Fingers and thumbs!
Tommy is in his late sixties. He is a recovering alcoholic and has had a hard life. He has been sober for over 14 years now. Currently he is having a difficult period with his family and has a lot of stress. As a result he finds it hard to relax and to find a place where he can escape from the constant strain of his family life. On this occasion his stress level was at an average level for him which would perhaps be quite high for anybody else. Lately his arthritis, which affects his right hand (specifically his thumb around the Thenar emminence) and forefinger, was affecting his grip, which has become weak. The local pain was excruciating when trying to hold certain objects.
Tommy has had a number of treatments from me and so I quickly asked him to put a reference score on his pain. I asked him to squeeze my hand so that I could get an accurate sense of how weak his condition had made his hand. As he squeezed my hand he felt a sharp pain which he acknowledged was his reference pain level of 10 out of 10.
Fig 1 Tommy's Prescription
This treatment needed to be quick as I had an extra two unscheduled clients on my already busy afternoon. "Heaven & Earth" Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) would be enough to deal with his anxiety. Ren 9 (Shuifen) was used to clear the inflammation at this arthritic joint. Kidney 17 on the left was used to move Qi down the affected right arm St 24 (shoulder point) then Ab 1 (elbow) with Ab 2 (wrist) were used on the effected right side and two other very small superficial ahshi points were used to address the pain specifically in the area of that thumb and forefinger. These were found within close proximity approximately 0.6 - 0.7 cun lateral to Ab 1 (elbow). A depth of only 0.2 cun was enough to completely ameliorate the pain.
Tommy was instructed to grip my hand one more time and on this occasion the strength was markedly improved. There was no pain whatsoever upon doing this same manoeuver. Tommy was delighted and declared that “acupuncture is magic (deadly)” and relaxed into the session. Upon completion half an hour later Tommy was still pain-free with the improved strength and range of motion. His mood was much better and his stress levels had eased.
This was a fast easy treatment that achieved great results at an emotional and physical level. The treatment took approximately four minutes to administer leaving me free to deal with the unscheduled extra clients. Abdominal acupuncture does not necessarily have to take any longer than regular treatments once you have achieved a degree of confidence, accuracy and a understanding of the subtleties of this powerful system.
When I next met Tommy four weeks later he told me the relief from the acupuncture for the arthritic thumb lasted over a week, even during the wettest time of the the Irish year (when is that? I hear you ask!). Tommy said that his grip was better for a number of weeks and even after the four weeks, it was still a little better than before the acupuncture.