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"The Power of Innate Acupuncture Point Selection"
By John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

In the early days of my career I treated a young lady who had suffered extensive neurologic injuries to her face after slipping while cleaning the side of the bathtub. Her nose and facial pain were agonizing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and had been for over four years. She complained of multiple paraesthesias and of her teeth feeling like "mush" when felt by her tongue. Virtually every medical doctor in every specialty she consulted ultimately suggested psychiatric care. This was simply out of total frustration in their failure to eliminate or even reduce her horrific pain.

The DCs she saw were some of the best ranging from a variety of technique experts to include cerebral manipulation, endonasal technique, kinesiology, and a variety of various adjustive procedures from the atlas to the coccyx. She consulted me for the possibility of acupuncture even though it was very new in the country in 1973. In those early days of acupuncture, it was the most desperate patients who sought acupuncture.

Even though I was young in my practice, I had this incredible confidence, backed by minimal clinical experience. After numerous treatments of acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments to the spine, manipulations of the hard and soft palates and pulling her uvula, I came to the hard realization that I had failed her too. I suggested a psychiatrist. Why is it so often when a patient fails to respond, we are so eager to put the blame on their mentality?

One evening I felt a sudden urge to find a newspaper article which I had saved in a large box in the back of my closet. Upon dragging out the box, I sat down and started to extract stacks of papers, old photos, a slide rule, a thousand paper clips, etc. As I was slinging items over my shoulder onto the floor around me, a small, steno-notebook appeared. I threw it over my shoulder to join the rest of the heap, but instead it struck me right between the eyes, scratching my forehead with the sharp edge of the projecting spiral binding.

The notebook landed in my lap, with a page staring up at me which said "for nasal pain -- point #17." There was also a small, barely legible sketch of a hand I had personally drawn with the acupoint illustrated. This was the notebook I had used on my first visit to China in 1973 when I visited the Tai Chung Medical School in Taipei. It was here I was first presented with the concept of Chinese Hand Acupuncture.

Talk about something hitting you between the eyes! I immediately thought of my patient and wondered if this point could do something for her. I had used every method I knew and had accepted the fact that I was going to have to relieve her from care, as it was apparent that was the only relief she was going to experience.

On her next visit I stimulated the point on her hand I had discovered the night before quite by accident. I remember she was irritated with me because the only procedure I did that visit was simply to tap with a non-invasive needle (teishein) on a point on her wrist. She felt that the simplicity of this treatment was inadequate to help her raging pain wanting me to do more. Frankly, at this point there was nothing else I knew to do.

As she walked through the reception room on her way to the door following her treatment, she slumped into a dead faint in the middle of the floor. Upon reviving, she stated that she had been overwhelmed because as she moved across the room her pain and paraesthesia which were of the highest magnitude, were suddenly and instantly relieved.

No, I cannot explain it, nor does it make any sense to my physiologic or just plain logical mind, but it happened. I shall never forget that acupuncture point. Where's the point located? Two fingerbreadths distal to the dorsal wrist crease in line with an imaginary line drawn down the middle of the index finger.

Yes, the patient was released from over four years of devastating unexplained pain and paraesthesia in a matter of seconds. An incredible testimony for acupuncture, however it is imperative the reader come away with the whole message not just the specific point used.

The real message is to always act upon those glimmers of innate intuitive insight, and to truly listen to that small voice whispering in your ear throughout the day. Anyone who has been in the health care field long enough to be called a "veteran" certainly knows exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes the answer to a troubling patient may come to you in some of the most unusual ways. Always be receptive to those innate intuitive thoughts regarding patient care.

I recall what may have been one of if not the first Graduate School program in acupuncture in the United States when the principle speaker from Kowloon, China stated "When you don't know what to do any more with a patient, or didn't know what to do in the first place - - Always consider the Tsing (jing -well) points because they're magic". My initial thought was that this was an extremely exaggerated simplistic statement. The statement seemed barely worthy of a note however, I scribbled the thought which as we know unfortunately often end up buried in a myriad of words and paper never to be seen again.

Months passed and my practice was becoming increasingly filled with fewer and fewer open appointments as acupuncture was at fever pitch as the general publics were inundated with positive reports of acupuncture's effectiveness from the media.

As I was closing the office one late Spring evening, the front door opened and standing before me were a mother and father who were carrying their daughter who was in obvious severe neurologic insult. Gazing upon this twisted child I wondered why due to her advanced state how the parents could care for her. I then noticed the hospital band on her wrist. The parents explained to me that they were in the process of returning the child to Children's Mercy Hospital as they had been out on a very rare day pass. Apparently today was the child's seventh birthday where she had been taken home to celebrate her birthday with friends and family. This would be her last birthday. The prognosis was grave.

The diagnosis from Mayo's was "idiopathic neurogenic syndrome". Since she suffered from an unusual unexplained neurologic condition, there was no treatment to save her life only to prolong it and that was failing. She presented in rigid neurologic opisthotonis. Death was eminent.

