Recently a number of people have asked, “What would be the kind of problem one would bring to acupuncturist for treatment?” I hear the unspoken the question laying softly behind the one voiced, the one that goes “Don’t I need a reason, a diagnosis; a something to fix?”
Of course, most of us seek out doctors because of a hitch in our get-along, the wheel of our life seems to spin off true. Or something is constantly agitating for attention, and quite frankly we would rather put our focus and thoughts on something more interesting or delightful.
Our insurance influenced medical system has sliced us into diagnostic and treatment codes. Fit the box and move the peg on the meter of tests or run the risk being told, “you don’t have a problem,” and are sent away with a prescription for the latest selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. Just like as a culture we learned to adjust our lives to the regimented demands of factory culture, so too we have come to see ourselves as a diagnosis.
It is not that diagnoses are a problem; they are a useful tool. They tell the physician where and how to pay attention, what kind treatment to provide and how to best intervene on the behalf of the patient. Not a doctor worth their salt would skip this essential part of medical practice. Where the rub comes in is when a person’s symptoms do not sort neatly into the jigsaw puzzle of conflicting signs and symptom patterns.
I’ve had more than a few patients say “I do not have a diagnosis” As the conversation unfolds it turns out they don’t dare tell their docs about the weird feeling in the throat, or how they have trouble with certain foods, or how they just feel out of sorts, but can not put it into a succinct description.
“I don’t have a diagnosis.”
It is another way to say “I’m not quite sure just what is going on with me.” And this is where Chinese medicine really shines, because we are looking at a person’s overall condition. All those odd feelings, sensations and can not put your finger on it distress. In Chinese medicine, we often have words for just those very things. Not only words, but ways to effectively treat as well.
So, you do not need a diagnosis to come visit a Chinese medicine doctor. Truth be told, we put those on the sidelines anyway as we draw from an entirely different map of physiology.