Centrepoint Acupuncture, Roger Thompson, Acupuncture Townsville, Chinese medicine Townsville

The Power of the Pulse


Feeling the pulses before commencing acupuncture treatment is like shining a torch at night on the path you wish to follow. Not only does it illuminate the direction you need to travel, but also highlights possible obstacles that may litter the path,

For example it can help to differentiate between whether a headache is caused by an excess or deficiency of circulation to the head, or if a digestive upset is due to involvement of the liver rather than just an issue related to the stomach.

Where there are multiple possible causes to a condition, feeling the pulses and interpreting their feedback helps to steer the treatment to a successful conclusion. Not all headaches or migraines are treated the same, nor are menstrual pains, digestive upsets or joint pains.

Being trained to feel the pulses and take on board what they have to offer allows the cause of these issues to be discerned. Once the cause is addressed the symptoms begin to look after themselves.

Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) also explains the link between the emotions and the organs. If the pulse of a particular organ is demonstrating imbalance this can open the door to a deeper understanding of the patient. An example of this was a person who presented with persistent lung problems that appeared without any obvious external cause or past history.

As the emotion of sadness is related to the lungs I asked her if that could be a probable cause, a factor in her life. She then told me of a situation which explained her lung issues. She had become close to her partner’s father who was ill. Some time later she was estranged from her partner who did not inform her of his father’s subsequent death and funeral. It was after discovering what had happened that her lung problems started.

Once I was able to explain the effect of grieving and sadness on the lung energy, she was more able to reconcile her emotional state and regain better lung health.

Pulse interpretation followed by investigation through the framework of TCM facilitated this result. Even if I’m sure of what’s going on, I’ll still want to feel the pulses as they are an invaluable tool in the pursuit of good treatment.


Reflections In The Mirror Of Time

Centrepoint Acupuncture, Roger Thompson, Acupuncture Townsville, Chinese medicine Townsville


Our time is precious and can never be reclaimed or regained. Time wasted is a misery, spent wisely it’s a marvel. In the words of William Penn,

” Time is what we want most, but….what we use worst ”

Having spent my fair share of sitting in waiting rooms as my appointment time slips off into the distant past, I wondered why this occurs and how it can be remedied.

In the context of my acupuncture clinic I view the patient as the sum of many parts. Time, in relation to the clinic, can be viewed likewise.

The divisions are as follows :

Our appointments – divisions of time.

Clocks – our measurement of time

Focus – our use of time

Action – our movement through time

A practitioner whose appointments run on time shows respect for those who make the appointments. To run on time, also needs awareness of it’s passage and response to the divisions. To focus in the appointment we need to keep our eye on the intention of the visit. Whilst being sociable is desireable, cutting to the chase has to underpin interaction between therapist and patient. Action in the clinic, from tongue and pulse diagnosis to needle insertion, or any other treatment, is the final piece of the puzzle. This part is most dependent on all that has gone before, by spending enough time to understand what is the best course of action. Sometimes this can only become apparent by allowing the consultation to unfold.

All of the above is just a breakdown of the precursors to the organic unfolding that occurs during a consultation. By having an understanding of these structures, it allows latitude when dealing with the complexities of human suffering and the many methods of alleviating it.

If you wonder why I would write this, relect on the words of John F Kennedy…

” We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch ”


It’s Not Rude To Show Me Your Tongue

Centrepoint Acupuncture, Roger Thompson, Acupuncture Townsville, Chinese medicine Townsville

Observing the tongue and feeling the pulse are cornerstones of diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Many of us were told as kids that it was rude to poke tongues. In the clinical context it can be a great help in determining the cause of an ailment.

Asking a patient to show me their tongue elicits a range of responses from immediate confession of foods just eaten to childlike defiance or inquiry as to what can be interpreted from such examination.

The colour and shape of the tongue body plus the colour consistency and distribution of the tongue coating reveal much about the state of someone’s health.

In his book Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine, Giovanni Macioca explains this method of diagnosis has been detailed in China since 403 BC and refined and expanded ever since (1997).

The advantages of tongue diagnosis over pulse taking are numerous. Firstly, the tongue body colour almost always reflects the true condition of the patient, as it and the tongue coating are relatively unaffected by short-term events or recent changes, such as a disturbing experience or vigorous exercise just before the consultation.

The tongue can be a useful gauge for monitoring improvement or decline of a patient’s condition; the tongue body colour more useful in chronic ( long-term ) conditions and the coating more useful in acute ( short-term ) conditions.

The correspondence of different areas of the tongue body to different organs is a subject of fairly general agreement.

Tongue diagnosis is relatively objective compared to pulse as distinguishing a certain colour is easier than the quality of a pulse.

Compared to pulse diagnosis,tongue diagnosis is easy to learn. It’s limitation compared to pulse reading is it’s lack of precision in differentiation of presenting signs and symptoms. Only by combining both tongue and pule taking can the practitioner have access to the full picture of a patient’s health.

Finally, please don’t clean or brush your tongue before a consultation as you’ll be destroying the vital indicators needed to make a complete diagnosis.



Painless Needle Insertion


Much is said about the use of special needles ( usually superfine ) to allow painless insertion during acupuncture treatment.This approach however,ignores a crucial factor…the need for practitioner skill.To use a motoring analogy,only a good driver will get good lap times at the racetrack – in any car.

Over the course of 30+ years of practice,one of the main causes of painful insertion I’ve noted is patient tiredness.In this case the insertions have an increased tendency to be sharp,and so I vary my technique to allow for this.

Learning on the job is an integral part of being a successful acupuncturist,and the lessons learned from treating myself have been invaluable;way beyond my original training.I am my harshest critic,so any technical deficiencies encountered are forensically dealt with.

Through this process,I’ve developed strategies that encompass communication and co-operation with each patient that ultimately lead to their empowerment.Thus,even though there may be occasional sharpness,the treatment isn’t painful.

Ode to Acupuncture

A – cupuncture, the Ancient Wisdom,

Still in demand these modern days.

C  – HI, invisible, precious energy,

That may be blocked or has gone astray.

U – nder Roger’s needle-artistry, patients submit trustingly to their magic.

To miss out on such natural potency really would be tragic…

P – ain is a fear

That can turn some folk off,

U – ntil you’ve actually tried it, however,

who are you to scoff????

N – eedles, oh so dainty,

So fine and so neat.

C – HI cannot resist them

and so swiftly admit defeat.

T – ranquil and relaxed patients wait

While the needles do their stuff

U – niversal energies deem

When enough is just enough

R – oger’s the resident Practitioner,

To give the artist a name

E – nriching and enhancing energy flow

is his path’s rewarding game.