Abdominal acupuncture (AA) is a gentle yet powerful system of acupuncture, which usually works incredibly well when used on its own. It is also a system that allows for other modalities to be used in conjunction with it. In this article I will describe how I mix and match my treatments and I will suggest some ways that can compliment abdominal, using traditional, ear, scalp, distal and global balance methods.
As any acupuncturist knows there are many options available to treat various conditions using acupuncture. My main focus is on painful chronic and acute conditions, which usually have an underlying pathology of deficiency, excess, stasis, wind, damp phlegm etc. These need to be addressed in order to permanently resolve the problem and so having lots of methods to address them will always help. Some people are more receptive to one particular system over another and on occasion by using one system it opens the way for using other methods in the future.
I suggest that when you first start using AA, use it as a stand – alone method, I do this for a number of reasons including;
- Using abdominal alone will give you a realistic idea of the power of AA.
- When using AA you must be able to effectively utilise the subtleties in order to illicit the best therapeutic result.
- Only by testing abdominal acupuncture on different conditions will you develop your skill and appreciation of this wonderful system.
- By keeping good records of each treatment you will become more comfortable to use the fast / minimal options that AA offers.
Once you have achieved a level of confidence in your own and AA’s potential then by all means combine various other acupuncture systems to enhance your therapeutic results.
In my practice, I still use AA as my first / go to treatment method, I will often use Lung 7 and Kid 6 to open the Ren Mai, this I would use for nourishing Yin energies or if there is a thyroid problem. I often use this in the Yin phase of the menstrual cycle in this case Lu 7 is needled on the right and Kid 6 on the left. If I am addressing fertility problems I often add Sp4 on the right followed by PC 6 on the left in order to open the Chong Mai, which travels along the Kid meridian of the abdomen.
If I am not getting the powerful result I have come to expect with abdominal (80 – 90%), I will utilise the likes of imaging / distal points on the wrist or ankle to treat the shoulder for example. When I use strong body points, I often emphasise the difference between the needle sensation with abdominal and that of distal points such as Ling Gu! My clients prefer abdominal to other methods I use, but sometimes we need to use strong distal points to move the Qi, and I recognise the power of combining systems and of distal, Tan, Tung etc.
I frequently use global balance to enhance my treatments where there are serious chronic conditions such as IBS or Crohn’s disease. I will often use Global balance usually only a four needle protocol for treating allergies, I usually add the global balance protocol after using AA for two or three treatments. When I treat stroke recovery, Parkinson’s, dementia or other brain conditions I often use scalp acupuncture in conjunction with Abdominal.
There are so many options and often it is personal choice, a new method learned, experimentation or just intuition that leads us to use particular points or treatment protocol at a particular time.I believe that it is important to be versatile, confident, imaginative, intuitive and to trust your gut after all its, in the abdomen, your core where the Dantian and the Miraculous Turtle resides!!