"Paradigms And Perspectives" or "Acupuncturists Are Not Psychics"

One of the most interesting things about becoming an acupuncturist in the West is that it changes the way you look at the world.

Each culture cross-references information in different ways. The way we tend to associate data with other data changes depending on (among other things) the cultural paradigm into which we are born.

This manifests in a million different ways. For instance, a grilled pork chop engenders different associations for a practising Jewish person than it does for an agnostic. That same pork chop will have different associations again for the person raised in a vegan commune.

Each culture has its dominant health/disease paradigm as well, which informs the associations we make between signs and symptoms.

For example: In the west, when most people think about low back pain they think about "muscle imbalances", "nerve impingement" and "vertebral sublaxation".

These associations arise for people who were born into a paradigm that emphasises the biomechanical/biochemical aspects of the human body.  This medical paradigm sees the body as complex machinery, and it cross-references information about the body based on demonstrable chemical or mechanical connections between the pieces of data. It's the paradigm I was born and raised in, as are most people in the west.

By contrast, the eastern cultural understanding of health and disease has traditionally emphasised the bioenergetic aspects of the human entity. As a result, the connections easterners typically draw between various signs and symptoms are significantly different to the connections westerners usually draw.

Thus, when an acupuncturist sees a patient with low back pain, they won't just consider the muscles and nerves involved. They will immediately begin to investigate the health of the patient's kidneys. Not the physical organ per se, but the health of the kidney's bio-energetic organ/meridian complex (essentially, the circuitry :)

In acupuncture theory, low back pain is often related to problems with the kidney energy. In turn, problems with the kidney energy often generate other signs and symptoms. The radial artery's pulsation will often take on a particular quality beneath the acupuncturist's fingertips. There will often be a configuration of muscular tonus in the abdomen that is characteristic of kidney issues. The patient may also be suffering from night sweats, or a hot feeling in their hands and feet, or waking at night to urinate, or impotence.

Such signs and symptoms are unrelated to each other in the western medical paradigm. In acupuncture theory, though, they are considered to be deeply connected.

Sometimes a patient will come to see me for a seemingly mundane issue like indigestion, and is surprised when I ask them if they have vivid dreams. Invariably they will ask: "How did you know that?"

Well, it wasn't because I was psychic. I just took the information the patient gave me, and pieced it together differently to how they or their doctor did. Because of my training, signs and symptoms mean different things to me than they do to an GP. Additionally, certain symptoms that your doctor might consider irrelevant are often critical to my diagnostic process.

I can provide a fresh perspective on your health problems. You might have decided long ago that a particular problem is "just something you have to live with" or "just how you are". It might not have to be that way!

If you live in Canberra, why not come and see what I can do to enhance your health? You might be surprised.

Book an appointment with me today! Just call 02 6241 6060.

Stay well,

Adam McIntosh

The Gentle Acupuncturist