When is a “Cold” not Just a Cold?

Ms. C. is a thirty-seven year old woman, who called me about four months ago seeking relief from persistent pain and dysfunction of her right hand, which made her work difficult. She came for an appointment, and reported having received treatment for neck pain and nerve root impingement causing pain and dysfunction of the arm (radiculopathy). Her neck and arm symptoms had improved after three months of physical therapy and chiropractic treatments, yet her hand stiffness and pain remained. Ms. C. worked as an R.N., and said that she considered her hand symptoms residual from her neck ailment because they had started at the same time.

I examined Ms. C’s hand and neck, and inquired about other pains. I learned that she had knee and hip pain — especially on the left, which had grown rather severe during the past several months. I read her pulses and palpated some points. I looked up at her from where I sat at her feet, and told her that I didn’t think her current hand pain came from her recent history of neck pain. My diagnostic efforts led me to suspect arthritis of inflammatory cause, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Ms. C. finally allowed that her physician had done a special blood test (rheumatoid factor) that showed a mild positive. Was this a test?

The tests practitioners get from the Dào (道) are much larger than any we may get from people!

What were her embodied spirit’s blocks that had allowed the accumulation of pathogenic factors, which had eventually emerged in this condition? Practitioners of classical Chinese medicine ask this question of the Dào (道) as it works within the microcosm of an individual’s physiology, and probe the embodied spirit to stimulate transformation. After more examination, I discerned accumulation in the yangming zone channel divergence, and devised an acupuncture treatment to address that blockage.

Two weeks later Ms. C. returned for a follow-up session, and reported only mild “nuisance” pain in her right hand. Indeed, she noted that all of her joint pains were much improved. I questioned her more carefully, and learned that she’d had what she considered a “bad flu” a couple days after her first treatment. She noted, “It was strange because my joints didn’t hurt at all when I was sick.”

Strange, indeed. Ms. C. received a total of five treatments during a period of slightly more than two months. Each treatment was conceived to probe and stimulate her embodied spirit to address a slightly different aspect of her physiological blocks, and I suggested she make some changes in her relationship with food based on my evaluation. To her credit, Ms. C. recognized the exacerbating influence of certain foods after I pointed out what to look out for, and she made the necessary changes. By the time of her last treatment nearly two months ago, Ms. C. felt no pain.

We discussed her indicator symptoms, how they could help her maintain this degree of wellness, and she discontinued coming for acupuncture treatments. Easy as I’ve grown with the familiarity of such results, even I found the following synchronicity a little surprising:

The day after I started writing this posting, and completely out of the blue, Ms. C. called me to report on her good fortune. She reported being completely pain-free without taking any anti-inflammatory medicines or pain relievers. She even rejoiced in being able to run around playing soccer with her children. We briefly discussed her indicator symptoms, and she reported having no difficulty maintaining the lifestyle (dietary) changes she had made while she was receiving treatments.