On the way back to the hospital following the party which literally was a living funeral as family and friends gathered to be with her one last time, the parents passed my office and decided to stop. Having heard of the benefits of acupuncture, they wondered if perhaps this could help.

Once the parents explained the gravity of the situation, the diagnosis and prognosis I was frankly overwhelmed. With tears streaming down their faces they asked if I could treat their "baby"? Looking at this pitiful rigid child and the parents, I reluctantly told them "I'm sorry, this is really out of my league, I wouldn't even know where to begin". When they asked if I would just try as there was literally nowhere else to go or do and would I just even work on her as a research project? I again responded with apologies and sorrow that "I wouldn't even know where to begin".

It was at that point it was like someone was sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear saying "When you don't know what to do any more or didn't know what to do in the first place - - always use the Tsing points because they're magic". Was it a thought in my head or were these really words being whispered to me? In any event, the feeling was too strong to ignore. I took a non-penetrating teishein (which is one of the original nine acupuncture needles first described) and stimulated each and every one of the 12 meridian Tsing points next to the nail bed for approximately 15-20 strokes apiece. I then took a green marking pen and marked each point I had just stimulated with the instruction to the parents that they repeat this procedure every day in the morning and evening using a ballpoint pen.

Even though they realized that they were now on the way back to the hospital to watch their daughters eventual demise, they left the office with a glimmer of hope and the words of a Master that I am embarrassed to say I never even got his name.

That event happened on a spring evening. On a fall morning several months later, this child began school with her regular class. I only officially saw her once, however the parents stimulated the Tsing points of that child with love, compassion and expectation twice a day. I was invited to her eight-birthday party! To this day I still use a green felt tip pen to mark points for follow up stimulation.

Where did this point selection come from? It had absolutely nothing to do with my academic excellence or highly evolved intellect; it came directly from innate intuition and listening to what was being heard. How many times have we heard but didn't listen? Sometimes we are afraid to act because the thought may be contrary to what we felt was proper academia. Be alert and aware of the many clues and fleeting thoughts received throughout the day. Acting upon some of these innate intuitions can be extremely rewarding.

My last celebrated case of innate intuition bordered on being almost eerie. I recently saw a middle aged woman complaining of multiple visceral symptomatologies. It appeared as every system of her body was pathologically involved from respiration to cardio-vascular, digestion, musculo-skeletal, lymphatic and endocrine. She had seen a variety of specialists and was actually on 14 different medications. She presented an extremely complicated case history which when the primary doctors she was seeing reports came in actually had to be filed in two file folders due to the sheer mass of the paper.

I began treatment on her using the "Electro Meridian Imaging" (EMI) method of diagnosis which virtually showed 10 of her 12 meridians extremely involved. She had been to a TCM practitioner who I know of stellar reputation who even with his years of practice and study could not commit to a TCM diagnosis. To say this was a complicated case would be an understatement.

One afternoon while driving my car I was stopped in traffic when I found my self mentally wandering and thinking of this particular patient and what might be her underlying problem and what could I do for her? As I sat there just gazing out the passenger window another vehicle pulled up beside me rolling just pass my window as his rear bumper came in my direct view. I couldn't help but notice his license number from another state it was "LU6-TW4".

I tried my best to talk myself out of using these two acupuncture points on this patient however having been in similar situations before, I had no choice. Following the first treatment, the patient's condition worsened, which I did not think was possible considering how severe she was. However, by the next morning she reported feeling considerably improved. I treated her two times a week for four weeks at which time she stated she felt like an entirely new person. I also balanced her meridians through Electro Meridian Imaging.

A recent examination by her primary medical physician has revealed major improvements in her blood chemistry. Her symptoms are a fraction of what she previously experienced. Her EMI exam is close to being balanced. She is energetic, sleeps all night and has regained her appetite. She came into the office today stating she had just signed up for a yoga class. She is excited about the future as her extreme depression is now just a memory. She has had a total of twelve treatments

As I try to justify the rational of the two points used so successfully namely LU6 and TW4 I realize LU6 is the Hsi point and TW4 is the Yuan point. They have to have a rational explanation. However, how they worked together in the success of this case is a mystery to me. I guess the biggest mystery is, whose car was that?

Of course this is just a freaky coincidence, a script from a Twilight Zone movie, a total fabrication, a dream after too many Shitake mushrooms, our rational mind will not allow for any other explanation. However, these events are around us daily. Take advantage of them.

We are often presented with the answer to our patients or our own problems in unusual ways. We may see a sentence in a book, see a billboard which may trigger a thought, hear a statement on TV -- act upon it. Don't be afraid to let intuition enter your thoughts. These thoughts coupled with sound academic principles are extremely powerful. Keep yourself mentally attuned by constant reading and study but also allow the sixth sense to become a part of your being.

One of the most significant Masters I have had the good fortune to study with said it best " When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear".

Best Wishes for a Healthy Happy Productive 2003

John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM) (IAMA), L.Ac.
Carefree, Arizona