My Skill Level:
- Novice -

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Novice Sensations and An Introduction to Diagnosis

As you treat yourself with Fu Xi Wen,
Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from
you may discover that your treatment hand feels certain temperature sensations. These sensations start off as hot, neutral, and cold. It turns out there are four kinds of hot (Fire, Wood, Metal, and the absence of Water), which you will learn to differentiate if you walk the skill ladder. But for now, your ability to distinguish different kinds of hot is not important. It is important to be able to feel the not so subtle differences between hot and cold and in between in order to improve your treatment results. You can use this skill at differentiating temperature to select the best tissues for treatment by determining which tissues are temperature balanced and which ones are imbalanced. This is called “Diagnosis”.

Remember that beads on a string analogy we discussed earlier? There should be cold beads in the Earth plane, neutral beads in the Man plane, and hot beads in the Heaven plane. As you wave your chopstick in these X, Z, and Y planes, some of these beads will move around your hand allowing you to differentiate the temperature in that plane of the tissue.

In fact, before you start a treatment, I recommend holding a chopstick in your hand at the tissue-angle you are about to treat and move this chopstick in the Heaven, Man, and Earth planes. I recommend using a metal chopstick as the sensations tend to be clearer, but any old chopstick will do. In a perfectly balanced tissue (see note at the bottom), the three basic planes will feel warm up/down, neutral East and West, and cool North and South. This is exactly as it should be.

When a tissue is diseased, the beads are all mixed up on the string. You may feel sensations of coolness up and down or East and West. Or you may feel heat North and South or East and West. This is a sign of Yin, Yang, and/or Qi imbalance. After you treat yourself in that adorable Novice way of yours, you will find the hot, neutral, and cold returns to its proper dispersion pattern. Good work! Job well done.

The problem with being a Novice is that you may find it difficult to know if the hot in Heaven is just right or is in fact too hot. The same goes for cold in the Earth plane. You may also find it difficult to distinguish if there is too much energy or not enough overall energy in the tissue. The reason you will find this hard is obvious, you haven't learned to differentiate healthy from unhealthy within the correct planes. This skill comes with experience and with walking the skill ladder. Nevertheless, it should be remarkably easy to differentiate when hot or cold are absolutely in the wrong planes.

By the way, that chopstick you are holding has a name. We call it a “Teishin” (pronounced “tay-shin”). The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine describes the use of five inch needles that are not inserted into the body. Your chopstick may be longer and that's okay. I use chopsticks in my practice and I recommend sticking with this inexpensive tool.

Special Note About Temperatures

In the Advanced chapters you will read about Advanced Perfusion and Advanced Container Qi. In these chapters, you will find that temperature sensations in healthy tissues are much more complicated than I describe here. I strongly encourage you to become an Advanced practitioner as your results will never be perfect until you understand these subtleties.

Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from

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