Sounds like a chinese board game doesn’t it, but for those in the know it’s actually an aspect of Chinese medicine dating back over 3,300 years. I was introduced to QiGong just recently by Kerry who had been introduced to Dr. David Smith. David is the first American Medical Qigong Doctor on record in China to be recognized for using External Qigong for the purpose of pain relief and healing, you can check out his website for his background – pretty impressive and a really interesting guy to meet.
I’m a big believer in fate; things generally happen for a reason. The fact that Kerry was introduced to David recently through her work, that he lives in Walnut Creek just up the road from us, and happens to be a QiDong Doctor with 20+ years of experience who has successfully helped many amputees with phantom pain…well you get the point and so this is my first experiment in easing my phantom pain.
A couple of you sent me some great info in response to my last post, many thanks. The article by The Welcome Trust on phantom limb pain was interesting and spoke to use of mirror therapy and other techniques to try to shift the emphasis in phantom limb pain away from the site of damage – the stump – to the centre of pain processing: the brain. Another article, emailed to me by a friend, from
the Economist (requires subscription I’m afraid) talked about retracted phantoms. Patients with extended phantoms showed activity in the hand area of
a part of the brain called the motor cortex. This response is identical to that shown by un-amputated volunteers asked to do the same thing. Those with halfway
retracted and completely retracted phantoms had different responses. They showed activity in the elbow and shoulder
areas of the motor cortex respectively. In other words, a greater degree of retraction involves a greater re-wiring of the brain. And the greater the retraction, the worse the pain.
As I read this I started to realize that the sensations in my hand were in deed retracted, almost as if my hand was attached directly to my stump (sans wrist). Also, I realized that my hand felt as if it was tightly clenched in a fist, as it was at the time of the accident (I had to prise my fingers open to get the brake handle of my glider out of it).
All this speaks to what David told me when we first met, that the memory of my injury was stored in two places; the cells of my arm and the cells of my brain. He explained that his focus would be on the cellular memory of my brain, as this was the cause of my pain.
I first met David last week during Kerry’s session with him, he had invited me to come along for the experience and I decided to go back – today was my first session with him. I like to keep an open mind, mixed perhaps with a healthy dose of skepticism and it was with this attitude that I met David. He quite happily told me that it wasn’t necessary that I believe in what he would be doing for it to work, it would work regardless. He didn’t need me to go into a trance, or meditate and he wouldn’t be dancing around me waving his hands or hitting me on the head and telling me I was cured…did I mention he’s got quite a sense of humour.
Our first session was quite incredible to be honest, hard to explain the sensations I experienced but it was both a physical and emotional release. For the first time I started to feel my hand release a little and it felt like I could wiggle my finger tips…a promising start. I’ll be going back once a week for continued treatment and we’ll see where it ends up.