Acupuncture Case Studies: Branch & Root

Case 1 – Branch Treatment Acupuncture

A man came to see me complaining of severe pain from chronic tendonitis in his elbow. He had been suffering from it for over two years. The pain disrupted his sleep and he was no longer able to play golf.

I tested a series of points in the patient’s knee while asking him to extend and flex his painful elbow and report the degree of relief experienced. At the points on his knee where my pressure caused the greatest relief in his elbow, I inserted thin, sterile needles. He was surprised and relieved that I did not treat his painful elbow directly.

Within 3 to 4 treatments he was relieved of his pain and returned to playing golf and sleeping through the night. I also included some points to address the patient’s adrenal system, which had been depleted by chronic pain and poor sleep. This is a good example of a branch treatment, the efficient return to well-being of a generally healthy man. In this case, injury to the patient’s elbow caused the tendonitis rather than the tendonitis arising from an underlying imbalance.

Case 2 – Root Treatment Acupuncture

A woman came to see me with the goal of addressing the migraines she experienced with her periods. In her intake she mentioned significant bursitis in her hip and severe neck pain from an old injury, a complex pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. My examination revealed a strong tendency toward inflammation, and my initial treatments addressed this root cause of her various symptoms. In the first month of weekly treatments, which the patient followed up with home care, her migraines diminished, her bursitis disappeared and her neck pain began to improve significantly. When the body returns to balance, this is what we would expect to happen, but it is always exciting to see.

For the remaining neck pain, I treated a series of points along relevant acupuncture pathways. I also treated points around a poorly healed scar along one pathway. In 8 to 10 further treatments the patient experienced complete and ongoing relief of this complex pain disorder that had lasted for over ten years. She recently returned from a long camping trip and said she had no pain despite roughing it. Through root treatment we inspire the body to correct imbalances which are causing a variety of symptoms.