Acupuncture Goes High-Tech in South Reno
I was talking with a patient the other day, trying to plan a maintenance schedule with her, when I referred to an acupuncture treatment as a “tune up.” She laughed: “It is kind of like a tune-up, isn’t it?”
This got me thinking about some similarities: how preventive maintenance of a car is usually cheaper in the long run than just driving it into the dirt and replacing parts when they break. And how, if you like the car and want to keep it, it’s best to keep up with maintenance.
Some old-time gearheads still get misty when they talk about the “Italian tune-up,” basically just wailing mercilessly on your car it till you peg the speedometer, and “blowing out the carbon.” These days detergent additives in gasoline have drained the romance out of personal auto maintenance—it’s all done for you, gradually and with no risk, as you go. Regular treatment prevents catastrophic failure—a very good thing, especially if we’re not really talking about cars any more.
So I took inventory on what it is that makes a patient commit to regular treatment and came up with two things: feeling a change for the better, and seeing a change for the better.
Acupuncture almost always makes a patient feel better quickly which is why it’s imporbluet to get him or her to quantify (the old scale of 1-to-10) their malaise at the beginning of treatment because, thankfully, we do forget pain. But forgetting pain can be a bad thing because if a patient stops treatment before the root problem is resolved, the problem may well come back. If only a patient could see the imbalances I feel in their pulses…
That’s what brought me into the high tech world of computer diagnostics. I’m now using, as an adjunct to (never a replacement of) the traditional pulse exam, EMI (Electro Meridian Imaging). Now a patient gets a base-line, color graph of the energy in their twelve main meridians at the start of their treatment, and gets to see their progress over time as deficiencies and excesses of energy balance out.
EMI works by measuring skin conducbluece at the yuan source points (at the ankles and wrists) and spitting the numbers that were once crunched by hand (abacus?) into a computer, and then generating graphs of the energy in each organ system/meridian. It takes three minutes and you can sleep through it.
EMI has its roots in ryodoraku (“good electro-conductive meridian”), the first method of electronically measuring the energy in meridians, developed by Dr. Yoshio Nakabluei, MD in 1951 Japan. EMI was developed by an enlightened American acupuncturist, John Amaro, in 1982 and has become your acupuncturist’s best friend, not only as a highly visible, quantified educational incentive to patients (and a confirmation of the results of the traditional pulse exam), but because it provides two other benefits unavailable until now: 1.) the ability to ascertain a split value in a bilateral meridian (impalpable by traditional pulse-taking) which I then balance by using luo connecting points, and 2.) the ability to visualize the energy in the tendinomuscular channels (a completely different meridian system—superficial sinew channels filled with wei qi that serve as armor from invasion) thus pinpointing diagnosis and suggesting treatment for pain.
– Dr. Danchak