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I have, once or twice, mentioned something to a patient that nearly made him or her fall off the table. Once it was, “Do you have foot pain?” and another time, “Are you under a lot of stress right now?” Why were they so shocked? Because both of these patients were receiving acupuncture for other concerns (fertility and back pain if memory serves), and because I asked the questions based on what I saw when I looked at their ears.

On many levels, acupuncture treatment is based on the stories the body is telling. There is the story of the patient – why you are there? And there is the story the body holds. What does the pulse have to say? What information can the tongue provide?

Using small pictures of the whole we can get a pretty good glimpse into what is happening inside the body. Some of this seems like no big deal because, heck, can’t the patient just tell you themselves? Of course they can. If they know. The trouble with symptoms is that sometimes one symptom overpowers other information. The other trouble is that symptoms are the indication that something *has already gone wrong,* whereas “signs” (such as information that we get from the pulse, the tongue, the ear) are an indication that something *is going to go wrong* if nothing intercedes.

This post is inspired by an upcoming PDA (professional development requirement – acupuncturists are required to continue learning, by the state of KY, the USA, and our often insatiable curiosity) I will be attending – it’s on Chinese Facial Diagnosis. I simply could not be more excited about it, and am looking forward to using and sharing what I learn there in our clinic. But in the meantime, I thought I’d pique your curiosity with this blog and a couple of links:

An image of the ear

An image of the face

Areas are marked as to their corresponding body part. I am obliged to say please do not diagnose yourself based on anything you see when you examine your face or even your own ear, but do go in to see your local, friendly acupuncturist! As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

~Arwen Careaga


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