Of the remaining three percent, two percent will specify a particular technique they claim as "their" technique (Activator, SOT, Gonstead, Pettibon, DNF, Cox, Logan Basic or a host of other techniques too numerous to mention in this article).The most interesting part of the questioning revolves around the percentage of practitioners which practice their various techniques in the pure unadulterated form in which it was taught to them. In other words, "Do you ever practice your technique a little differently than taught?" This question usually pares the profession down to one percent of those practitioners who practice a specific technique exactly as taught without ever altering it in any way, shape or form. I have a feeling I may be generous in that one percent figure.
Now before you start taking exception to what I am saying, please bear in mind the statistics quoted were not scientifically deduced through the usual methods of producing statistics; however, they do represent my personal observation in teaching thousands of DCs from around the world.
To prove my point, take this quiz: What chiropractic technique do you use? If you answered with a specific technique, do you practice it exactly without any alteration in any way, shape or form as it was taught to you, 100 percent of the time? See what I mean?
In all my years of casually or formally asking DCs what technique they use, I have never heard anyone say they use the "shotgun" technique, which may very well be one of the most popular "diversified" techniques in our profession. Now, if you are like me, you probably are repulsed by the term "shotgun" and will no doubt take exception to anyone accusing you of such and will defend your "diversified" technique as "pure."
Interestingly enough, most DCs will agree general diversified chiropractic technique has been, is, and will no doubt remain, an integral part of a chiropractic practice. When practiced with specific adjusting of a vertebral segment it has proven to be especially effective. If the truth be known, thousands of DCs worldwide practice nothing but general diversified (shotgun) technique and they too are incredibly effective.
So what does this have to do with acupuncture? Most people who embark on a formal graduate or degree program in acupuncture are taught the techniques of treatment as exact, pure, and specific. However, it has been my observation that once they begin to practice, they ultimately begin to place their own observations and personalities into their technique so that often the procedure has only a resemblance of what they originally studied. When we refer to the science and "art" or the "practice" of chiropractic, this is what we are referring to. Just as no two chiropractors think, rationalize, or perform procedure exactly compared to their classmate, the same is very true in Asian healing where individuality becomes the buzz word. The best part is -- it's okay.
One of the most significant techniques in acupuncture which anyone may employ, regardless if you ever attended a program of higher learning in acupuncture, is simply to "surround the dragon."
This technique is employed by acupuncturist worldwide and constitutes a great majority of the acupuncture performed by those who are considered "masters" by their colleagues. It is without question one of the most effective and significant treatments. As I stated earlier in regard to chiropractic, when general diversified manipulation is combined with specific adjusting of a vertebral unit, the effect is simple. You can expect "shotgun" (please excuse the word) acupuncture, which of course would be referred to as diversified in polite company, to be simple to employ, rapid in its delivery, and very effective. Should you add specific points which historically perform specific functions, the effect is especially effective.
The technique of "surround the dragon" is so simple you may teach your third grader the procedure, just as many of you reading this have instructed your young ones in the art of general manipulation at the time of your own personal emergency.
One simply identifies the "dragon"; this may be a painful "anything." The object is to palpate the entire area. In any area the patient, if in Japan, would exclaim, "Ah So"; in China, "Ah Shi"; in England, "Oh Yes"; and in Texas, "Right On." In other words, simply find the tender points in the area of the involvement. Once located, stimulate with whatever you feel comfortable. If you are a rank neophyte, you may tap 15-20 times with a neurologic hammer. Obtaining a teishein (non-invasive tapping instrument), a quartz piezoelectric stimulator or a simple LED laser or inexpensive electric stimulator are ideal and the investment is minimal.
Please bear in mind even though this technique seems too easy to be real, it compares favorably with lumbar roll, thoracic double transverse or a general cervical. It is also practiced by anyone who employs acupuncture regardless of their background or years in practice.
Should you elect to accompany us to China in November, you will see world-acclaimed healers employing the same technique we just described. The best part, should you elect to use the procedure just described, by November you may also be considered a "world acclaimed healer."
Yes, "shotgun" acupuncture is definitely okay.
One last thought: When asked by your colleagues what acupuncture technique you use, remember to call it "diversified."
John A. Amaro, DC, FIACA, Dipl. Ac.
Click here for previous articles by John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA).