Chinese medicine is a huge subject that can be rather confusing so where to start? What is relevant, what is not?
For example the Five Elements as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has five cycles that describe the flow, balance and interaction of the energy. The creation, control, over-controlling, insulting cycles and exhaustive cycles ( these may be referenced with slightly different names in other sources). Often people only think only of the first two which are describing the cycles in balance but they may all be relevant to the individual picture therefore it can be difficult to determine what is presenting and how to address the imbalance.
This is why what ever the discipline and theory used the four pillars or four examinations gives us our frame work for the individual person we are working with.
As reflexologists we work hard to ensure we understand our client and their health, who they are and how we can best help them.
We can end up in a rather allopathic treatment structure with our desire to help. They have a pathology we know or find out what systems are affected and we treat the reflexes. It can be tempting to try to fit Reflexology into a medical model in this process.
Our understanding of the body’s physiology is really important and fascinating, as a physiology teacher I love learning more all the time and undoubtedly this helps us be better practitioners.
But I believe that reflexology is extremely holistic meeting all levels of the person physically, emotionally and spiritually. This means that it isn’t a clear allopathic system if we press a reflex it might well effect that body part but in so many possible dimensions that being outcome driven can be problem as the person’s body/being will move in the direction it needs to go.
On a holistic level we are working with people’s bigger journey and neither you or the client may know what that is at this point in time.
How does working with Traditional Chinese Medicine help?
It can give us format to relate to all the aspects of our clients and a way to best meet our clients needs at that moment in time?
It is taken from thousands of years of observing the nature of existence including the physical, emotional and spiritual elements but this can also make it a bit of a mind field of information and we don’t just want to put just another layer of theory between us and our clients.
Within working with Chinese medicine they have a foundation structure of the four examinations these allow us to have the client in the centre of our treatment process and help us to work holistically and be not be subjective or overlay our own judgements or ideas.
These examinations will have a slightly different structure in application depending on the therapy. For example in acupuncture often the palpation examination used is pulse, in Shiatsu often its Hara palpation and in Five element reflexology we can use palpation of the Reflexes.
This is the place that we really can put the theory into practice otherwise without the holding of these four perspectives we can so easier not be working within the fuller picture. Combining these we can really place the client in centre of their treatment experience.
The Four Examinations sometimes called the four pillars of diagnosis explained.
Please note its important to understand the context we are using for the term diagnosis, we are not diagnosing a medical or emotional condition.
One definition of diagnosis is “the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.”
In this context we are looking at the energetic nature of symptoms not a medical diagnosis. We are looking at supporting our clients by understanding their nature and that of their health picture better.
The Four Examinations:
1) Mon Shin: Asking Consultation= Medical history, presenting symptoms
2) Bo Shin: Looking, Observation = posture, face, feet
3)Bun Shin: Smelling and Listening = listening between the lines and tone of voice (and yes body oder can tell us if an elements balance is indicated too!!)
4) Setsu Shin: Palpation (pulse, points, Reflexes)= what does their body and energy say?
Putting It All Together
The four methods give us different views, therefore help us see the client in 360°. Each examination cannot be replaced by an another. It can take time to integrate this new style of working but often you find that you are already using these skills with out realising it and learning some new techniques and theory can really open up your client work and give you confidence.
Five Element Reflexology is designed to help Reflexologist’s to integrate TCM theory and their intuition into practice to best meet your clients needs.
Chinese medicine is a massive area and a subject and one we can grow from a personal and professional point of view. Having taught TCM in several different bodywork systems, I find more and more that reflexology is a perfect treatment to integrate it in. It allows layers to unfold and becomes a journey for us all.
If you want to find out more about Five Element Reflexology training follow this link>