within a half hour slot but its great practice and makes me realise how multibeds and hospitals in China must run with little time to individually tailor treatments. The people I treat seem to enjoy it and are always most pleasant to meet, plus I get paid while they get some free treatment and the company gets to boost the health and morale of their workers for a sum probably much less than many other exercises of a similar nature, so we all end up winning. They seemed to be keen on making it a regular thing, with a permanent couch available for use so that will be a great boost for me.
In other practice related news I am reducing the amount of volunteering time I am giving to Grassy Meadows so I can search for other opportunities to help people who would benefit more from my skills and enable me to continue my meditation practice that it currently clashed with. So if anyone is part of a charitable organisation that could use someone skilled in Chinese bodywork then do let me know.
On a practical note I have been researching some classical techniques, reading papers about how the ancient books recommended catching deqi and what to do with it, how to make it travel up or down from the point to the affected areas and so on. I am sure it is a skill that takes many years to master but there were a few points I was struggling to get sensations from at all, especially those on vulnerable areas like the trunk of the body where vigorous manipulations could be problematic, so this has helped me find ways of doing that and I think they have come along nicely.
From a theoretical perspective I have also been studying some of Jeffrey Yuen’s lectures, especially on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels to help me come to a deeper understanding of these unusual channels as well as researching some papers about his views on Luo and Divergent meridians. Combined with the studies of sinew meridians that I did on my tui na course I have a fairly reasonable understanding for most of the classical meridians and some idea of how to use them and what signs to look for that they are indicated.
Finally on the scientific front I have started to modify my news links page to try and include a link to the original research articles that are behind every news item I can find. I think this is important to help people decide for themselves what acupuncture can and should be used for. All publications tend to have a bias of their own, whether endorsing or criticising acupuncture and it is important that people can decide for themselves, even if they choose not to, because the alternative is to simply follow someone else’s decision and possibly make a poor choice for yourself. Relying on experts is often preferred but should be avoided as they are inevitably either practitioners, who will want a favourable view, or critics, and often practitioners of competing forms of medicine, who will always have a negative view.
The need for this came about recently when a newpaper article was shown to me saying how acupuncture could help with the post-Christmas weight loss trend. I was not keen to put that on my site since I know the evidence seemed shaky but while looking for further articles that may present a more balanced view I found they all fell into these two camps: “new study says get acupuncture for weight loss” and “acupuncture weight loss study is flawed, acupuncturists are frauds” and nothing in between, so I figured I should include both views and a link to the original study for people to read and decide for themselves. Science is supposed to be a discursive affair and not a dogmatic one. If people want my opinion I will give it to them, and if they want treatment regardless of evidence to the contrary then I would rather do it than have them do it themselves, but they should be allowed to make that decision and not be either pressured into receiving unneccesary treatment or prevented from having it if they want. If we wish to have an enlightened society it must be one where people are taught how to evaluate a scientific paper and not one where professors and journalists set themselves up as the guardians of truth. Then we need to make sure all the papers are available to be read and not kept behind subscriptions to professional journals but that is another matter I cannot remedy alone… But what I can do is point people in the right direction.
And on that note I would like to say merry Christmas and a happy new year to anyone reading this, and if anyone should want treatment over the Christmas period I am still around and available on most days.