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Boise, Idaho 83702
Patterns of Disharmony
By Peter Games, L. Ac.

Acupuncture West in Boise Idaho - Mother & DaughterAcupuncture is similar to other types of medicine in that an acupuncturist determines what is wrong with a patient and then administers the appropriate treatment. But the methods of determining what is wrong and administering treatment vary dramatically depending upon what type of medicine is being practiced.

In order to first determine what is wrong with a patient, an acupuncturist collects a lot of information by taking a comprehensive health history, asking many questions, feeling the patient’s pulse at the wrist, and observing the patient’s physical appearance, including the tongue. After collecting all of this data, the acupuncturist determines a “pattern of disharmony” that the patient is presenting. This is not the same as a disease. A pattern of disharmony is the sum of a patient’s signs and symptoms. It is the patient’s clinical landscape, and does not represent an external cause of illness which must be removed or eliminated. The pattern of disharmony is the patient, and everything that the patient is experiencing. It cannot be isolated from the patient.

A disease implies that there is an underlying mechanism, a distinct entity separate from the patient’s being that causes ill health. When treatment is focused on a disease, emphasis is placed upon controlling or eliminating the cause of disease. When treatment is focused on a patient’s pattern of disharmony, emphasis is placed upon returning the patient to a state of balance, thereby removing unwanted signs and symptoms. An acupuncturist focuses treatment on the patient rather than on an external disease entity.

Acupuncture & Alternative Medicine of Boise Idaho - MeditationDoes this mean that acupuncture doesn’t treat disease? Of course not, acupuncture is now recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. However the goal of acupuncture treatment is to restore balance to the patient, not to eliminate an external disease factor. I am often asked by people if acupuncture treats a specific disease that they have. “Does acupuncture treat irritable bowel syndrome?” they may ask me. Well, in all honesty, irritable bowels rarely walk through my office door all by themselves. They are usually attached to a pretty complex person who has many other signs and symptoms and often has a high level of stress in his or her life. So, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be very helpful for a patient suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but acupuncture does not just treat the IBS. Acupuncture treats the entire patient with a goal of restoring balance, so that the patient does not experience the symptoms of IBS.

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