Aerial view of Lampertshausen village in Bavaria. Germany. Picture of an aerial view with a drone of the village Lampertshausen in north Bavaria, Germany.
Today was another day of village-style healing.  I had taken my daughter out for a driving lesson, and we were coming up the driveway when I saw a person at the front door. There was no car in sight, so he had presumably walked, yet he wasn’t a neighbor. Miriam drove the car into the garage, and I went through the house to open the front door from its welcoming side. 

It turned out that my closest neighbor is hosting two high school baseball players who are attending a specialized eight-week summer camp a few miles away. They arrived last week but the player at the door hadn’t yet attended at all due to injury.  My neighbor sent him up.  I love being the village doctor.  If the grid goes down, this will be life full time.  All I need is a  box of needles and a front door.  And not even the needles if practicing channels by projection, but that’s another story. 

“How do you like our tiny neighborhood in the middle of nowhere?”
“I love it. She has ducks and chickens and bee hives.  It feels like a farm. Plus the bear.”
“How were you injured?” 
“I wasn’t.  I just can’t swing.  I’m a switch hitter and they say that that’s probably how I got injured.”
“But you don’t remember a particular hit or a particular day on which you got hurt.”
“Have you been under stress?”
“No, I’ve been excited.”  He did look remarkably clear in countenance. 
“Have you had any treatment for it?” 
“Yeah, the camp sent me to their doctor for assessment of my back and he did some acupuncture on the pain point and a different person did cupping.”
“Where is that pain point?”
“Right here.” He brought his arm around to touch the side of the spine at around T8.
“So, they needled at that spot and cupped. And how have you been since?”
“It didn’t do anything.  I’m the same.”
“Did they take your pulse before the acupuncture?”
“Okay, so I think you need Chinese acupuncture, rather than western.  It’s so different.  I’m sure I can help you, but first we have to make a diagnosis.  What’s the most difficult movement?”
“Bending down.”
“Bending down to put on shoes, or to pick something up?”
“Yeah. I can’t do that.” 
“You bent down just then to take your shoes off.  How did that feel?”
“It really hurt my back to do that.”
“If bending down is the most difficult movement, it might sound crazy to you, but the problem is not in your back, it’s down your front somewhere and its referring to your back to try to get out. We have to find it.”

I took out my book of channel illustrations, opened it to the stomach sinew page and showed him the stomach sinew channel and how it covers the front of the body and has a band connecting it to the region of T8 and to the sacrum. 
“Yeah, it’s super interesting. It’s a rare day if I find myself diagnosing the location of an injury as being the same as the site of pain.”
“Yes. Rare. Treating the site of pain without making a diagnosis is like saying that even though there’s no smoke and no fire, the house must be on fire because there’s a fire truck parked outside.  Your back is not necessarily injured just because there’s pain there.  Did they find anything in the scans of your back?”
“Okay. Let’s take pulses.  The truth is in there….. Okay, interesting. Actually, very interesting. You don’t have sinew pulses (that means muscular pulses) at all.  Instead, in this middle position, the stomach position, if I push halfway down, I find it very tight. You’ll feel it without ever having done this before.  Put your finger here….. Do you feel that tightness.”
“Actually, yes I do.”
“Let’s find that tightness on the front of your body.  We know it’s showing somewhere. That is the true injury.  Pop yourself up on the table.”
I palpated from the face, all the way down the neck and chest and abdomen keeping two inches lateral to the midline, until l reached an area that spanned from three inches above the navel to directly lateral to the navel. 

“Uh huh, here it is. Does this area feel tight to you?”
“Very tight. I didn’t know that. Wow. It’s uncomfortable to press it.”
“Yeah, very tight. Let’s make sure there’s no more.”
I continued palpating down the abdomen and along the quads and tibialis, along the shin to the top of the foot. There was another tightness at about ST37. 

“Well, more clues abound!  These two areas reflect tightness in the large intestine—I don’t want to bore you with theory—but that has a significant but indirect connection with the stomach sinew channel I showed you in the book.  I can therefore guess with confidence that you drink cold water and lots of it.”
“Yes I do.”
“And do you eat lots of cold food, too? Like ice cream?”
“No, not at all.”
“Okay, great, then there’s not much to change.  Do you sleep in A/C?”
“Okay, yes, it’s super-hot today, but turn it to the highest temperature and make sure it’s not blowing on your body at all.  Direct the fins away from you.”
“I usually have the fan straight on me.”
“If you’re going to recover quickly, you must warm up internally, and externally too, as fast as possible. Okay, let’s get to work.”
I put a Jing well point at the end of the stomach sinew channel, then did sinew needling at the small region near the navel, moxaed that area thoroughly, moxaed the Jing well point, and then he flipped over, and I needled the Jing well point of the bladder sinew channel, palpated for tightness all the way down that sinew from head to toe and found that the only tightness was where he had pointed and did sinew needling at that small tight area and then moxaed that area and that was it.

“Okay, let’s see what happened. Can you hop off the table and gently test bending over?” 
“Wow, so much better.”
“Great. It will take 72 hours to really settle.  It’s 2pm Tuesday, so set your alarm for 2pm Friday, and see how you feel and come back up Saturday morning if it’s not clear.  I’m going back and forth to the city so if you come to the door I might not be here depending on the day.  Here’s my number.  Remember, your back was in pain because you were drinking a cold water.  The diagnosis is cold in the stomach affecting the back sinew.  The diagnosis is super important.”

He left so relieved and happy.  Working village-style feels so good. 

Ann Cecil-Sterman
Litchfield Hills, CT
June 18, 2024

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