I’ve been working out more this week and getting up at 5 AM a few times to do it. Everyone I talked to said I was going to be all perky from working out in the morning. I’m not a morning person so I doubted that. But, I was shocked at how horrible I felt. I was exhausted. It was more exhaustion than should have happened from getting up at the break of dawn or from the workouts I was doing. I was also having a hard time eating. I just didn’t want to eat at all. I figured not eating wasn’t helping the exhaustion so I was force feeding myself smoothies when I just couldn’t imagine eating solid food.
I could explain to myself why I didn’t want to eat based on my traditional Chinese medicine training. My constitution type is Earth. When Earth people are stressed most of us overeat to relax. But some, like me, shut down and don’t eat. So I understood it. That was my body reacting to stress but I couldn’t figure out why I was stressed enough to be reacting this severely.
Tonight while I was picking at my dinner I had a cosmic smack upside the head giving me the answer. I tend to run a little (ok, a lot) qi-deficient on a good day. In the past few months, I’ve moved, juggled 2 jobs while commuting for hours on end, and so forth. I bet that dropped my qi level even more. This week was the final straw. The little extra stress pushed me past the point that I could compensate so I was exhausted which made me stop eating. Great. So I can fix that.
I got my acupuncture needles out and put them in a good qi generating point in my legs. I also needled another leg point with good systemic effects. Then I hooked up my electroacupuncture unit and treated myself for 30 minutes from 8:30- 9:00 PM.
So at 10:00 PM I settle down in bed. I can’t sleep. I think, “Why am I not tired?” Then I think, “Oh………. I just majorly stimulated my energy centers right before I wanted to go to sleep.” Then, my stomach started to growl.
This is why I am a moron. Should have waited until the morning to do this and then I would be asleep now instead of writing blog posts in the middle of the night. But at least I’m on the right track and the treatment is working. For the next few weeks after a workout I need to come home and put needles in the qi centers to work on building myself back up.
Last week I saw a male Dachshund who had had spinal surgery 4 weeks earlier. He hadn’t regained any function since surgery. He’s paralyzed and unable to urinate on his own. I treated him with acupuncture and told him to come back in a week.
Today was his next appointment. We asked the owner if he was any better. She sort of hemmed and hawed and then said, “There is one thing…”
This nice unneutered male dog has become “interested” in the world again. I fixed erectile dysfunction! I told the owner that we would probably be much more excited about that if we were male. I called my male boss to tell him and he was much impressed. LOL
He does have stronger reflexes in the back legs too so we might be able to get a little function back.
The latest buzzword in veterinary medicine is “evidence based medicine.” Whenever I see it I cuss and sputter. The implication is that any treatment that hasn’t been tested through multiple double blind studies published in big journals isn’t valid.
I don’t care if I don’t understand the scientific reasoning behind the treatments I use. If they work in my hands for my clients then I don’t care if elves riding unicorns sprinkling fairy dust out of their horns is the cause. (Actually that would be very cool!)
Besides, most of the people screaming that everything needs to be evidence based don’t care how much evidence you show them. If it doesn’t fit their preconceived notion of proper medicine (read that as drugs) then all the evidence in the world won’t appease them.
Thousands of studies on acupuncture published in Chinese? Doesn’t count.
Histories of effective use of specific herbal formulas for hundreds of years? Anecdotal
The fact that there are gazillions of Chinese people who are alive and well from these treatments? Not relevant
At the beginning of this year the evidence based folks on a committee overseeing continuing education credits revoked the approval for many of the holistic veterinary medicine courses in the U.S. Nothing had changed in these previously approved courses. The board just didn’t like that they weren’t “evidence based.” In retaliation the center that I studied acupuncture through made up a course called “Evidence Based Acupuncture.” They told us about it the weekend of the final. At that point in my life I was responding to all new info by sticking my fingers in my ears and humming so I ignored it.
Then two days ago the sneaky little $%=&(s sent me an email. For all of us who took the spring acupuncture course and were therefore affected by the lack of CE approval, we can take the new course – FOR FREE. It is 27 hours online.
Well, for free you just about have to, don’t you? I’m supposed to get online access to it today. Smart of them to give us two weeks for our brains to recover from the stress of the final exams before reeling us back in. I was wondering what to my with myself between appointments now that I wasn’t studying nonstop. I guess I have my answer.
