How would you respond to this statement I recently received from an acupuncturist on Facebook in response to a blog post I wrote about AcuGraph? *Make sure you read the statement with sarcasm in your voice…
“Wait a minute. …. I wasted thousands of dollars and years of my life to study TCM. I could have just paid a couple of thousand dollars on AcuGraph and had the same results instantly! Damn!”
Can you relate to this practitioner’s comment? I can totally relate. You’re probably wondering how I responded to this practitioner. I’ll tell you that in a minute. First, let me share a quick personal story.
Back when I was studying acupuncture at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, I attended the famous Pacific Symposium each year.
I perused the vendors for four years to research products for the clinic I would open some day. One year, I was walking around with my friend and we stopped at the AcuGraph booth. Adrian Larsen was running the booth. (You know that guy, right?) I stopped. He graphed me and gave me his sales pitch. I asked a few questions and then my friend and I walked away and made the following statements: *Make sure you read the statements with sarcasm in your voice…
“I’ve studied TCM for nearly four years and I’m about the take my exams. Why in the world would I need some machine to tell me how to treat? That machine is for practitioners who didn’t study at PCOM.”
“He didn’t even look at my tongue or take my pulse. How can you make a diagnosis without tongue and pulse? I’ll bet he doesn’t sell many of those machines.”
“Yeah, the machine doesn’t say anything about pattern diagnosis. I wonder why he is here trying to sell to TCM practitioners.”
And off we went…
Now you can see how easy it is for me to relate to the question from the above practitioner. I thought AcuGraph was only for practitioners who weren’t very smart.
Can I admit out loud, right now, that I wasn’t very SMART?
A lot of things have changed since that time for sure! I’ve got a lot of experience under my belt at this point. Who knew, I’d be:
- Eventually working for Miridia Technology?
- Using AcuGraph in my practice every day?
- The one at the booth at Pacific Symposium talking to students about AcuGraph?!
- Teaching practitioners all around the world how to effectively use AcuGraph in their clinics?
I sure didn’t know it…
Here’s the whole conversation I had with the practitioner on Facebook. As you can see, my perspective has changed quite a bit over the years.
Practitioner on FB: “Wait a minute. …. I wasted thousands of dollars and years of my life to study TCM. I could have just paid a couple of thousand dollars on AcuGraph and had the same results instantly! Damn!”
Me: Hello. I thought the same thing when I learned about AcuGraph while I was in college to become an acupuncturist. I thought it was crazy… Once I graduated college, I learned it was priceless to be able to show patients the objective findings of energetic imbalances in the channel. I especially like the ability to see the progress from treatment to treatment. My education PLUS AcuGraph makes me a better practitioner. In summary: Yes. Your TCM education is still important.
Practitioner on FB: Hi Kimberly. I know clients really enjoy seeing the bar graphs and such, but measuring Jing well points to make a TCM diagnosis IS NOT very realistic.
Me: Actually, you have a couple of options in AcuGraph. You can measure Source points and Jing well points. Let me explain how this is of value to you as a practitioner.
- Measuring the source points on the graph tells you what is happening in the body internally AND in the tendinomuscular channels. TCM practitioners typically like this option.
- Having said that, Jing Well Point exams give you a good opportunity to see what is happening specifically in the tendinomuscular channels. This is helpful if you want to focus on musculoskeletal problems. Tendinomuscular meridians have to do with the sympathetic response. If you can calm that down, my experience in the clinic has shown that everything else you do has a greater effect on the parasympathetic system.
- My experience has shown that when I deal with the channel imbalances first, my TCM treatment is much more effective.
Practitioner on FB: What about TCM diagnosis? AcuGraph won’t make a TCM diagnosis, right?
Me: You are correct. AcuGraph is not intended to make a TCM diagnosis. It gives a channel diagnosis, which is a very beneficial addition to TCM diagnosis. In fact, my experience has shown that when I deal with the channel imbalances first, my TCM treatment is much more effective.
Practitioner on FB: Thanks Kimberly. I guess I didn’t understand AcuGraph.
Me: I completely understand. I didn’t get it in the beginning either.
You might be wondering what changed over the years. Obviously, a lot of things.
But, I can honestly say, studying with Dr. Jake Fratkin was the one life-changing weekend that changed my perspective about AcuGraph. Before that, I thought AcuGraph was beneficial for patient education, but that’s it.
When I returned from studying with Jake everything changed. My perspective, my attitude and how I treated my patients. Although there is no way I could come home after only three days of studying under his tutelage and call myself a master—I will say this: “Little did I know that one weekend of studying with Dr. Fratkin, would completely change my understanding of how Chinese Medicine works—and forever transform the way I practice acupuncture.” Since then, Dr. Fratkin has written a report that explains WHY Meridian Diagnosis is more effective than TCM Pulse diagnosis. Essentially, what is written in his report is a synopsis of what he teaches in his three-day advanced AcuGraph training. Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think.
I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst