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Pulse tells it all


Sunday July 11, 1999


By URSULA THOMA for The Regina Sun

Gently placing the tips of his first three index fingers on the inside of my right wrist, Dr. Wancheng Liu gazes into space, not abstractly, but with a look of focus and concentration.

He does not speak, only nods his head and makes “mmm” sounds. Liu is not a mystic. He is a world renowned acupuncturist with his Ph.D. in acupuncture from a medical school in China.

He practices what he refers to as “pulse diagnosis.” Without my saying a word, he uses his fingertips to “see into my internal physical self. The strength and heat of my pulse reveals to him things that cannot be seen by looking at my external self. He asks no questions, but changes the position of his fingertips slightly and increases the pressure of his fingers on my wrist. Minor alterations in his facial expression tell me that he is visualizing my internal organs.

Next he repeats the process on my left wrist this time getting a “feel” for different organs and again, simply nodding his head. At this point, I am somewhat baffled and a little unnerved, Like most people undergoing a form of diagnosis, I am impatient and want answers right away.

Patiently, Liu repeats the process on both wrists, now making comments such as “your kidneys are fine” and “your lungs are good.” I am relieved to hear these things, but am still apprehensive, waiting for the bad news. Isn’t there always bad news when you’re seeing a doctor?

But there is no bad news, not in the sense that is normally delivered by doctors. Liu quietly and calmly makes observations about the state of my health.

I am taking a risk in writing this article about my personal experience with an acupuncturist. Journalists rarely make themselves part of the story. It goes against everything we are taught about keeping ourselves out of the story, about being objective and making sure to get both sides of the story. In this case, I feel it is important to speak of my personal experience, because when I read that Liu could analyze my health by simply taking my pulse, I was, to say the least, skeptical like any good journalist should be).

My skepticism vanished as he began to describe all of the major health problems I have experienced over the past year.

You have problems here,” he said, pointing to his stomach. “But mostly here,” this time pointing to his lower abdomen.

“Yes,” I said, feeling amazed and in awe that he could tell these things by simply taking my pulse.

I have had severe gastrointestinal problems for almost a year now, undergoing tests and only guessing at what the real problem may be. I will continue to be tested for various possible answers. I trust and have faith in the doctors who have treated me and tried to find the solution to my problems. I know they are concerned and want to find an answer as badly as I do.

Liu now asks questions about the state of my health, asking me if I have trouble sleeping at night, if I sweat in my sleep and if I get nervous from time to time. I answer yes to all his questions, still wondering how he could know these things about me. It was like having one’s tarot cards read, you simply cannot believe that someone could know such intimate things about you without your having said a word.

Then comes the litmus test. I tell him I want him to place a needle anywhere on my body.

The background information I received stated that Liu had developed a technique for the painless insertion of the needle. This time I was really nervous, not being fond of needles at the best of times.

I lie down and place my arm straight out, anticipating pain and discomfort. Instead what I feel is only a sensation, no pain.

“You have to have sensation for there to be an effective cure,” Liu says. Unlike other acupuncturists, Liu does not attach electrodes to the needles. It is unnecessary, he says, if the needles are placed properly.

“I can manipulate the needle to create a different effect,” he says, twisting the needle between his fingers and thumb.

Again, I feel no pain, but could most definitely feel the difference in the sensation in my arm.

I can see why this man has made it into the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, one of a handful of acupuncturists to have done so.

Following is a list of Liu’s credentials:

Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine, 1976

Masters degree in acupuncture, 1984 Ph.D. in acupuncture, 1990

Vice-President, Hungarian Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Member,

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada Member, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals Published several works on the use of acupuncture.

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