Sinew Surprise – by Ann Cecil-Sterman

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March 2nd, 2020

Even these days, having been in practice a long time, I am often utterly staggered by the results of Sinew treatments. Staggered not just by the increased range of motion and reduction of pain, but by the patient’s pronouncements at the conclusion of the treatment. Today I’m spending a lot of time thinking about examples of this as I prepare to teach a Sinew Channel weekend in Albuquerque on Saturday. Just last week I had a patient in for their third treatment for an advanced Yin deficiency (she called it menopause). Complaining of feeling very hot at night, dryness and irritability, and being unable to sleep, she presented with classic thin and rapid pulses.
The (divergent) treatments were going well and the symptoms were steadily abating, partly due to the treatments and partly because she had given up coffee and her nightly (“just a little and it’s organic, dark and free-trade”) chocolate.

At this, the third treatment, she said she’d neglected to mention before that she hadn’t been able to extend her arm beyond 45 degrees in any direction for five years. Often that happens. A patient comes in for help with something and denies having any aches and pains but after a few treatments they suddenly present with an injury they’ve had for years but hadn’t thought to mention. When that happens it means that the treatments you’re performing have successfully built enough mediumship (Yin, Blood, Fluids) to begin to fill the Channels. At that point there is less room for the Wind that was occupying the Channels causing stiffness or pain, and the Wind is being pushed to the surface to exit. A Sinew treatment will clear that Wind.

Anyway, I performed a Sinew treatment to free the shoulder and when she got off the table she said that she knew exactly why she had a “frozen shoulder”. She said she had refused to embrace menopause, that she did not want to enter this next chapter. The freeing of the Sinew treatment allow her to engage in conscious change and yield to being in the present moment, in menopause. She raised her arm above her head and drew a series of huge circles in the air with her entire arm. And the most remarkable thing was that over the next few days her “menopausal symptoms” all but vanished.

That menopausal symptoms could vanish with a Sinew treatment on a frozen shoulder brought home again to me that this medicine is limitless; that as long as we maintain the view that there are no limits to healing on the table, the possibilities are astonishing. If we indulge in holding an idea about how far a treatment might take a patient, we might say we’re aiming for a significant increase in range of motion and in so doing, we can inadvertently limit the reach of the treatment. I didn’t know that a Sinew treatment could result in the cessation of menopausal symptoms because I hadn’t experienced that but the discipline of being utterly free of expectation about how the Channel should behave or how a patient should respond enables the patient to transcend any textbook idea of the parameters a treatment. Sinew treatments are not for putting Channel back in the state it “should” be in. It’s infinitely more than that. Acupuncture is a beautiful thing.

Boston, MA

PS: Today’s chat is postponed by one day to 4:15pm Tuesday 3rd. My mother-in-law’s (Andrew’s wonderful mother, Betsy’s) memorial service is tomorrow. I know people plan their week to be on the chat live and I’m sorry about this change.

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