I am looking through my acupuncture notes from last week to catch up with all my experiences! By the way the room Dr Bai worked from was the cleanest rooms I’ve been in so far in the hospital. Still, I can’t get over some of the treatments I’ve seen. I’ve brought it up with my class mates and the only response I seem to get is that “she gets results, but it would be totally unacceptable in Australia.”
Here are some of the cases I’ve seen treated:
A benign brain tumour operation that lead to an internal bleed and some brain injury and paralysis
Emotional issues of a 16 year old psychotic
Facial Paralysis (Bells Palsy)
Bone Spurs of the spine
Pain of the neck and back
Scoliosis of the Spine
And also patients from Europe for example.
After seeing the first treatment I reported, and also grown men holding hands with one whimpering in pain, I knew I was in for a wild ride.
Hopefully in this update I can describe some treatments that stuck with me and give you and overview of Dr. Bai’s treatment theories and general procedures and set up.
I guess one patient that remains with me was the guy who was wheeled in and out on a hospital bed every other day. He was a miserable bastard, but I guess rightly so as he had endured 14 treatments by the time I’d seen him and he was in a lot of pain. He was a permanent patient in the hospital for the time being because of a benign brain tumour operation that had lead to an internal bleed. This had stopped his speech and paralysed him down his right side and left him with a very vicious looking chunky scar on the left side of his head above the eye to the ear.
However when I saw him he was speaking and moving his arm and he went for and assisted walk after his last treatment.
At one point he was whimpering with pain and he received a timely slap to the forehead to placate him by Dr Bai.
Anyway the remarkable and poignant reason I remember him was that he was a Western medicine trained Chinese surgeon previously working in the same hospital. He sought out acupuncture for assistance with recovery.
What I witnessed not only made my blood curdle, but my stomach churn and my legs wobble.
The general standard procedure for patients was guasha, warm needle, fire needle, regular needling and electro and/or moxibustion. Due to his weak disposition he wasn’t given guasha…
The first technique was acupuncture from warm needle technique. The tungsten needle was flashed over heat but not reddened. Then needling of four points to five points across the spine of the bladder points was done from the top of the spine to the bottom. Then arm and warm needle along the right thigh and leg to the foot. The usual points done were:
And then other points according to the diagnosis.
Once this was done by the assistant Dr Bai would come along and begin some fire needling. This was when the tungsten needle was reddened with heat before being “invited into the skin”. This was over mainly the same points as before. However some would be added. Heart 1 for example. This is in the centre of the arm pit. I can only describe what I saw. The red hot needle was deeply gauged at this very sensitive area. The arm was lifted high for further penetration. Seeing an adult man’s face grimaced up when he twists around in pain while holding his ancient Chinese mum’s hand was really awful to witness. It was brief though.
These willow trees outside are beautiful.
After this key point and some more on the leg we had finished fire needle. Next was the regular needle. I guess I was surprised. I thought through and through technique wasn’t real and we had only speculated about it in the class room. This is were a needle is threaded through one part of the body to the next. This was done for this patient at PC6 and TE5, just above the wrist crease, through from one side of the arm to the other. Then again on KD 3 and BL 60 at the ankle. I couldn’t stop looking at the sharp end of the needle sticking out of the body at KD3. It was horrible and my poor stomach had already flipped at the first needling point! I felt sorry for the patient who had difficulty moving and the pointy end of the needle was dragging against the bed cloth making it very painful as he struggled for comfort. Phew. Another through and through which Dr Bai does a lot, which I didn’t see fortunately, is LR3 to KD1. This too was a surprise as I had never thought of this and KD 1, on the sole of the foot, is possibly one of the most painful areas to needle.
Following on from this comes the electro acupuncture. With the regular needles inserted electrodes are crocodile clipped to them. A machine that provides a small current of electricity to the area is then used. Due to the number of needles used it wasn’t rare to see three needles to one clip! A practice I would never have considered prior to coming here as one needle getting a current always seemed to be maximum tolerance for a patient back home!
After the head and leg were wired up the intensity of the electro could be clearly seen. The muscle spasms to his right thigh and foot were so large he could have kicked a football to the ceiling.
Anyway his recovery is speeding along with the walking attempt I mentioned before. Hopefully my attitude isn’t read as dismissive or derogatory. Recalling the treatment it just all seems so shocking and barbaric. However the results seem to progress well with returning patients and accolades. I guess Western treatments of chemotherapy and so on can be just as barbaric and disgusting.
However there was always a lot of good spirit, social interaction, talking about treatments and a general positive attitude present. All patients expressing great thanks for treatments.
If I am honest I’m glad I’m only there for a week. Due to some timetable rescheduling I may have some more experiences there though. So I will be able to catch up with previous patients. More coming!