I have had the AcuGraph for almost 4 weeks now, and am totally blown away! I got the system two days before a big health fair. The system was super simple to set up. I was able to get it working in minutes. I have a busy practice and only had about three hours to practice taking graphs. I set up at the show with just my laptop, the AcuGraph, and a printer. I graphed 86 people that day!
I was reluctant at first to introduce any sort of machinery into my practice. I changed my mind when I discovered the research done by Dr. Nakatani and those who followed his work. Dr. Larsen’s analogy of using electrical measurements as a surrogate for qi was also compelling. I thought that if this were true, if we really could have an objective measurement of some kind, it would revolutionize the practice of acupuncture. Other than AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging we have no objective measurements in our medicine.
In my mind, the AcuGraph needed to pass three tests if I was going to accept it as a valid way to measure the relative balance between the meridians:
1. How accurate are its measurements as an independent diagnostic indicator?
This first question was answered by the 86 graphs I did at the health fair. I was shocked, absolutely shocked at how much I was able to diagnose just by looking at the graph! I would have the person sit down, I would do the graph (screening mode), then I found myself calling out all sorts of problems from neck and shoulder pain to hypertension to insomnia. The screening mode is limited to the meridians of the hands, but a solid 80% of those graphs told me enough about the person to earn instant credit and legitimacy in their mind. I heard over and over again, “I want to come in to see what else this thing finds.” For me, AcuGraph is a key that unlocks the 4000 years of wisdom installed in my brain during acupuncture school. We learn A LOT about the meridians, what they control, what their symptoms are, how to treat them, but diagnosing them is another story. With AcuGraph I can see clearly what is going on, which allows me to bring everything I know about the meridians and organs to bear on the problem. The AcuGraph passed the first test with flying colors! It seemed to be able to stand on its own as a diagnostic tool.
2. How closely would AcuGraph diagnoses match diagnoses I had for existing patients?
The next test was to see if AcuGraph would confirm diagnoses that had already been proven accurate in my practice with my patients. Within two days I knew that the AcuGraph was not only supporting my diagnoses, but clarifying them! After a week in my clinic, I had shifted from using my diagnoses to test AcuGraph to using AcuGraph to improve my diagnoses – it was that clear to me that measuring electrical skin resistance at acupuncture points was an accurate and reliable surrogate for measuring the relative balance between the meridians. Being able to determine and track this meridian balance is a catalyst for all the wisdom of acupuncture to become active in a clinical setting. Without knowing the state of the meridian system, we are flying blind. I still use pulse diagnosis and interpret signs and symptoms, of course. However, AcuGraph has become my leading diagnostic tool. My treatment results are better, and my patients love it.
3. How accurately would AcuGraph measure changes following treatment?
To be honest, this test is ongoing. I have only had AcuGraph for four weeks as I’m writing this, so more time is needed to answer this question conclusively. However, so far AcuGraph is doing an amazing job. I graph at every single patient visit. My patients look forward to seeing the changes in their graph. It is not always a better graph, which my patients understand, but we can always come to understand the changes, and that makes a huge difference. Acupuncture treatment is a course of action that takes time. With all the ups and downs of treatment, having an objective measurement of what is going on puts my patients’ minds at ease…mine too sometimes. For several of my patients who had plateaued in their progress, AcuGraph was able to clue me in to imbalances that I might never have associated with the patient’s chief complaint. Treating these ‘secondary’ imbalances finished up a couple of cases very nicely for me.
In conclusion, I believe purchasing the AcuGraph and learning to use it is one of, if not THE, best thing I have ever done for my practice. It is an indispensible tool for me, and my patients absolutely love it. Also, it makes talking to new patients much easier. Having the AcuGraph creates a focal point for the therapeutic relationship. Patients don’t have to try to wrap their heads around acupuncture theory, they just want to see balanced graphs. As the graphs get balanced and they feel better, they are happy. With AcuGraph I can state more clearly what I’m doing, and the patient can see the changes for themselves. Not only do I recommend AcuGraph to other acupuncturists, I sincerely believe that this technology holds some very important keys to the future of acupuncture. This is the first objective measurement we have. I want to see AcuGraph, and the host of technologies bound to spring from it, become the standard for acupuncture diagnosis. Can you imagine the power of the ancient wisdom of acupuncture backed by science? I can!
Godwin East Asian Medicine
Jacob Godwin, EAMP, MAOM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)