Sunday, June 10, 2018


Our Post Anesthesia Care Unit has 3 Stages: Pre-Surg.; Post Surg.Phase I; Post Surg. Phade II. Phase I patient come back from surgery to be managed before returning to inpatient care.  Phase II  are in step-down for discharge in 6 to 8 hours. Our mission was described as managing both groups for Pain and Nausea, using optional acupuncture as a means to be able to influence the reduction of the strength, dosing frequency and duration of pain medication following surgery.

Prety straight forward. We had worked out protocols over the last 7 years downstairs in the Pain Management Clinic. Treating Head, Neck, Back, Shoulder, Hip, Knee Ankle & Abdomnal Pain. Resuliing from the trauma of GSW's, Stabbing, Beating, Burning, MVA's and Surgery. Down there we used needles. Up here in PACU we mostly use Ear Seeds (quick and non-invasive). Three weeks in we are seeing significant VAS Pain Reduction.

Here's what else we are treating with Ear Seed Stimulation:  Low Blood Pressure, Low Respiration Rate, Slow Return to Conssiousness, Depression, Hysteria. Plus Pain and Nausea. And my last case of the week was Pre-Surg. Treating to prevent nausea following surgery. I will know tomorrow how that worked. That's what Acupuncture can mean in PACU.  Lower dose pain meds less frequently. Bingo.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018


He was young, big, burly, and Hispanic (you expected something different?) Legs shackled, wrists manacled ( so tight he couldn't pick his nose if he had too). He had busted his arm up breaking someone elses jaw. Resulting in a plate and screws in his right forearm. And an opportunity to get stuck with needles for the pain, limited movement, and loss of strength. Bottom line is that for both of us, this is worth the possibility of turning one less junkie out on the street.

First needle was Gall Bladder 34, opposite leg. He whimpered a tad. Second was the Zhu Scalp Point above the left eyebrow, and back a few inches. Call it distraction. Or whatever. But the point is that in addition to less forearme pain, where the hardware was installed, he had more mobiity, instantlly, and increased finger strength. Call me "pisher", as my second ex-wife would say. But back to Juan. And his 2 burly guards, heavily laden with restraining, maiming and killing tools of their profession.

Because, although it is important that Juan finds a better alternative than opiates for his pain, his angst, his boredom at not being swooped up to make a meanful contribution to society (at least not just yet), it's the guards that count here.  It reminds me of the story of this guy pushing a wheelbarrow full of straw across the border. And the border guards (how appropriate) riffle through the straw every trip, to detect what he is smuggling. Finally, after the umpteenth time, he finally tells them what he is smuggling, after cutting them in on the deal. Wheelbarrows. Smuggling wheelbarrows right under their sunburnd noses. The point being that it's the guards that are really the story here. Whether it's boredom, a free get-out-of-jail card, or curiosity, it is on their backs that this revolution in prison care will be carried,

And Juan keeps on coming back. Weekly. Three visits now. But who's counting.


Monday, May 21, 2018


Ben/Biao. Roots and Branches. Causes and Symptoms. The symptoms were sciatica down the left leg.. It started after her back surgery.  Five years ago. She had a breakout of shingles following surgery. From her hip to her ankle. Ben. Inflaming the sciatic nerve. Biao. Heat. What do you do to cool heat? Bleed.

The points? The tip of the ear. The apex. I used a lancet and then squeezed a few drops of blood from it. The other point, Governing Vessel 14. The intersection of all the Yang Meridins. Again, pricked with a lancet and squeezed a few drops of blood out. Relief. After 5 years of suffering. Cooling heat. Inflammation. Restoring functkon.

 Without drugs. Without side-effects. I learned the technique from a Korean Acupuncturists in the Western burbs years ago whose name I forget. Two days after the first patient I saw another patient with the same problem. And used the same solution. It worked. Thank you Seoqsa!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

No Pain, to Cane

This was another of those patients I have been treating for awhile for his back pain and leg pain with routine care. It would work for a while. Then he would come limping back. No real breakthroughs. No significant, sustainable improvements. My silent question tickling the back of my throat is in those instances, "How good can you stand it? I speak for both of us.

As I stared at his smooth, cloesely shaved know by now what was running through my silver-coifed cerebellum.  Why haven't I asked him if he would like to try scalp acupuncture? So I gave him the usual advantages. I allows us, real-time, to see how it's working, since he can use the the affected part of the body because, rather than pocupine peppering the affected area, rookie style, we are going up to the CPU to do a software fix. Reprograming operating systems that drive the hardware. His muscular/skeletal hardware. Reminding him that software operates hardware. And we were needling over that part of the brain that operates the affected part of the body. With the bonus that we would get immediate feedback how the rewrite was working, Kind of like an instantaneous neuroplasticity patch. Installing modified drivers to help improve affected back and leg function, along with simultaneous pain reduction.

The the first round of needle insertion in the Zhu points, and mindful "bucket down the well" stim, allowed him to get up caneless, and do the stroll down the central corrider, while the Attendings, Fellows and Nurses clapped their ears muttering "La, La, La, La, La, too much information!" (just kidding, not that overt).  Rather "Oh no here comes Yurasek again, rubbing it in. "Has he no respect? Or humility?" Actually I have neither. Just a deep respect for my paired teachers. In this case Dr. Zhu. And my patient at the time. They teach me whether what I have learned works or not. "No tickee, no laundry." That simple. Following my the Barefoot Doctor operating principle. "See it. Do it. Teach it."

 Perfect practice makes perfect. And with each stim and stroll he got up easier and walked better. Pain-free. You can't tell me we didn't have some real-time Neuro-Plastics going on. Even though it catches everyone by surprise (get over yourself) it's really quite predictable. One just has to risk looking like a fool (both patient and pricker) and do what might mean more to the patient, than just hanging another scalp on your belt.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Triple Header Friday

She was zoftig, with salt & pepper hair, hunched over her walker, every agonizing step a memory of how bad the next one would be. She had responded well to her first acupuncture treatmen, scrunched on the hard, high floroscopy table that doubles as an acupuncture bed. We went local on her back with e-stim on Bladder 23, 31, 57. A protocol I inherited from my second senior acupuncture mentor from Liaoning Provencial Hospital. We worked together for bubkas at the Westside Health Authority clinic in the hood in another life-time. Vanilla. Safe. The Plain Jane treatment had worked ok. No knee pain for 4 hours and no back pain for 4 days. Time to bring out the big guns. Zhou. Particularly after Monday's success. I peppered her head with a handful of Zhou's points and, to her surprise, asked her to stroll with me sans walker, down the corridor.  She took the leap of faith, and walked strong, first with the help of my hand clenching hers. And then free fall, re--learning what it is like to be self -powered again.

I told her the story of the grapholigist I called in Colorado decades ago. In my Mad Ad  days. To inquire about her classes in handwriting analysis. She didn't answer. I repeated the message she left for callers to hear. " When you get to the edge of the circle of light, and step off into the darkenss, one of two things will happen. Either your foot will hit solid ground, or you will fall, grow wings, and fly." My patient  flew that day. But it doesn'end there. While she was sitting in the room, getting well, I saw a second patient, the calligraphy of pain etching her face, and thought I would walk her back for some salt & pepper. With her consent. She sat their. Like the Queen of Cures. The angle of the chin. The sureness in her voice, Head tilted just so. Lips pursed to add emphassis to her pronouncements. I was mesmerized. I, and the patient beside me were charmed by what she saw and heard. How these slender needles blending into the black & white landscape, might also help her own condition. Lessen her pain. Take the hitch out of her get-along. We went back to the other treatment room. And it did. But not before we paid it forward. With a surley black sister who wasn't going to let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

When I suggested the flavor of the day to her, Zhu Scalp Acu[ncture,   she said "What ever."  Rolling her eyes at this frosty-haired white guy who had no idea how many miles of bad roadshe had traveled in this lifetime. Time for the hand off. A Black sister with terrible back and leg pain having a Hispanic sister tell her how those needles in her scalp had instantly made a difference in her pain level. And added a fluidity and grace to her gait. Somehow I felt separated from it all. Like a spectator. Someone in the audience of a play called "This works.  Pass it on." Or part of some kind of conspiracy. That needed secret passwords. And twisted finger handshakes. To gain access to hidden, life-changing knowledge.  Passed down through the centuries. Carried by Otzi up through the Alps 5,000 years ago. Shouldering his back pain and abdominal pain from the whip worms in his belly with him. To be found bled out in the Otzil Alps Glacier. By a honey-mooning Austrian couple. Waving up at them. Whispering "share my secrets." They did. And so did the Lancet British Medical Journal. Which postulated that the strokes and hatchmarks tattoed on Otzi were short-hand for the acupuncture points he used for his arthritic back, and wormy belly. pain. And now a varient of this Wisdom Medicine, had been passed on by another Time Bender,  from Northern Italy where Otzi had lived, to a busy Chicago clinic nested in a much larger vortex dedicated to easing pain. Offering people of all shapes, ages and color hope. And healing.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Single on Monday and a Triple Header on Friday.

He was Polish (still is). Young. And saddled with RSD and MERSA. Waiting for knee surgery he doesn't want. Right-sided pain from his neck to his knee. To much area to cover with needles. Unless you go Micro. Like in Microsystems. Like in scalp. I was convinces the first time I saw Dr. Zhu in action. At a training in Chicago in the '90's.
Upstairs in a bank building in Boystown. The kid was a victim of a drive-by. Carrying 6 bullets around his spine. He had to white-knnuckle the  arms of his wheelchair just to keeep from swaying side to side. In 5 minutes Zhu had him standing up for the first time in a couple of years. With the help of several of us. And an 8 needle mosaic, in the shape of a face-up homunculus, from the his hair line to the apex of his head. Found by putting one's thumbs on the tip of the ear, and stretching the index fingers to touch each other on top. "Think of the needle as a bucket you are pulling up and lowering down a well," Zhu said, through his translator, "And never pull the needle, and the patient's sick qi into the palm of your hand." Pointers I still practice.  But back to this past Monday, and the young tattooed Pole.

I decided to treat him Zhu style. Since it was his first time, I used only 4 needles. One at the Middle Warmer area, to amp up his energy. And then one slid along his right arm point and another along his right leg point. Then I did my favorite manuerver, jockying him, caneless, by the busy Pain Residents lined up at their work station, facing the corridor we treaded. He muttering, " I can't beleieve this, This is great."  From there I boldly displayed him, with his joyful consent, to the 10 new Pain Fellow Candidates gathered in the conference room, where Dr. Linda was talking about the integrateive aspect of our clinic. And voila, there I show up with evidence. They were Mesmerized.

Because treatment space in short supply, I'll tag team him with Dr. Linda nextime.  A Psychologist I do "Simutaneous Therapy" with. I work above the brain with acupuncture. She works on the brain with Mindfullness. At the same time. We work togther for addiction and Xerostomia patients as well. Using the Auricular Microsystem. I work on the ears. She works between them.

(to be continued, with Friday's 3 Zhu Scalp Aucupuncture Patients treated the same time. They actually interacted with each other, needles deployed)

Monday, March 12, 2018

How do you spell relief, when they turned off the opiod faucet?

This 38 year old African American male had 3 surgerieslast year. Right shoulder in April. Back in June.  And Neck in December. Five days before Christmas. His pain meds got shut off January 29th. Happy New Year. He showed up around Chinese New Years for Acupuncture. Year of the Dog.
 I love Dogs. It spells God backwards. The Asian Astrological virtues are incredible. I've raised and showed Ridgebacks, brought up Afghans, Collies, Labs, Blue Healers, Standard Poodles, Staffordshires, and now a Dutch Collie puppy that's smarter then most people I know. Sometimes. Scary. And definately smareter than the folks that would drug this guy up 3 times for surgery, and between surgeries,  in the space of 10 months, and then  say......
  "Surprise! We're turning off the joy juice. Because we have to. Sorry.  But let's see if acupunctue can pull the rabbit our of the hat for you."

He;s been ridden hard and put away wet. But your turn, go ahead now, put some needles in him. We used to call that a hospital pass  in sand-lot football.  Shove it off  to the sap next to you just before you get hit.We don't know how or if it's going to work. But give it a shot.

I did. It did. Work. About 10,000 worth of out-patients a day. In China we would see him 3 to 5 times a week for a month or more.

Over here my interns and I are lucky to see him monthly.  There it's 5 bucks a treatment. They're still trying to figure it out over here. A penny a needle and 10 minutes of time.  Go figure. I used Zhu's scalp system to jump start this patient to less pain. . And added Chinese Carryout of ASP needles on the ear  Battlefield Acupuncture Points for carryover. With a lttle sprinkle of Sotai Corrective Exercises on the side. Go figure.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Bull Horns Showed Up Yesterday in Our Waiting Room

There's a saying that the way to avoid getting impaled on the bull horns of a dilemma is to grab one of them vigorously, and hang on. A patient sat in a chair near the door gasping for air last night. I had just gotten the skinny from the Resident working with her. She had been to E.R. at a sister hospital for her pain the night before. She received an injection which she claimed did not work. 

I walked over to her and told her that I was ready to see her. She struggled to get up out of her chair, holding her legs, and gasping how bad they, and her back hurt her. We walked slowly to my office. I took her intake, delivered in shallow bursts of fitful information. I walked out to her Resident and said he was right, I could not do much for her. I told him  I was going to do Battlefield points on her ear, to try to take the edge off her pain, which might be contributing to her difficulty breathing.

But in the end I grabbed the "shortness of breath" horn, and after little relief to show from peppering her ear with ASP darts,  like a clove covered baked ham, had her transported by wheel chair to the Emergency Department to address her worsening struggle to breathe.

 This morning the Resident told me that the ER's dx. was anxiety. And that resolved, he planned to work her into his rotation for a procedure for  her pain later in the day.