What to do about the Average Fertility Patient?
- The tongue should be quite different when you finish a treatment as should the alarm points. If not – what did you really do?
- Behind this is another big task, as often throwing out the paradigm you have lived with until now is very useful in getting past a stuck issue – just as we expect patients to do.
- TCM differential diagnosis can assist in working out at a glance if someone will or not conceive. But this is to THINK with, not find the answers there. Tonifying Ki/Sp yang is a minor issue, however ‘right’ it is in TCM terms.
Why ask these questions at all?
Many reasons – the main one being this is one area of acupuncturing where the results are either there or not, fairly instantly – the pain/whatever that ails them is better, or it Is not . . . the results hit at the core of our beings, thus they mean the world to the one who is paying for treatment, and they may be giving this issue their last efforts – so there is a great deal riding upon outcomes.
It is very easy to lose sight of OUR medicine and goal posts in the desperation that often accompanies such a case. This can be contagious. It is also tantalizing to follow the structured protocols in the recent evidence-based medical themed texts and articles, as though it is all just a matter of finding the Holy Grail and all is well.
In real life, we usually have two very despondent/hopeful and financially drained people who are either coming as a last resort, or who think that without any preparation, having heard that acupuncture helps, they are already part way, or emotionally committed to something, that on our reflection, looks like a very long shot. AT THE MOMENT.
We seem, looking at recently published fertility treatment protocols, to be focused as the medical profession is – looking at what causes/forces something to happen, rather at restoring the natural balance; letting the body and nature take over and flourish. To do this may appear to take more time, but is bound to ‘succeed’ looking at quality markers separate to baby in bassinette, as the couple will be at least healthier regardless of offspring sprung.
We appear to be jumping the gun, seduced by the medical images of the bits within, without realising that WE hold the key for the understanding of their physical appearance – if only we took back the reins as acupuncture being an ENERGY medicine. We seem to be forgetting some of the tenets of this.
We seem also to have been so seduced by the numbers on pages – hormonal assays, temperatures and sperm results – so that we fail to see what precedes these – the state of a person’s jing, and their blood, constitution and source supporting these seeds /potential flowerings.
We could ask such pertinent questions as their own personal inner heritage – numbers of children their mother had, how close together, which number in the litter they were, how stressed/well she was in their formative (in utero and nursing ) years, and whether they were well/happy of very ill and shy youngsters themselves.
We could be then inquiring as to their state of present jing condition – the markers I speak of elsewhere. We could then be investigating their tongue fur as to whether the gut is supporting the machine well, allowing perfect jing to be replenished and stored within this comes the regeneration debate – the amount and timing of the sleep, the ability to awaken refreshed, the degree of heat inducing substances (think of anything that creates heat as jing unfriendly) and what is being ingested to fuel the processes.
Specific Angst-full Issues
1 – The TCM approach is a guideline. It was developed as a tool to assist the people who replaced those who knew what they were doing. This can sound very revolutionary and incendiary – and Chinese recent history is, and millions died in its backwash. By studying the medical traditions of this country, we are all too polite to adjust the basic concepts recently altered/ acquired, back through the classics to fit our context. As an example – evil spirit possession (kwei) and the ghost points – and the ghosts within the machine – we know Tibetan medicine and Ayevedic traditions have left these intact.
The energy and shamanistic approach is not airy fairy and based on the individual’s “feelings” from elsewhere – especially their perceptions on ‘spirituality’, but on concrete indicators. Possibly this is where TCM initiated from – to record the framework.
However – it is only the bones of the beast – the blood and guts, the flesh, and even the spirit, reside in other models, and TCM differential diagnosis is the BEGINNING of a treatment principle, not the piece de résistance.
A more meridian based approach, whether using the eight extras, as I have, as the guiding force to allow the expression of jing and how the kidney qi weaves its magic, or one which looks to the personality types, the astrological forces at play or the whatever else’s may all be equally valid. Looking at the physical end products in test results/test tubes is NOT either good medicine, or our forte.
2 – The sociological implications of the Cultural Revolution/Great Leaps Forward seem to be never taken into consideration in acupuncture studies. What another country has done to its citizens over the past decades directly affects what information is allowed out of that country, available for translation, or even still available for its own citizens. The more energy/shamanistic and spiritual aspects have been well sanitized, and the resultant homogenised into what is acceptable to the powers that be.
How can we place this into our own context directly? Little frank discussion gets aired as to the appropriateness of our direct translation of current Chinese methodology into our very precious and now litigation happy patient populations. Or whether what exists now was ever intended in its earlier form.
3 – The spirit defines the prognosis – whether the person is actually able to be here and BE PRESENT or not. This is huge, as most are like marionette puppets – at the mercy of the programmes that were put in, usually in early childhood.
4 – The Shen to Shen connection, especially in women’s issues is fraught with their and our own early ‘default’ setting that I mention.
The amount that is written about women and their plumbing – you would think it was a big problem. It isn’t – but the framework that sees women as a problem and their lives as problematic is – it is all through the male lenses – even stating that treating women is difficult – 10 times more than a man – and the treatment of children as being 10 times more than a woman. (In my opinion they are easy – it is the men who are obtuse, and hide behind the layers of personality constructions and mask/veneers). Women are simple – the period is a report card of what has happened, and accurately gives a picture of what is to come. If she is no longer cycling – what was gives us the clues.
5 – We could look at the emotions – which even in TCM are at least given lip service to being the major cause of disease.
Then, like the 8 Extras in the classic text from Shanghai, these are ignored. (See p 69-73 of the Acupuncture – A Comprehensive Text.) It is stated that the 8 extras regulate, supervise and maintain the flow in the ordinary vessels – and then they are dismissed, to the discussions on the 12 main and Ren and Du as though that was that).
So too with the emotions. Heart 7 is not going to address a past rape that is holding her hostage with flashbacks, and inability to open her heart, let alone let a man within her aura. How is she to have a man to have a child?
Given the ratio of incest/rape and sexual attacks on every level, whether in this time /space continuum, or brought through as an energy configuration to be cleared – there is no way that the liver meridian can freely course. This means a flow-on into the types of experiences a person draws to themselves, how they record and perceive these, and how they then live with the consequences of all of this.
Starting to Treat a Woman
Hence, this is actually the starting place for treatment – as the heat generated from the Stuck Liver Qi/blood/yin deficiency all stem from women being too polite/nice and good to actually ALLOW themselves to be who they need to be.
This may suit the society, the family, the children and the lovers/husbands/partners and the state but it messes with women’s blood flow, leading to all the ‘women’s diseases’ we study at college – usually through the dominant cultures’ (read male) eyes.
Our Western medicine historically also saw women as being inferior – at least ‘hysterical. We all as women still run the risk of being branded as ‘neurotic’, ‘hormonal’ and ‘menopausal’.
So, how do we expect to get normal blood and qi production and circulation going (thus normal menstruation, thus ease of conception leading to a well mum and babe at the end of it) when we pretend they are side issues and of no real importance, whilst we ‘read’ which differential diagnosis fits onto the patient, and prescribe treatment approaches and herbs?
This is all very ‘safe’, and in my experience, totally useless at helping getting a woman pregnant. I even hear now that it is considered outside the range of acupuncture (unsafe in pregnancy) to be dealing here at all.
Paddy McBride tells of being ‘told off’ by Bob Flaws, for treating pregnant women.
Some of us older women have been quietly doing our thing, sitting through innumerable rape and sexual assault/abuse stories, healing birthing and abortion traumas, and the like, as we have been enmeshed in our women’s healing for all of our working lives.
These are not presented in the neat textbook cases we have published that set women’s trials into little boxes where a few herbs/needles should be all that is needed to “straighten them out”.
What do we actually have ‘disease’/ difficulties/trials/life lessons for?
Is it our role to ameliorate suffering, or is it the “victims” role to reframe and come out from under themselves/their belief structures? IS it ever going to be comfortable, or the first choice?
Women when very distressed will tend to seek out a woman practitioner. This in no way is meant to alienate men.
As a woman, I have had many women refuse to even consider going to a male specialist – JUST BECAUSE HE IS MALE.
The ones who have significant male issues through whatever past experience, are thus not dropping their considerable stories upon the ears of the ones who edit/write the texts. For all of us who are working differently at the coal face, I see a line being drawn, almost likening it to the witch hunts of the medieval times.
1 – Emotions are the key.
The interface of sexual fusion and enculturation will always be present, regardless of what the parties think that they are doing. If we just look to/at the history (even the construction of that word) of the human race (same again), we see that the women are busy being sidelined raising kids, and marginalised economically, and seen as somehow ‘less than’ as they bring the intangibles/quality issues into the equations that always are glossed over, as numbers are what accounting is about.