Freckles has the itches. Every other dog I see this time of year has the itches and I totally sympathize with owners who just want it to stop so they can sleep through the night.
Usually I can stop it but not for Freckles. She’s had steroids and benedryl and special fancy schmancy Chinese herbal blends and all natural organic food. She still itches all the time. I have currently been treating it by yelling at her to, “STOP IT!”
(I have psoriasis and am often scratching while yelling at her to stop. I don’t miss the irony. I have a feeling she doesn’t either.)
I’ve even taken her collar off so I don’t hear the tags jangling when she itches.
This morning I was watching a lecture on acupuncture for skin disease. I know this exists but Miss Drama Queen screamed and cried last time I did acupuncture on her so I haven’t tried. Inspired by my lecture I went to see her on the couch. She was tired. I asked nicely and then started stabbing. To my shock and amazement she let me without a whimper. I had four in her head and one in her back. Under the Bed Dog was horribly jealous that she didn’t get whatever Freckles was getting and generally made a nuisance of herself.
Once they were placed we sat on the couch to let them cook. Freckles went back to sleep. Then about 10 minutes later she got up, went to the middle of the room, and shook. Needles went flying! She jumped back on the couch with a very satisfied glance at me. I went and got on my hands and knees looking for needles since I have a 1 year old human visiting this weekend.
There is an absolutely amazing magic trick that you can do when you learn acupuncture in horses. You can run a needle cap or a pen cap over a pattern of acupuncture points and they will flinch where the points are sore. The points on the scan correspond to joints. If the horse is sore on the joint then he will react on the scan. If you haven’t ever tried to figure out where a horse is sore before you may not understand how incredibly amazing this is. People who are good at this can figure out a lameness in a few minutes standing in a barn aisle with a horse. Traditional lameness diagnosis can require multiple trotting exams, flexion tests, nerve blocks, xrays, and on and on.
Many good horse acupuncturists don’t want to be told what the problem is before doing the scan since the history can be confusing and it just looks really cool when you can tell the people what the horse’s problem is. You can really up your wow factor by finding a sore spot, placing a needle at the appropriate spot, and immediately scanning the sore spot again and having the horse not be sore any more.
The only problem is – I can’t do it. I have a limpy gimpy horse. She won’t react on a scan. She has a gimpy pasturemate who also just looks at me when I scan him. I took an extra (I call it remedial) scan class at the last session to see what the problem was. Turns out that I am scanning correctly but I was being way too gentle. They told me to go home and push steadily harder on Prize until she reacted to see what level of pressure I had to apply. So I did that this morning with her and her pasture buddy. Nada. I told them both that that better mean that they are perfectly pain free and not just that they are ignoring me. I’m not sure if they were limping or not. It sounds strange but they turn into statues when I go there. Will not walk. I could go get a halter and drag her to the barn and make her move but I was lazy. I also had an appointment.
I was going to a friend’s house to see her horse. He has a history of being explosively bad at times. He once broke bones in a spectator at a horse show. That takes a special level of bad. He is very sweet until he goes off. He is going to a clinic in a few weeks to work on his issues. His farrier recommended chiropractic. So I went to see him.
He did have some major back stiffness. I adjusted that out and then scanned him for practice. He flinched over the front of his pelvis. I hugged him. I was so excited that I did it! I was even more excited when he was painful on the same place on the other side. This is why I have to practice on friend’s animals first. Regualr clients won’t just write off my yelling, “He’s Sore!!!! I did it!!!” and hugging the horse as part of my normal craziness.
He was very hard to needle. His muscles over the pelvis were so stiff and tight that I could barely get needles into him. I decided to go to the place on the feet where the bladder meridian (and runs along the back) ends and open it from there. That was ok on one side but he wasn’t having it on the side that was the most sore. The bladder meridian starts on the inside corner of the eye. So I went there on that side. He didn’t mind a needle hanging off his face as much. Strange horse.
After the treatment he did not react on the scan on the left side. His reaction was diminished on the right (more sore) side.
Yesterday I took my new electroacupuncture unit to work for the first time. I work with some strange folk so it was no surprise that they were lining up to be the test subjects for me to use the machine.
The first person has severe scoliosis and always has back pain. I’ve needled her before. She is also multi-pierced and tattooed so she doesn’t whine when I stick her with needles. Once you place the needles then you hook the electrodes to a pair that you want the electric to run back and forth between. This can be used to open up the pathway between areas. Then you turn up the power to a point between “I can feel that” and “Ouch”.
Everyone who came upon us while she was hooked up was first surprised and then mimed cranking up the dials. They are a sweet bunch. By the end of the day I had worked on two staff people and a vet.
I also did one dog. He happened to come in with a leg injury right when I was feeling comfortable with the machine and I wanted to try it on a dog. He was interesting because he had strained a ligament and they happened to mention that his eye sometimes got bright red. This is where I haven’t figured out how to approach things yet. In Western medicine those are unrelated problems. In Chinese medicine that is expected. I haven’t figured how to approach these explanations especially in clients who aren’t seeking out alternative medicine specifically. Normal medical discussions tend to get mangled when what the client heard me say gets repeated to another vet. None of the other vets in my practice understand this system of thinking so I know it would be a “She said WHAT?” situation. This morning I worked out a script in my mind for a quick and simple explanation for the next time I get in this situation.
“When the ancient Chinese doctors were developing their system of medicine, they divided all the parts of the body into five groups and named them after a major organ. Tendon and ligaments and the eye both belong to the Liver group. If a dog has a weakness in one member of the group they can be prone to having a weakness in other members of the group.”
If they are interested I can elaborate. If they are backing slowly towards the door, I can shut up!
(I looked at the dog’s eye to make sure they was no obvious problem and then added some needles to a major liver point on the foot.)
When we practice at these classes we use animals who have easily visible anatomy. That means we use greyhounds in dog lab since we can count their ribs easily. It gets hard then when I go home and my patients are all fat labs who don’t have ribs.
In horse class we use mostly Arabs who are doing endurance so they are very fit. I go home and look at fat horses who have none of the landmarks. Yesterday I was waiting for lab to start and saw a demo horse walking over to another group far across a field. It was a little pinto pony. I love ponies. I want to hug them until they squish. Ponies don’t share my enthusiasm for this activity but too bad. That would have been enough to make me happy if she was our demo horse but there was more.
She had a baby with her.
I believe I made vague choking sounds and pointed. The rest of my group looked and melted. They were most very cute and we would have learned nothing if they had been our demo horses because we would have been saying, “So cute!” over and over.
We started working on our Arab when the horse for the group next to us walked up. He was a Gypsy Drum Horse who are large pinto draft-type horses. This one was also fat. He may have had ribs but that’s just an assumption. That’s what my patients look like. To make it better his name was Pop Tart.
Wow, you can really spend some money here. First you pay tuition and then you fly here and stay in a hotel and rent a car. Then you come in and see a very nice little display of stuff to buy. There are books and charts and herbs and teas and more. All you have to do is fill out a little form and put it on a pile. Then when you come back at the next break there is a nice little bag with your name on it like magic.
You know what makes it really easy? On the form it says, “Check this box if we already have your credit card on file.” Why, yes, you do. Check.
So far I’ve bought an electroacupuncture unit (fun for shocking friends and family!), a bag of herbs that sounded cool, and a book all with the magic checkmark.
I’m flying to FL tomorrow for my next acupuncture class. I don’t feel prepared. They are going to ask me review questions that I don’t know the answer to. I haven’t reviewed my horse points enough. Oh well. I hope I have the same lab group. We are happy being slackers together.
I remember from the last time that my brain was absolute mush every night. I slept from the time I got back to the hotel until it was time to get up and do it again. I’m not looking forward to mental exhaustion again! That’s the price of pounding information in your brain.
I may get an electrical acupuncture unit so I can start wiring up my patients. That should be fun. I’ll have to try it on the SO first.
I’ve been studying my fool head off, stuffing information into any free nook and cranny in my brain. My brain is now full. Unfortunately there is more info that needs to be stuffed in.
I got back to FL next week for the next session. That hasn’t had room to sink into my brain yet either. I’ve been using my acupuncture a bunch though!
My mother had a bad cough and was hurting when she coughed. She said it was a specific place on her shoulder blade. When I looked at her back there was a bright red mark on her skin in the area where it hurt. That’s odd. So I put a needle above, below, left and right of it. The skin where the needles were turned the same bright red. Over the next few minutes the red area started to go back to normal color except for two red lines pointing at her shoulder. In a conversational tone she said, “It is really interesting how it moves.”
“How what moves?”
I made her explain herself. Turns out that the pain was gone from the shoulder blade and was moving up to her shoulder. Then it moved down to her elbow. I told her that if an evil spirit dribbled out of her fingertips, I was starting an exorcism business. It got stuck at her elbow and we were super tired so I didn’t move the needles. She feels fine now.
Turns into a hedgehog when I try to needle her – feet tucked under her body. Body curled up to protect her legs. Any exposed back points that get needled makes her very very sad.
She has an icky ear. It isn’t a bacterial infection because I’ve cultured it. It won’t clear up with cleaning and topicals. Steroids don’t help. It stinks!! Sometimes she cries if you touch it.
In the acupuncture course they talk a lot about herbs to compliment the therapy. I put her on an herbal formula called Ear Damp Heat. It took a while to get her to eat it consistently. Canned food is the key. She’s been getting a partial dose for a couple weeks. It still looks icky but the smell is gone! It doesn’t hurt her either.
I’m treating an 8 year old giant breed dog who had elbow surgery in 2009. There were complications post-op. She’s never been totally right since. After her first treatment she was perkier than I’d ever seen her. The owner said people who didn’t know she had any acupuncture were commenting on how good she looked. She’s getting periodic treatment to keep her happy. She’ll never move totally normally but she’s happier.
I’ve used it a lot as an adjunct in other medical cases too. It is harder to tell in those cases what is actually helping.
They say the mind is the first thing to go. I never really understood. I had a mind like a steel trap. I never had to write things down. How could you forget when you had to do things?
I think middle age is starting to creep in. I still remember when I have to do things. But this year I’ve noticed that things are sneaking up on me with no warning.
For example, I have my next on site acupuncture class starting June 15. I know that. No problem. It is in June and June is a long time from now.
June is tomorrow! How did that happen? My class is in two weeks. Why didn’t anyone tell me?
In my brain it is still April. I’m not sure how I got reset to be running months behind.
Luckily I had this insight a few weeks ago and bought my plane tickets. But then I forgot again and it came as a shock to me all over again today.
I also was smart enough to put the date that I need to take my next online test on my phone calendar. Then, in acknowledgement of my slipping brain, I set a reminder (that the test date was coming up on June 6) scheduled for May 30 so it didn’t sneak up on me. That was smart since I knew when the last test was due but didn’t realize that it was that day until a few hours before it had to be turned in. But, when the reminder that said “Acupuncture test due 6/6” showed up yesterday I yelled at the phone. “It isn’t June 6th. What’s wrong with this thing? Why are you lying to me??” So much for trying to outsmart myself.
Tell me that it isn’t just me. Please tell that you are all insane also and that the planet is orbiting faster and days really are sneaking up on all of us.
I used to be able to run around all winter without a coat. Then a few years ago that suddenly stopped. I wish I remembered exactly when it was so I could figure out if there was a specific cause. But now I’m cold all the time.
According to Chinese medicine that’s a yang deficiency. Yang generates heat. When you are low in it, you are always cold. The acupuncture treatments for that involved points in the lower back. That’s all well and good but I can’t put needles in my own lower back. I’m not quite bendy enough to see what I’m doing. The other option is moxa. It is an herb that is made into cigar-like sticks. You burn it near the points and they get warm. We played with it a bit in lab and it was warm but it didn’t seem like anything amazing to me. But, I’m tired of being cold so I ordered some.
Last night I lit it and held it over the points on my lower back. It gets really warm so it felt like having a heat lamp pointing at my back. That was nice. I could have stood there all day but I didn’t want to waste the stick. So I snuffed it out and went to bed. That’s when I realized that I could still feel the warmth. It was like my muscles were warm and glowing. It was happy. I decided that I was going to be a moxa addict.
Now it is about 12 hours later and my muscles are still all glowy. Maybe this is what it is like to be normally warm and I’ve just forgotten. I’m totally going to be an addict now.
I tell you, you spend your life working on being a Good Dog, and look what happens. You’re lying on your couch, which you have ever so nicely shared with your human, minding your own business, when out of nowhere your human starts sticking needles into your head. (I should have known she was trouble when I first saw the little stuffed cow head that she sticks her sewing pins into. Poor cow). She goes off about how she heard a lecture today about skin allergies and she’s going to work on my ear. I’ll have you know that my ear is just fine. She’s obsessed with it. Cleaning it all the time just when it gets good and stinky. I hate that. But this is over the top.
Look at that! Uncalled for. But since I’m a Good Dog I have to sit there are take it. Doesn’t mean I can’t give her Looks though. She tried to put a needle in my paw too but I took that right out. Good Dog only allows a human so many liberties.
She also mentioned that she ordered me some “herbs” too. I don’t know what that is but they best come wrapped in some cheese is all I have to say.
Before I went to the hands-on acupuncture class last week, I went to the barn and practiced finding points on Prize. This caused the barn owner to double over in laughter at the thought of me trying to put needles in my dearly beloved pony.
Ok, sure, she once slammed me into a wall for taking blood from her. Yeah, and she once stomped another vet’s bag into the ground because she saw him pull a needle out of it. She’s also a Fire Horse. In Chinese medicine that means that she is highly emotional and prone to having fits. In my words she is likely to have a fit of the vapors whenever things don’t go her way. Yes, she’s Scarlett O’Hara in the flesh.
I figured it might be worse if I tied her up because she doesn’t really believe in cross-ties. I put her in the arena loose with some hay to keep her busy. She didn’t want the hay. She wanted to play with my bag of stuff which she picked up by the bottom of the bag – all the better to dump it out and sift through it.
I took a deep breath and just went for it.
No problem. I fed her a treat after each needle to reinforce that this was a good thing. I put four in her legs. She wandered around a bit. The barn owner came out and was amazed by the fact that she had needles in. But, she got bored in a few minutes and started getting mad that she was in and everyone else was outside. I pulled the needles instead of forcing her stand. I’ll go back later this week around suppertime when she is happy in her stall and put them in for longer now that I know it can be done.
I’ve been sticking needles into anyone and everyone who would hold still long enough for the last few days.
I started on the SO. I think he was a little scared of being my practice voodoo doll. He kept asking if there were any real scientific studies done of acupuncture. Poor boy. I had hours of lecture on scientific studies to quote him. I treated a general qi tonic by his knee first and then moved on to his face to open his sinsues. He loved the sinus one. It really helped him. When he got up he was a little wobbly. He said he was dizzy from getting so much oxygen to his brain. The next day he said that his knee felt like he had borrowed someone else’s knee. It turns out that that is a good thing. I didn’t even know he had a sore knee.
I tried my first canine patient who had a nasty tumor taken off last week. She was oozing blood from the incision. I tried an anti-hemmorrhage combination but it was dependant on counting ribs to find the right. This was a golden retriever who is 50 lbs overweight. I never found a single rib. I took a total guess. Didn’t seem to help so I guess I guessed wrong. 🙂
I did some b12 injections into the hip points on a lab whose owner didn’t really want to do anything for his arthritis unless there was a shot.
Then I had another lab with a weird degenerative joint problem in his spine. He has both pain and lost of balance in his hind legs. I put needles in one point on each side for low back pain. He sat with them in for 15 minutes. When I took them out and said he could go he spun around and took off out the door. He was falling when he was walking slow earlier. It may have been adrenaline or endorphins but he was better. He’s coming back for a recheck next week.
The worst thing I did was put some sample needles in a receptionist. He wanted to try it so I did some general tonic points. Only after I had them in did it dawn on me that I had just stimulated two energy increasing points on our drama queen ADHD receptionist. For the next two hours he was like a chipmunk on crack. “I FEEL GOOD LIKE REALLY GOOD GOOD DO YOU NEED ME TO WRITE THIS DOWN? IFEELGOOD….” Then he drank some coffee to calm down before we killed him.
I’m in Florida for session two of my acupuncture class. Session one was 22 hours of online lectures on theory. Yesterday started with two hours of review and then two hours of explanation of jing points which are powerful points on the legs that affect the whole body. There was a whole way to figure out what’s what but there is also a color coded chart that I prefer to just look at. Also small animals might rather eat you than let you work on these points on the toes. Those are my take home messages.
After lunch we were broken up into our lab groups. The students are either taking the small animal only track, the horse only track, or mixed animal like me. My lab group consists of five mixed animal people. We started with a horse and a teacher and learned to find 25 points. For the certification test we have to ID 20 points in each species. We have to point to it and give an anatomical explanation of how to find it. We have to learn this for hundreds of points that they will pick the twenty out of for the test. Brain overload.
Our horse was a very good sport. He was a 19 year old Arab who just stood there ground tied while we felt him all over. He got a needle at ST-1 when we all doubted it could be done. That is on the lower eye lid. He seemed surprised at first but then didn’t care.
Then we moved to the dog. We were using a greyhound. I love them. They just lay there like they are drugged and let you do whatever. Ours did get a bit miffed during the tick acupuncture session. She had a very small tick between her toes. The teacher had heard that if you stick a needle through a tick and rotate it counterclockwise three times then they will let go. We had acupuncture needles so we tried. It was a very small tick and easily bent needles so it didn’t work but the dog decided we were all nuts and tried to leave. She was persuaded to stay with a few treats and some belly rubs.
We got to put a few needles in her. She didn’t mind that at all. Sure, you can stick needles in her but pick on her favorite tick and she gets huffy….
Today is two hours of self needling techniques followed by lecture on chinese diagnosis. Then we are back to lab learning points after lunch.
I want to say something profound. Learning acupuncture has been a dream of mine for years. But as soon as I walked out of the last lab my brain shut down. I’ve been in a fog ever since. Total system overload and emergency shutdown sequence commencing…..
Will update later…..
But I did get to put a needle in a dog! She slept through it. Self-needling class is tomorrow AM. That’s much scarier.
I’m in week 4 of p90x. That is the first recovery week. There is no weight lifting this week. You do yoga, kenpo, core work, and stretching workouts. It is still an hour of working out a day.
I can’t stand it. I love weight lifting. I miss it. You’d think I would like a chance to take it easy but it isn’t turning out that way. I feel like a slacker and it is hard to motivate myself to get through the workouts. I find myself really wanting to cheat for the first time.
I’ve gained the weight I lost back which I don’t totally understand since my food habits aren’t different than last week.
In two days I start week five which is the beginning of phase two. The weight workouts are new. I think in this phase I need to really get a handle on my diet.
In other self-improvement news I’ve finished my first set of 22 lectures for the acupuncture course. I’m going to start reviewing key ones now. It is frustrating because I have enough knowledge now to identify good patients for acupuncture and to be able to name a few major points to use in each patient. That is totally unhelpful when I don’t know where those points are or know how to put needles in a patient. I go for my first hands on training in March.
I’ve started studying my acupuncture lectures. This means that I am now able to spout off random acupuncture facts at any given time. My coworkers are getting used to it. They just nod at me.
The first few lectures were hard to get through. The first was an overview of the course which hurt my brain with the vast amount of knowledge I’m expected to have at the end of next summer. Among other things like theory and diagnosis we are expected to learn 166 canine points and 251 horse points. Brain says, “Ow!! ”
The second lecture was history of acupuncture. I like history but watching an online lecture of ‘5000 years ago this Chinese vet learned this and then 1000 years later this happened’ was not interesting.
After that it got cool. It started on all the scientific studies. They keep mentioning in passing that acupuncture is used for facelifts. If they teach me that point it will be worth the price of admission right there.
I have 22 lectures to watch. Actually they are numbered one to twenty but I noticed that I have a lecture 14 and 15 about dogs and another set about horses because I am stupid an overachiever and signed up for the mixed animal specialty. I figured out yesterday that I can watch them on my phone at work. We don’t have internet here so I can use the computers. No one brings their dog in before Christmas unless it is dying so I have some time to kill. Now I can get smart and learn more facts to drop in conversation.*
*Did you know that if you do acupuncture on a dog and then draw blood from it and transfuse that blood into a second dog, the second dog will experience the painkilling effects of acupuncture? Does that make you wonder what scientists are smoking when they come up with ideas for studies?