'Clinical pearl' for Acu magazine late summer 2016 (a publication for practitioners from the British Acupuncture Council).

My clinical results have improved significantly over the years, and I believe a major contributing factor has been my development of physical touch. This started with tuina training, which I incorporate with most private patients (as opposed to multi-bed, where sadly there isn’t usually time). I have added to this some simple but powerful rocking and vibrating techniques I learned from Andrew Nugent-Head – something he refers to as ‘deep Qi’. Patients love this, and it’s especially useful in helping take people suffering from stress and anxiety into a progressively more relaxed state. 

There are various ways this can be done, but a typical example for someone with Kidney deficiency might be to:

1.       Needle BL-23 and KID-3 with the patient in a prone position.

2.       With the needles still in place, stand at the head end of the couch and place both hands flat on the upper back, either side of the spine.

3.       With arms straight but not locked, direct your body weight directly down towards the floor, and gently and steadily ‘bounce’ the hands, maintaining a comfortable pressure throughout. Try to engage your whole body in the movement rather than just using the arms and shoulders.

4.       After a few minutes, slowly come to a stop, and move to the patient’s right side, keeping your right hand in the same area and moving your left to the low back, just below the needles (or over DU-4 if you don’t have needles in place).

5.       Now slowly and subtly rock the patient forwards and backwards using both hands – think of the soothing motion of a train.

6.       After another few minutes, slowly bring the motion to a halt. 

7.       Finish by using the ‘bouncing’ motion again with the left hand on the low back.

Concentrate on consistency of motion and gradual transitions so as not to ‘break the spell’.  The longer you perform this technique, the more powerful the effect will be (I usually aim for around 15-20 minutes). With practice – especially if combined with regular qigong to develop hand warmth – it will become a deeply relaxing and restorative technique that will augment your acupuncture.

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