From the Mouth of a Legendary Acupuncturist: Shi Xue Min on Acupuncture Technique
Shi Xue Min is a legend in acupuncturist circles. He is the head of the single largest acupuncture department in the world in Tianjin, China. In his hospital, a new 22 storey acupuncture building is being constructed just to deal with patient load. I bring him up now because I want to show through his example why acupuncture is a procedure and not a pill, and why not all acupuncturists are created equally.
From Blue Poppy I quote:
At any rate, Shi Xue-Min is the chief editor of many important acupuncture texts in China, including the “gold standard” yellow hardbound Acupuncture Treatment (Zhen Jiu Zhi Liao) textbook that is found in any good Chinese TCM library. One thing that stands out when reading Chinese acupuncture textbooks (in comparison with English ones) is the emphasis on needling sensation and stimulation methods. Many English textbooks say “needle point x” while Chinese texts say “needle point x with even supplementing and draining technique for 30 seconds of continuous stimulation, until the qi sensation propagates to the lower abdomen.” Similarly, Shi Xue-Min’s lecture placed a tremendous emphasis on HOW the points should be needled, which techniques were appropriate, how long the stimulation should be, etc. (emphasis mine)
In virtually every western style study I have seen, I have seen the use of electroacupuncture. There is practically no mention of needling technique. Is it any wonder, then, that results may be inconsistent?
Let’s go back to what I’ve been saying. Acupuncture is being studied in the west as a PILL and not as a PROCEDURE. Jesus Christ if I had a nickel for every time I’ve tried to hammer that into skeptics’ brains I’d be rich. Let’s explain further. You can prick and get a moderate effect, or you can needle properly, get the achieved qi sensation and increase your success rate. Can this qi sensation be obtained with massage alone? Yes. But it’s much harder.
It was once said (I forgot where I read it – I think it was from a Maciocia book) that “the meridians are like strings, the body the instrument, and the acupuncturist the player”. If the musician is lousy, does that mean that the musical instrument is inherently bad? Just because your next door neighbor can’t play the piano to save his life does that mean we should discount pianos altogether?
The Yellow Emperor’s Medical Classic, or Huangdi Neijing, is clear on this. When needles are inserted proper needling sensation must be obtained. The problem these days is that “acupuncturists” just follow the book (bypassing proper diagnosis) on point selection, then stick needles without performing proper technique (how would you know what technique to use if you didn’t diagnose right?) and then ignore proper technique and just hook the patient up to some machine that tries to do your work for you?
Show me an acupuncturist who knows how to modulate the qi sensation using proper manipulation and I’ll show you someone with a long line of satisfied patients.
And for the Nth time – study acupuncture as a PROCEDURE, not a PILL.
Now where’s my nickel?