Traditional Chinese Medicine

At Long Last…

I should have written this post 1/2 year ago. The studies were becoming very intensive. With work and travel, I found it difficult to update on my learning progress and my thoughts here. So what has been happening in my journey to become a veterinary acupuncturist?

Well, after a bunch of self- directed TCVM online lectures, I went down to Florida and joined other vets in practicing the art of locating acupuncture points on dogs. That was an interesting experience. There were about 100+ of us, most of them from all over USA, a few from all over the world. Some have had quite a bit of practice and were there to finally get themselves certified. We had morning lectures and the afternoons were spent in small groups with dedicated instructors to guide us on locating acu- points.

Most of the groups had greyhounds. This brought back memory of vet school, where greyhound was the standard breed for us to study anatomy, due to their well- defined muscle and I suppose, in a darker sense, many of them were discarded once their racing career is over.

Luckily at this course, most of the greyhounds were former rescues and belonged to the instructors or were patients who volunteered their time to be with us. The instructors would explain a point, discussed its anatomical location and its functions, then pointed it out on the dogs’ bodies. Every student had a turn touching each point on the dogs, who lay patiently on the table, waiting until the day was over. The end of the day was where we shower them with pats and treats.

What does an acupuncture point feels like? Apparently it depends, while one could usually find a point through knowing the anatomical markers, this only brings you to close proximity to the point of interest. According to the instructors, it could feel like a little divet in the tissue, or an area of slight protrusion. Some people feel heat, and some of the acupuncturists said they could actually see colour changes in the points. It was kind of freaky. You should not need to put any pressure on a point to detect it. The idea is that when you lightly touch with your finger in the vicinity, your touch should feel the slight change in the texture of a particular point. I looked at my classmates, all of us trained by the logics of Western scientific method. Does this make sense to them?

“Oh my god, I felt something!” A girl in my group proclaimed after she placed her finger on the first acu-point we were learning. She said she felt a pulsation of energy rush into her finger tip. A few minutes later, another girl said she felt a difference in temperature between an acu- point and surrounding tissue. Me? I felt nothing. At most, if I concentrate very hard and really focus on the sensation at my finger tip, I might feel a slight difference in the texture of the tissue. It was a bit frustrating to feel so slow. Perhaps I am just not intuitive for this kind of thing?

“Don’t worry. Everyone is different.” The reason why every person have a different sensation when touching the acu- point, the instructor explained, was that everyone has a different energetic signature and it depends on how his/her energy interact with the Qi coming from the acu- points. I just need to practice and practice, figuring out how a point will feel to me specifically. Sounds like hocus pocus? It cannot be. My instructor had been a practicing veterinarian of the Western medicine for 20 + years before she started incorporating acupuncture into her tool box of treatments. She works in major emergency hospitals, using conventional medicine as well as TCVM equally to treat her patients. Many patients were brought here from thousands of miles away to be treated with TCVM. The art of TCVM is just waiting for the scientific research to catch up, to understand why it works.

After learning about 60 points in the dog, we were told to go home and practice on our own pets and patients. “Otherwise you’d forget.” It was a daunting thought. Will they allow me? Will I accidentally harm them? Well… that will be my next post : )

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