Dis-ease is a key precursor to illness.
It is a state of subtle energetic imbalance which may reflect deep-seated experiences of anguish, grief, distress, misfortune, suffering, or trial.
If relief is delayed too long, the energetics associated with these states of being may eventually materialize in the tissues of the body, towards a diagnostically identifiable state of physical disease. Hans Selye described this process as “the general syndrome of sickness” and identified energetic signs which usually preceded the appearance of an illness or disease related to loss of adaptation (one’s physiological capacity for stress regulation).
Diagnosing subtle energetic imbalances is a primary component of Oriental (Asian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese) medical theory and practice. A stand-alone system of health care, it utilizes four basic observations: questioning, listening, smelling, and palpation.
Palpation as a Preventative Tool
In Oriental medicine’s Hara diagnosis, abdominal palpation is used effectively to pick up on subtle energetic imbalances in body systems which have not yet shown up as symptoms of disease, such as a mass or tumor.
The hara is the body’s energetic and physical center, the core of a person’s vitality. All the primary meridians root in the hara so any tenderness on palpation, tightness, indentation, temperature variation, change in skin color or texture or swelling, indicates an imbalance in a particular organ and meridian system which responds rather quickly to treatment at this stage.
This diagnostic tool is highly valued as it can identify subtle changes even if a person’s tongue, pulse or lack of symptoms seem to fall in the “normal” range.
But there is something more to palpation that is equally as intriguing—the energetic exchange that occurs between practitioner and patient when acupoints are palpated. Research has demonstrated that acupoints along the meridians exhibit distinctive electrical qualities. Palpation of an acupoint prior to inserting a needle affects the qi of the point, helping the practitioner achieve the best results via depth of insertion, angle, direction, and location.
That’s why I love what I do!
Hara Diagnosis: Reflections on the Sea by Kiiko Matsumoto & Stephen Birch