- Is there a best sequence for treating pain?
- Do you graph EVERY patient?
- Do you graph patients who are just coming in for back pain?
- What if they just have shoulder pain, do you graph them?
- How about a sprained ankle? Do you need to graph them?
The answer is–YES, YES, YES, YES and YES!
Let me share an analogy that resonates with me. As you all know, I’m a mom with lots of kids. Cleaning day at my house can be a bit overwhelming.
Have you ever tried to clean a house that is a complete disaster? Imagine that every room in disarray, and you showing up with your cleaning bucket, your rubber gloves and a sponge. You are ready to clean but you can’t even get close to the dirt because everything is disorganized.
Before you can even think about cleaning, you have to spend time organizing and putting everything in its place. Once everything is put away, you can finally dig in and scrub the counters, mop the floor, dust and vacuum.
Can you imagine a house that was supposedly “cleaned” but the dirty dishes are still on the counter, toys are all over the floor, beds are left unmade, trashcans are overflowing, and dirty laundry is all over the floor??? If you tried to ignore the disorganization and jumped right into cleaning, you really wouldn’t get very far.
In the end, you may have a few countertops that were wiped off, but your home would still be cluttered and dysfunctional. The real goal of “cleaning house” is to put everything in its place AND have the house sparkling clean!
It’s taken me years to train my kids that we can’t clean until everything is put away and organized. We have a two-step system we follow on cleaning day. First, we put everything in its proper place and THEN we clean.
So, what does my housecleaning analogy have to do with acupuncture and AcuGraph?
Acugraph helps to create a “system of organization” for treatment before you jump right in to “clean up” the patient’s chief complaint. You will be most effective with your acupuncture treatment if you follow this important two-step program:
- #1: Graph your patient first. AcuGraph creates a visual picture of where energetic “disorder” is happening in the body. It’s important to treat the meridian imbalances BEFORE you address the chief complaint. Once the energy is flowing smoothly in the body, it will be easy to address the chief complaint.
- #2: Treat the chief complaint. Even if your patient is coming in with problems such as low back pain, shoulder pain, headache, digestive issues or a sprained ankle–you will get better results if you have addressed the meridian imbalances first. This is especially true if the patient is presenting with a qi and blood stagnation issue. If you don’t organize the meridian systems first, where do you expect the energy to go? Open pathways are very important!
If the meridians are in disarray or “unorganized”, then your treatment will only last for a short time–kind of like cleaning a house that is still messy!
Recently, I had a patient who came in with a sprained ankle. This is what his graph looked like:
Can you tell which ankle he sprained and which meridians were affected? Take a look at the foot meridians. AcuGraph was very accurate in showing that his RIGHT ankle was injured. Notice how the Spleen and Liver channels are higher on the right than the left?
Now, let’s take a look at the Energy Cycle graph.
This graph represents how the energy is supposed to flow through the body from channel to channel–beginning with the Lung and ending with the Liver. The patient’s chief complaint has to do with the splits in the Spleen and Liver channels.
- If we simply treated the Spleen to move qi and blood stagnation along the channel, what would happen when we reached the Small Intestine? There is an obvious blockage.
- Even if we could break past the Small Intestine, the Pericardium shows up as excess to block the normal flow as well.
If I chose to simply treat his chief complaint, without addressing the imbalances in the organ system, then I would get minimal results.
So, how did I treat this patient? As always, there were two steps involved.
#1: First, I balanced the graph.
#2: Then, I treated the local area of pain to move qi and blood with acupuncture, liniments and electrical stimulation.
I saw the patient the next day and he was amazed at how much better he was feeling.
I have found that if I spend a little time organizing the meridian systems first, by treating the tonification and sedation points to balance the graph–my treatment typically lasts twice as long–regardless of the patient’s chief complaint.
Remember, great practitioners use the best tools!
My favorites are listed below. Click there or on the link to the right to learn more about each one.
If you’re uncertain where to start…give us a call. We always take time to answer your questions!
You’ll love how much these tools help in your practice!
Have a great week!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst