I’m trying to write something every day this month as an unofficial attempt at nablopomo, and I’m already not sure what to write about. What do you want to read about?

We’re all always still learning, and I do well in a classroom setting. Two weekends ago I had a refresher class in Dr. Tan’s Balance Method. Dr. Tan has a clinic in San Diego and lectures all around the world. He grew up with traditional medicine, but he had to go to school here for certification purposes. He also studied engineering.

Now, a lot of times when acupuncture points are chosen, it’s because they are local to pain or because the book says it’s good for that. There are lots of systems of how to select points, but Dr. Tan’s makes sense, usually works, and usually works fast.

There are meridians of qi or life energy all through the body. They are distinct from blood and nerves, though many points are near vessels or nerves. When something hurts, we can localize it to a meridian being imbalanced. To restore balance, we have to adjust the other side of the scale, in other words, needle a corresponding meridian.

The trigrams of the i-ching are composed of solid or broken lines, representing yin or yang. Dr. Tan observes that this is binary, the way computers represent everything by sequences of zeroes and ones. A lot can be represented in this method, and we are able to create a digital representation of the body by assigning different trigrams to different elements, and therefore to different meridians. Which might not make much sense to the layperson, but if you’ve studied any theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the way Dr. Tan lays it out makes you go, “Ohhh, I get it now.”

Like I said, there are many different systems of selecting treatment points, but this is the first one I’ve learned where the teacher expects my patient to feel noticeably better within seconds. It never gets old to have a frozen shoulder patient raise the arm all the way. It’s not always the system I use, but if you can tell me exactly where it hurts, I can usually find exactly what will make it feel better.