Question: What’s the difference between Gravity and an Alligator?
Answer: You can measure the alligator.
Today’s post is about what you can and can’t measure, and though you can measure an alligator, maybe you really shouldn’t. Substitute something safer, like maybe a turtle. You can measure a turtle.
Now, stick with me. This is going somewhere. Let me start by telling you about two events that prompted my thinking today:
First, I was planning to attend a scientific acupuncture conference a couple of years ago and I wanted to participate as a vendor. But the conference organizers prohibited me from doing so because they didn’t like the tag line we use with AcuGraph, “See the Chi.” From the scientific perspective, they felt this was crossing some arbitrary line they had established about what could and couldn’t be measured. See the alligator? No problem. See the Chi? Problem.
Now, combine that with a recent comment on a web forum from an acupuncturist advising everyone to be cautious about any device that claims to measure “chi.”
These two events have gotten me thinking and it’s high time I clarified a few things.
For the literalists among us—and by “literalists” I mean people who don’t “turn on a light,” but rather “complete a circuit,” and who instead of a “glass of water,” ask for a “container of liquid-state H2O” — I want to tell you first and foremost that you’re right. You can’t measure Chi. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. After all, we can’t even define what Chi really is!
We all know the theoretical construct: Chi is life force energy. Essence. Life. But how do you measure that?
I like to use the analogy of the X-Ray. When you look at the picture, do you see the bones? Careful now—if we’re still being literal, the answer is no. What you are seeing is the shadow produced on a film plate when the hand is subjected to X-rays. The white areas show where the x-rays were blocked by the bones, but in the end it’s just a shadow. You aren’t seeing bones.
But is it clinically useful? Of course.
And in the same way, measuring electrical skin resistance, as we do with AcuGraph, doesn’t directly measure Chi. But it does measure the effects of Chi on the physiology, and it is quite a useful measure to have. If you’ve used AcuGraph for any length of time, you know what I mean.
So here’s the question: Why should this surprise us? As with any fundamental force in the universe, the Chi life force is measured by its EFFECTS, rather than measuring directly. There’s no direct way to measure gravity. No, Really. Something so fundamental, and we can’t measure it. So instead, we measure the EFFECTS of gravity on a falling object, or by the compression of a spring. To be quite honest, scientists don’t even know what gravity IS. But they do know how it behaves, and with this understanding, we can use the gravitational force to our advantage.
Chi works just the same way. There’s a difference between a living person and a corpse, and that difference is the life force energy, or Chi. As much as mainstream medicine attempts to disparage acupuncture by mocking this idea, they’re wrong. (Unless they don’t believe in gravity, that is—in which case, they would still be wrong, but at least consistent.)
So what does this mean to you?
It’s simple. When you can measure the effects of Chi, or “See the Chi,” as I like to say, you and your patient both get HUGE benefits. You get better information so you can make better decisions, ultimately leading to more effective treatment. And your patient gets the added bonus of not only understanding acupuncture better, but also seeing objective proof of what’s wrong and how you’re helping.
In the end, you get a more successful practice and a more satisfying career. All this from a 2-minute exam to help you See the Chi. It’s sure easier than measuring gravity. Or an alligator.
If you don’t own AcuGraph yet, what are you waiting for? A better future awaits you and your patients. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, I’m going to get to work on my next product, AcuGravity. There’s gotta be an opportunity in there somewhere.
Have a great week!
2 Replies to “Gravity vs. the Alligator”
Great article and love the acugravity joke, or is it? I have now used the acugraph with great success for two weeks and only wish the patient management part of the software was a bit more extensive.
I really like your analogy between Qi and Gravity. I think it will be helpful in explaining Qi to those searching for answers within a system that is still in the process of being fully understood (if that is even possible). The effects of Qi are real and measurable and is something we can easily discuss with out patients with the right analogy it brings to light greater possibilities.