Acupuncture

Reflections from the Women's Health online course

Dr. Carl Clarkson • December 7, 2020

What a fantastic course. I’ve become a reluctant model for acupuncture of late, and this has certainly stood in the way of my attendance on any in-person CPD courses, so the opportunity to complete this course fully online was one I couldn’t turn down.

Up to this point I’d approach needling a pregnant person with extreme caution. Should I really be sticking needles in these points? Am I really sure that this is ok? So as for my own learning journey, which I guess forms the content of this blog, it was great to recap on who we shouldn’t needle, patients to consider in depth, and then to dive into pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain. I can now go ahead with these patients with as much clinical confidence as one physiotherapist can muster.

There are two stand-out moments for me here regarding my learning journey. Firstly it was a topic Carl touched on within all the chapters in the course including the chapter on overactive bladder syndrome. I’ll digress to begin with and say that this segment was an added bonus for me because two of my long standing clients have overactive bladders and so the opportunity to learn about how acupuncture could be useful for them was exciting, but more on that later.

I was fascinated to listen to Carl talk passionately about the life-affecting nature of the conditions covered in the course. It really struck me how it was important to listen and record what these conditions mean to the patient. Might some improvement mean they can return to work? Socialise? Sleep better? Consider a day out with their family, or a shopping trip with their teenager? I’ve always been aware of the importance of establishing how a particular dysfunction can be life affecting, but I was struck by how Carl really placed the patient’s life-affecting specifics at the centre of their plan for improvement. I would reflect on my own practice to date and say that I probably placed more emphasis on classic objective measures than what an improvement in dysfunction really meant to the patient. What a lovely unintended learning experience.

Anyway, back to the overactive bladders. I’ve since managed one needling session with each patient. I’d never needled the Conception Vessel meridian before, and certainly never over the abdomen, so I returned to the text books to double check precautions and insertion depths etc. During the session I encouraged both patients to speak at length about what their overactive bladders really mean for them. In doing so I’ve learnt that one patient also suffers with extreme intolerance to temperature change, which in fact turns out to be the more life affecting issue of the two.

Finally, a confession. Since my initial foundation acupuncture course with Carl, I’ve decided to ignore auricular acupuncture. I couldn’t really see how it was going to bring anything to my party. I’d just stick with segmental acupuncture as this made most sense to me, and appeared less scary to perform. Well here it comes, I’m going to revisit the auricular acupuncture chapter of the course and get confident in it as I understand now how some of the things we look to achieve through needling are best approached through targeting the ANS, and Carl seems totally sold on reaching that through the ear… ok, ok, I hear you. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Rosie Rutter | Physiotherapist

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