"Unsuccessful" Case Histories
Case 1: "I can't stop"
Leg Pain: knee and thigh
Patient: Female, age 40, an avid runner. Chinese pulse diagnosis revealed an overall deficient system, and she was pushing herself by sheer willpower.
Chief complaint: Came in seeking help with her leg pain and unable to run, which was her passion. Also a very tight neck and shoulder as a secondary complaint. These conditions were quite chronic.
Modalities used: Microcurrent therapy would be best in this situation of deficiency, helping to balance as well as to energize traumatized and overworked areas. Bowen Therapy would require more internal Qi/energy and she most likely would not be able to feel much change. Acupuncture needles, if used for pain dispersion, would certainly drain her energy too much.
Progress: After the 1st treatment, she made some good improvement and was encouraged by that to come back. 4 days later she came back for her 2nd treatment. 2 days later she felt no pain and was thrilled. She then resumed her running immediately and she overextended her present capablity by running 4 to 5 miles, since she felt so good. Of course, the pain came back and her great disappointment in the treatment and in her body's inability to hold the treatment was overwhelming.
She cancelled the 3rd treatment the day before saying that she would be unable to stop her running in order to get well.
Total treatments: 2
Comments: This case was included since it is a common scenario. People will often be so overjoyed that a persistent and chronic pain would just vanish after 1 or 2 treatments and will think nothing of testing their limits. However, going from a painful and therefore a metabolically sluggish area of poorly nourished muscles and tissues and accumulated toxic wastes to a pain free condition means that the body has worked non stop to heal. But the body simply needs more time. And yes, more treatments are necessary in order to support this initial good progress. It is only the wishful thinking and irrational emotions that get in the way.
She would have to curtail her running for awhile, or at least moderate it. The bigger question that she needs to ask herself is, "why can I not let go of running, despite the pain and exhaustion, even for a little while?" In this situation, acupuncture treatments, perhaps with limited needles or color frequencies directed onto the acupoints, geared to uncover the deeper emotional issues or beliefs around this issue would be necessary. Just stopping the physical pain would only be temporary, since her lifestyle has to change in order to allow her energy stores to replenish. Her innate intelligence would give her the insights and broader perspectives to easily do what is good for her well being on all levels. However, it would require the willingness to look at oneself.
Case 2: "I can't handle the disappointment"
Back, Neck & Foot Pain
Patient: female, age 58, high blood pressure with chronic foot pain injured previously, 6 surgeries in last 6 years
Chief complaint: The most immediate pressing pain was the back, caused by a slipped disc in L4-L5. It was within the last 2 months and the neck pain was even more recent, starting in the last 2 weeks. The foot pain was chronic on and off and was not the main reason for her visit. The back pain was keeping her immobile at times and she was already taking pain medication. Epidurals were also not effective.
Modalities used: Bowen Therapy only, with additional acupoints chosen according to Traditional Chinese Medical theory
Progress: 1st treatment, upon palpation was very tight, with the upper back treated twice before any movement was detected. Only 4 "moves" and a few foot acupoints were done. In this situation, less is definitely more. The "moves" can be deceptively simple and gentle, but the body, if severely spasmed, will not be able to handle too much movement. It is similar to releasing a blocked water dam too fast and the water will come crashing through.
The second treatment was 10 days later. She came in beaming and was so grateful that there was finally hope after years of suffering. The pain, including the feet pain, was completely gone. She mentioned there was a lot of pain 2 days after the 1st treatment before this happened. Now she was able to walk freely. More work needed to be done however. Her back was still extremely tight and until there was more change in this area, this quick vanishing of pain would not hold. A pelvic "move" was added this time.
By the 3rd treatment, 4 days later, she still had no pain. She required more sleep (her body was in active healing mode and required more rest) and her feet were tingling off and on, as more blood was finally circulating through. The scars and adhesions from 6 foot surgeries caused a lot of blockage. More areas were stimulated this time.
By the 4th treatment, 5 days later, she was still pain free and overjoyed. And of course she's very active, doing what she wasn't able to do for the last 2 months. Yet her back still felt extremely tight, which told us that she still has a bit to go. This time some different areas were selected, but still keeping the focus on the upper and lower back.
By the 5th treatment, 5 days later, some new achiness and numbiness had developed on her left inguinal down to her thigh, along with the right side of her neck. At that time she mentioned that she broke her tailbone 15 years ago, falling from a horse. She was unable to sit for a year. That was an important piece of information, although that would not have changed the initial treatment direction. But at this point, since her body was healing quite well, it was time to do the tailbone procedure, another very simple "move." Yet is one of the most powerful ones when done at the right time.
Very soon after, she started experiencing back pain again. She started to panic and felt as if her "second chance at a pain free life" was snatched away from her. Even though we tried to reassure her that she was not "healed" yet and this was a very important step in her true recovery, she could not hear us. No matter how much we tried to explain that it was her previous tailbone injury that never truly healed and this new pain was simply the body breaking up old areas of stagnation and the "water" from a released "dam" was crashing through. The intensity of this blocked area also gave us reason to believe that the tailbone problem explained why her foot injuries were unable to heal, requiring so many surgeries. Any severe blockage in the sacrum- pelvic area would disrupt the flow of lifeforce up and down the entire body. In fact, even the blood would meet more resistance from more and more constrictions that inevitably form, and would be at least one of the factors causing her high blood pressure.
She did not return and opted for an epidural to stop the pain temporarily. Most likely she went ahead with her initial plan of yet another surgery.
Total treatments: 5
Comments: It only required 5 treatments in a month's time to get to the real problem. The body, we feel, was ready to do the final phase. Unfortunately, there was too much fear, even though there was much evidence of progress.
Of course she needed to get through a short period of discomfort as her body was adjusting. We feel that an additional 5 treatments would have resolved the majority of the problem. After that, perhaps a preventative maintenance once a month, given her injuries and prior surgeries.