When speaking of women, we are often more primal/mammalian than men. We have tides, cycles and phases of life that are clearly defined, requiring us to bend and flow with them. Unfortunately, as men do not, they are can sometimes get seduced into the linear/rational “factual” representations of what being a woman entails.
The intellect is always given airplay – but we Westerners need to look at the Druidic/Christian split in our own cellular/race memories’ past, and heal that – and THEN see the huge lack of human rights/ sense of respect for the actual process of being in human form that was/is endemic in the Chinese culture, and is still very present in both groups of peoples still today. These are played out behind the scenes as we set ourselves up as “TCM practitioners”.
This digression is important, as it sets up the conditions under which anyone with the paper qualification is seen as knowing what to do.
This, in the women’s health line is not sufficient, any more than not having birthed naturally and rearing kids is when seeking a proficient midwife/lactation consultant – to help those who are suffering – it is best learnings to have been there and worked through what it brought up for self personally – so the process of recognising the programmes I spoke of earlier is at least acknowledged.
The ‘patient non compliance’ spoken of is a way of ignoring the obvious – they can’t do it because of something else SOMETHING IS BLOCKING MOVEMENT– and that something is the site of real/original injury – not the sore neck/thumb /life that they validate the visit with.
Best to have something akin to Dr Shen’s pulse and life framework within.
So, the ‘emotions’ are one something that TCM in current form is likely to help with. I am expressing that sometimes this is women’s business, and that men can not sit in as true healers for women – in the same way that I as a woman am not able to help a man through his inner men’s work.
If we all stopped being so dammed politically correct, and recognised where we belong – and stayed there – it would all be easier in the long run. Are any of us even doing our own inner wo/men’s work?
Past the emotions – if there is any way the gut can work by not sorting out the emotions (impossible) we can now put the naturopathic hat on, and look at what might be happening as the person has listened and taken on board that which feels good, and ignored the obvious.
2 – If the gut is not functioning at capacity, the raw ingredients for qi and blood circulation and production are dud. Where is this mentioned in the differential diagnostic tools (I used to have to teach it, so I do know the answer).
How is the average thin/brittle blood deficient perfectly made up doll like patient going to carry a baby with that little girl’s figure? The issues underpinning the devolution back into girlhood are not small. What is so soul-destroying about the gaining of a woman’s weight/shape? Why is it too hard to allow aging to happen?
Often we need to upset the personalities’ programme, and get them to PUT WEIGHT on. Then we walk right into a land mine zone – sexual abuse. How are these women going to mother, even if they achieve pregnancy? What of the body image issues /the recollections and the past trauma yet to surface?
3 – After the gut comes – is the blood actually flowing?
(See 1 above again)
We have often been the only person many women have ever spoken to, of the core issues that are at the base of all their Stuck Liver Qi/etc – and whilst this could be said of many other intimate sharings– the incidence of rape in just about all women with “Stuck Liver Qi/Blood” is ridiculous. And there is a way to get this out in the open and being ‘safe’ i.e. female is only the beginning.
4 – So, into blood circulation is also qi circulation
– and withholding sexual release/being polite/ good/ nice/ whatever is huge in women. Sticks their liver qi up well. Where ever is orgasm and self/life pleasuring ever mentioned in TCM or any other textbook? or why ‘no’ is so hard to countenance/say?
We could look at the procedures that have been done to diagnose as well as the more obvious (though not medically) structural and more solid misalignments.
5 – Beyond the quality and circulation of qi and blood
– and I have not even talked about the taking of temperatures to sort out the thyroid/progesterone imbalances that are rife – there is the jing issue.
6 – The texts and TCM in general
do not mention anything that would account for heavy metal poisoning and the state of toxicity all are en-mired in today. This means that Ki 3 and Bl 23 for building up sperm may work for a peasant who historically had poor nutrition etc all their lives in China, but here on the planet we now have very different issues.
TCM differential diagnosis can assist in woking out at a glance if someone will, or will not, conceive.
(Please see articles on Jing Markers and others on easybabies.com.au Practitioner Tools)
But TCM is only one construct to think with, not to necessarily find answers there. Tonifying Kidney and Spleen yang is a minor issue, however ‘right’ in TCM terms, given the inner landscapes and minefields the average woman inhabits.