Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chinese HBA Comes to Chicago Holistic Center

In addition to providing acupuncture at The Westside Health Authority, Dr. Wang, his colleagues and I also worked Wednesdays from 9 to 6 at Chicago Holistic Center on Fullerton in Lincoln Park. When I had my first meeting with Dr. Edelberg, the Medical Director, to discuss working there, I also mentioned I would be bringing over hospital trained acupuncturists from Liaoning Provincial Hospital to work with me.
Patients here presented with much more diverse symptoms than at Westside, which was good and bad. It was good in that I got to see more variety of cases as well as more difficult cases, addressed, and resolved by acupuncture techniques that I had never learned in school or in my ongoing studies. It was bad in that the increased patient volume and diversity did not lend itself to the multiple translations necessary both at intake, during treatment, and following treatment, 6 times in all. Two other considerations were that the Chinese Doctors were used to treating patients between 3 and 5 times a week, which accelerated resolution,and patients needed to be prepared for the Manchurian style of deep needling with heavy gauge needles.
In addition to relieving common neck, back, shoulder, knee pain and headaches,there were some difficult cases that I also remember. One was a 50-plus white male who, following a vasectomy, felt that he was being kicked in the testicles with every step he took. Exploratory surgery had been done in an attempt to locate and solve the problem, but to no avail. After many exchanges in Chinese and English between patient and Doctor, Dr. Yang to one thick, long needle and placed it quickly and deftly in Liver 5, known as "Termite Hole," on the inside of the right shin, and manipulated it for several minutes. He then withdrew it and asked the man to walk around the room. To the surprise of the patient and others in the room, his extreme discomfort was totally eliminated.

After 3 months of eliciting this and other remarkable responses, Dr. Yang's 70 plus year old stomach got tired of warm mild and hot dogs for lunch at Demon Dogs under the El Track next to our clinic. And with the prospect of Acupuncture's legal status not being decriminalized anytime soon in Illinois, the good doctors packed up their bags and returned to the friendlier shores of China.

The Awakening

My first taste of Hospital Based Acupuncture was at the hands of Dr. Yang, Senior Physician and Professor from Liaoning Provincial Hospital of Shen Yang,the Chinese Sister City to Chicago. He arrived with a translator, the Hospital Deputy Director, $30,000 in investment capital, and several suitcases of Herbs, textbooks and charts, to set up a school and clinic in Chicago in February of 1993. This was thanks to efforts of the daughter of the former mayor of Shen Yang, Jenny Guo, who had worked in my clinic in Oak Park, along with my Qi Gong teacher, Dr. Ma. Jenny's grandmother was doctor to the famed Empress Dowager of China, and had kept her healthy and beautiful into her 90's, and passed those secrets down to her granddaughter.
Although acupuncture was a Class 4 Felony in Illinois at the time, I naively,viewed that status as not detrimental to our conjoined efforts, and went blithely on my way to setting up a free acupuncture clinic in Austin, neighboring Oak Park, with the help of Jackie Reed head of the Westside Health Authority, who went around to the Black Churches of the neighborhood to raise a stipend to pay the good doctors and myself for the providing 2 shifts a week for the intervening 6 months. For a 6 pack of dark beer I got a neighbor to design a logo for the Austin Free Acupuncture Clinic, and we showed up 2 afternoons a week to see upwards of 20 patients and afternoon out of 2 rooms upstairs and the lobby downstairs at their WSHA headquarters on Division.

Having practiced and taught for 50 plus years in China, Dr. Yang's strenght's were many, put his specialty was diabetes, being a 3rd generation practitioner, any having set up and supervised many clinics around Shen Yang that averaged 90% plus effective rate for reversing Type II. So needless to say word got out at our Austin Clinic, and the most common cases we saw were diabetes and it's related symptoms, and arthritis, although pain anywhere in the body was also commonly treated, with great success.

What was interesting was that my first teacher, Dr. Yin Lun Han, was also from Shen Yang, and his family had an herbal pharmacy there. He had been taught herbs, tui na, and acupuncture by his grandfather and started practice when he was 18. Both of these master teachers of mine used the same Manchurian style of needles much thicker and longer than I had used in school, with much deeper insertion technique, and in fewer number. Sometimes they would put 2 or 3 needles in one point at the same time, and retain them for about 1/2 an hour. They also used dermal needles which remained on the points until the next visit.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Roundtable July 17

We will have our first roundtable to address challenges and opportunities on Sunday, July 17th, from 3 to 6 PM CST.