This is the tale of Brunhilde, a lass in her late 20s who works as a clerk in a healthfood store. She had come to me with the complaint of “hip pain.” She complained of feeling cold to the bone and that the pain was worse in cold weather. Symptoms improved after exercise and with pressure.
Rare is that case that a presentation of this sort will be confined to just one problem. Brunhilde was no exception. Her periods were irregular and her legs were puffy along with cankles from poor fluid metabolism. She started menstruating late (16) and was irregular for a few years till she went on the pill. When she went off the pill, her frequency remained normal, but the duration and quantity was irradic. Premenstrually, she also felt achy in her lower back and abdomen. Relatedly, she had a pretty constant runny nose, comprised of clear, thin mucous. Brunhilde is also vegetarian with a high proportion of raw food.
Part of Chinese medicine’s objective is to talke a constellation of complaints and link them to an underlying problem whenever possilbe. All of Brunhilde’s outward signs pointed to a functional deficiency caused by pathogenic cold. Curiously, her inwards signs of the pulse and tongue were basically normal. Since the inward signs indicated that cold had not penetrated deeply into the system, my decision was to issue a ping to the system gently with fire water, which the she will prepare for herself and take instead of the bottled water she normally drinks. Along the same lines she was encouraged to have more soup and less raw food and to have raw food with spices like cumin, fennel and chili. Before administering any acupuncture, I usually apply cups to on the lower back, lumbar area and navel along with ginger moxa at the navel. I also sent her home with some warming adhesive patches to place upon the hip directly.
After two weeks, Brunhilde showed about 35% improvement in her range of symptoms. Over the course of two months, I saw her four times using the same approach, whereafter the matter issue was largely resolved. She was instructed to continue to take soups instead of raw food, in addition to continuing with the fire water for at least six months, and to check in every six weeks. Success of this case relied up accurate diagnosis of the underlying problem and Brunhilde’s youth and dietary compliance.