The Iraqi Vet referred by the Veterans Administration for acupuncture for severe headaches, which his doctors believe are caused by high cerebrospinal fluid pressure, has been back in my office a few times. After initially referring him for only 3 treatments, the VA authorized 8 more treatments, and my contact has shown a willingness to work with me to get more treatments authorized after that, if need be. The first time we met again after a hiatus full of negotiating phone calls and mailings to the VA, my client was at a point of extreme pain in which he’d been in bed for three days. He walked with a slow, somewhat wide-based gait, and wore dark sunglasses that wrapped all the way around his face, covering every millimeter of his peripheral vision, even though it was a gray, late winter day.

His voice was guttural. He did not smile. The connective tissue on the outer (yang) sides of his body were extremely tense while the inner (yin) sides were soft. His tongue was pale and scalloped and it quivered. His pulse was rapid and wiry. He preferred the room to be cool.

I treated the palpable imbalance in his connective tissue. My theory was that the increased energy in the yang meridians was forcing too much Qi and heat to his head. The concomitant deficiency in the yin meridians meant his energy lacked the means to flow downwards through the connective tissue matrix, and become grounded. This treatment strategy seems to have been effective. He had mild pressure on his right cheek after the treatment, which he did not think was related to lying face-down in the face cradle, which lasted about a day, but aside from that the treatment triggered a steady, gradual improvement in symptoms over the following 24 hours. When I saw him again about 4 days later, he exhibited some more personality, being somewhat chatty and bordering on (but not quite) cheerful. He had hope. That’s a beautiful thing.

We worked again on the same premise. The imbalance was still present only not as severe, and this time he actually smiled once as he was leaving. My strategy, based on the teachings of Mr. Koei Kuwahara, a master practitioner of Japanese acupuncture and my teacher while I was a student at the New England School of Acupuncture., basically involves returning to palpation frequently, sometimes after every needle is inserted to follow the progress in relieving tension in the yang meridians, and redirecting that energy to the yin meridians. This type of treatment can not be done quickly.

I’ll keep you posted about how this works in the long run.