Jack works as a lawyer. When I first treated him at my traditional Chinese medicine clinic, he acted more like a judge than a patient. He asked:
“When did you start treating people with traditional Chinese medicine? Which school did you graduate from? What degree do you have? Do you specialize in a particular illness?”
Although he did not trust me, I replied calmly and treated him with respect.
An intern who was present noticed how calm I was and thought that Jack was not being nice. Nevertheless, the intern continued to find the right spots on him for acupuncture treatment.
Jack told me that whenever he stood on his feet, they hurt and it felt like he was standing on thousands of needles. He thus could not walk or exercise for a long time. He had also been to many hospitals and tried various treatments, but to no avail. This time, he would like to try his luck with traditional Chinese medicine, specifically acupuncture.
Before he left, he said: “If my feet stop hurting, I will pay you in a week.” I nodded. At this moment, the intern replied: “Healing is not like products made in factories, whereby you decide to return or pay for the product after a trial period.”
Politely, but indifferently, Jack answered: “Legal consultations with lawyers are always free the first time.” After this, we did not hear from him again about the pain in his feet.
A year and a half later, Jack came back to my clinic. This time he was suffering from dysentery. Although it was not life threatening, he would experience diarrhoea quickly and often. Again, he came to my traditional Chinese medicine clinic after conventional Western treatments failed to heal him. This time, he came often because an insurance company paid for these treatments.
I soon got to know him better and noticed that unlike the last time, there was an absence of suspicion and arrogance. He later told me stories about his childhood. He said that when his grandfather first came to the United States, he had nothing except a small piece of luggage. He started his career from scratch and ended up owning a few bakeries. He had suffered a lot in his life. His father also had a tough life, so his only hope was for him to make more money. He added:
“Since I was young, my father always told me that I could not trust anyone. When I played football with my father, he often tripped me on purpose and my face was bruised from those falls. Nevertheless, my father showed no sympathy, but instead scolded me for being more stupid than a pig.”
“The most impressive thing he ever did to me was to pull away the ladder that I was climbing on. When I asked for the reason for this, my father replied that he wanted me to learn not to trust anyone. Anyone included my own father.”
I was shocked after hearing his story, but I now understood why he was afflicted with a form of intestinal and stomach disease that often attacked him suddenly and was difficult to heal. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that if the function of the spleen is deficient and has declined, one’s vital energy will stagnate.
His dysentery was thus caused by the deposition of vital energy in his spleen. Furthermore, the spleen governs thinking. Jack has lived his life suffering from panic and distrust. High emotional tension could trigger intestinal spasms. The most effective treatment for Jack was therefore not herbs or acupuncture, but for him to fundamentally change his thinking.
Translated by Xianghai.