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My journey into the Art of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture

I have decided to put pen to paper and write a blog about my experiences whilst undertaking a Diploma in TCM acupuncture.

For many years I have been interested in Energy flow and its effects on the human body during treatment .Postgraduate training in myofascial release ,western approach acupuncture and personal experience in reflexology ,Reiki ,Yoga ,Tai chi and auricular therapy have cemented my desire to study this ancient art form, in a bid to upskill and achieve optimum patient outcomes.

There is debate as to where TCM originated. Seemingly 4500 yrs ago, a preserved Tyrolean man nicknamed Otzi was discovered tattooed with acupuncture points -so perhaps the Chinese weren’t the first to use this brilliant holistic approach to acupuncture! Who knows?

Researching the correct course has led me to embark on the TCM diploma at the Northwest College or Oriental Medicine with Paul Battersby. This gentleman is both a Chartered Physiotherapist and the CEO of the Acupuncture Association of Physiotherapists (AACP) .With exhaustive experience both practicing and teaching, I am certain I am in safe hands!

As Paul has established this course, it has been tailored in accordance with his desire to make all the delegates proficient in ‘feeling’ the Energy. With this in mind ,I am thrilled that we will practising Qigong on every weekend! Being ‘centred’ and in control of our positive energy flow will facilitate our treatments.

Certainly over the 30yrs as a practicing physiotherapist ,I have experienced first hand the effects of negative energy on the outcomes of patient treatment, and also how it can alter the appreciation of pain I may suffer. We all know those days ,when you arrive at work with negative ‘baggage’ ,whether that be from a row with your partner, stresses from the children, or simply you don’t feel well yourself .

‘Negativity’ definitely affects your effectiveness of treatment that day .Just by taking the time to centre and ground yourself, energy flow from you to a patient is not only generous, but any aches you maybe experiencing are reduced. By far the most notable experience of this was whilst treating my terminally ill mum. I wasn’t aware that cancer ridden bones were so receptive to energy, but by simply placing my hands on her aching limbs and having intention of easing her pain, I soon found myself ‘pulled’ into her femurs- as if my fingers were ‘inside’ the bones …spooky but true!

Anyway back to the course……

Weekend one

This was an overview of the course including guidance through the 12 regular meridians plus 2 extras (namely the Ren and Du vessels) that we will cover in detail.

Each meridian is correlated to the organ it predominantly connects with .e.g. Liver ,Lung, Heart Apparently there are 361 regular acupuncture points on the body ,plus 140 auricular points (ie in the ears).Paul anecdotally described acupuncture points in a very easy way. “Imagine a deep sea fishing net thrown over your body- Where each of the fibres intersect they are all acupuncture points”

Some meridians are classed as Yin (female) and some Yang (male) .When there is an imbalance between the yin and yang channels, that’s when people present with ailments or pain.

In order to assimilate the deficiencies or excesses in the meridians , we will be taught the art of tongue reading – So it would seem changes to the tongue have a relevance to certain meridian anomalies e.g. a coating of white or thickening of the tongue suggests the Spleen might need attention ( Do you remember your mum asking you to show her your tongue when you were a kid? I do ! If it was yellow/white she always seemed to agree I WAS actually ill and not just trying to blag a day off school…They always say mums know best eh? I wasn’t aware at the time that she had mastered some of the Chinese medicine tactics!)

By shaking the patients’ hand and feeling for subtle skin changes( heat and sweating) we will quickly learn to read the excesses of heat ,damp, cold or dryness in the body and the relevance of these for relieving the ailments of the presenting patient .eg damp heat conditions may include exzema, hayfever or psoriasis.

No only this, but seemingly pulse reading ,eye checks , along side precise established questioning, meridians can be checked out for anomalies .The therapist MUST ensure the SAFTEY of the patient and determine there are no contraindications to treatment . If all okay, we will be taught to plan a treatment programme by formulating the acupuncture points required.

SAFETY is paramount and thus each point will be scrupulously observed, checked and signed off .This will ensure any patients attending for treatment, will be in very safe hands as we are fully aware of all underlying structures and can safely insert the needles.

There were numerous snippets of information that Paul threw out there in simple discussion ( too many to mention on this months’ blog but rest assured I will write about some going forwards!)Who knew for example there were saliant points for Parkinsons patients , Autistic patients , IBS patients the list seems endless…………..

It is certainly an exciting journey for me and I do hope that it will be informative to you also if you check out the blogs over the next few years

Thanks for reading!

Michelle Kinney

Chartered Physiotherapist

Leyland Physiotherapy Ltd

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