I was a stubborn child. My mother said she hoped someday I’d learn what it was like to raise a child just like me…
God has a sense of humor. We have been blessed with many stubborn children over the years. You’d think I’d learned my lesson about raising strong-willed children by now, right? Apparently not. He keeps blessing me with more and more opportunities to get it right and finally, with child #9, my mom’s wish came true. I not only have a stubborn child, but she is JUST AS stubborn as I was. My prayer at this point is that I learn my final lessons with her, so God doesn’t need to bless me with Child #10.
So, you are probably asking yourself what this story has to do with AcuGraph…???
Today I am going to talk about the stubborn graph. Graphs and kids actually have a lot in common…
- Not all graphs are created equal.
- Sometimes it’s easy to balance the graph.
- Sometimes, it’s hard because of stubborn physiological circumstances.
- You have to have multiple treatment strategies up your sleeve, because the same approach doesn’t always work.
I’ve been graphing patients for 8 years. I can tell you from experience that a stubborn graph is not uncommon. Sometimes you have to be persistent and creative to balance the graph.
Here’s an interesting example.
28 year-old female patient
Chief Complaint: Hemorrhoids and Low Back Pain
- Hemorrhoids were acute. She had hemorrhoids 4 years ago when I treated her initially after childbirth, but nothing since.
- Lower back pain on-and-off over the years, which is typically manageable with massage therapy and chiropractic.
- Good diet.
- Healthy weight.
- TCM diagnosis: Blood stasis.
It had been two years since I’d seen this patient. She hadn’t ever presented with a belt-block type graph before. I didn’t question it too much. I just assumed there was a difficulty with communication between the upper body and the lower body–this explained her hemorrhoids and lower back pain.
Treatment #1: Dai Mai treatment to balance the graph–TE 5, GB 41. Branch treatment for back pain and hemorrhoids.
Two days later, when she came for her second treatment, the graph didn’t change much. So I started asking more questions:
- Shoulder tension?
- Phlegm and congestion?
She answered no to all of the above when I put her on the table to begin treatment. She popped her head up and said…. “Hey, I never did tell you I had breast augmentation surgery last year.”
BINGO!!!!! The graph finally made sense!
Think about all of the channels that run through the breasts. After palpation around the breast, I found many areas of energetic stagnation related to surgery and the formation of scar tissue.
Treatment #2: I changed my treatment approach. Instead of just treating the Dai Mai (TE 5, GB 41) and then moving on to branch treatment for low back pain and hemorrhoids, I added treatment for breast scar tissue with red laser and micro current.
NOTE: Of course I didn’t want to use needles because of the possibility of damaging her implants. Laser and microcurrent are my favorite types of treatment near the breasts for women who have had breast augmentation.
Once I found the “real problem” the patient was dealing with, I wound up getting better results with treatment.
The picture above shows the graph progression over a four week period. There are a few things which I would like you to recognize.
1. The graph was stubborn. Even though I treated each week to balance the graph, it didn’t automatically progress to a better graph on the next visit.
NOTE: It can be normal for a graph to get worse before it gets better. Most of the time it gets better immediately, but sometimes it’s not so easy. Know this yourself, and prepare your patients for this possibility on their first visit.
2. On the third visit, we finally got better results. This was AFTER I realized she had had breast augmentation surgery and began treatment of scar tissue blockages with red laser.
NOTE: I get asked all the time whether laser works. Yes, my friends… Laser works! It’s fantastic for kids, scar tissue, people who are afraid of needles, and areas where needles are not appropriate, as with breast augmentation!
3. Once we got good results on the third visit, the graph was STILL stubborn. Notice how it reverted back to bad again? But this is normal too. Sometimes it takes a little time to retrain the body to let go of the energetic pattern it is holding on to. Recognize that this is a possibility and it will be easier to explain graph changes to your patient.
4. By the fourth visit, I am recognizing that the body is really holding onto a Spleen excess condition. I decided to add an herbal formula at that point. I chose Bu Zhong Yi Qi Pian for Spleen Qi Deficiency which could be causing an damp condition, and sinking of the rectal region.
NOTE: Once you treat a patient for multiple visits and the same imbalance continues to come up, this is a good time to look at herbal, dietary and home lifestyle options to supplement treatment.
5. Things finally eventually began to resolve as it took persistence on my part. I continued to balance the graph each time and I also continued to deal with her chief complaints. I had enough time to decide which herbal formula she might need to help deal with treating the problem from an internal aspect.
AcuGraph was a great resource for me to track the progress of this patient:
- It helped me to recognize a problem that the patient had not disclosed during the initial intake.
- It helped the patient to feel confident because she was able to see her progress on a computer screen.
- She committed to a series of visits because I explained right from the beginning that it would take time.
Too bad I didn’t have a measuring device for dealing with stubborn kids! Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way. For me it took awhile. In the end, I’ve learned that patience and persistence are the key elements. Eventually, it all works out!
NOTE: You can use AcuGraph on stubborn kids when they come into your clinic too! Kids love AcuGraph!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst