onsdag 20 april 2011

Training chinese medicine diagnostics through looking at people in an airport

Sitting here. Airport. Tired. Late; cup of coffee next to me, half-drunk. The coffee, not me.

The airport is half-lit, dusk filling it and darkness lying across the coloured pearl-bands of the concourses. Here in the restaurant, people are talking lower, everything is slower. 1930 soon. My flight is still a good while away.

Part of classical chinese medicine is to look at people. The goal is to be able to do a basic diagnosis within five-ten seconds. If it´s a patient, you then keep on with questions, pulse-taking, and checking the tounge to do a more precise diagnosis. In most Chinese hospitals, another doctor often checks the diagnosis too before treatment commences.

Once you have been taught how to read people and their systems for diagnostic clues, you often are told to sit in cafés, train-stations or airports and just look at those walking by, to get a huge number of people to practice on. Most acupuncture doctors at hospitals in China have a long bench out in the hall. This is full, all day: then they go home. There are often so many patients that the bench never really empties. This means that they get an incredible diagnostic experience, compared to most Western acupuncturists who at most often treat 8-10 people in one day.

So, I look at people. Have done, for the last decade. Lots. You learn to do it, then you learn to hate it. You can´t really turn it off. But if you practice you become very good at seeing people´s basic diagnosis and problems in a couple of seconds. If you´re going to treat them you must do more diagnostics than that, but it´s good training for diagnostic skills.

Air-planes. SAS, Polske Linie Lotnicze. Air France. Small cars that weave in and out, like soldiers around the feet of Hannibal´s army of elephants.

In old China, doctors were kept on retainer, paid for as long as the patient was healthy.

In another corridor I can see worn and bent figures walking through white neon lights. They look like a march of refugees, not eager travellers. Maybe we all have become refugees of a sort now, since the world is being taught by government propaganda to be full of terrorist danger everywhere. It has been a principle of government since Roman times: create a danger outside the group, and you will weave the group itself tighter. Create a war, a danger, threat, and you can run government with much less questions, since the threat is against all citizens, and who can argue with you protecting the citizens? If you do, might you not be siding with the terrorists?

If the patient´s health failed despite listening to the advice and treatments, the retainer was cancelled until they were healthy again.

Illness in a person can be seen on a 1-100 scale. Western medicine deals mostly with 70+ on that scale, sometimes 80+, when an illness has become serious and affects the whole system, the whole person, deeply. With some things there, it works incredibly well, with great skill and great knowledge. Chinese medicine mostly works with 1-70. It can work above that, but has less skill in it. It has, however, some incredible skills and knowledge in 1-70, often making problems never reach the 70+ scale, and keeping good health and vibrant presence in life alive, alive continually.