Qiological Community

What does Sa'am NOT work for?

Reading Daniel’s post on Kiiko style working when Sa’am fails, bring up this question I’ve been wanting to ask you Sa’am seasoned folks:

What does Sa’am NOT work for?
Of course the diagnosis, needle placement, and individual patient’s response will determine each case, but are there general categories for which you’ve not seen a response?

Specifically, I’ve wondered about:
-Severe dermatology cases eg psoriasis covering 60% of the body; or longstanding atopic eczema; or pompholyx eczema with extreme dryness and fissuring

-Neurological conditions eg Parkinson’s

-What are people’s experiences with debilitating daily migraines?

-Severe depression/anxiety/other emotional conditions?

-Other areas where there’s no or barely lukewarm response?

I suspect the answer is complex and may have more to do with the person than with the illness or condition.

I agree with Daniel. It’s more the patient than specific conditions. Very severe conditions sometimes respond incredibly well to Saam.

Hi Fang,
I would love to have an answer to this from Toby or Kristin. I had a Parkinson’s patient who had very little response to any of my acupuncture or herbs. It seemed like his body could not receive the input. I saw him during the year that I did only Sa’am. He came very regularly so I had the chance to rethink and try different approaches. Was it something about his Parkinson’s?
I am curious as to the answers to the other diseases you mention. What have you found?

This forum is a community of kindergartners so none of us can really answer that question for you. We can just give you our very, very limited experience. High school level Toby has mentioned that he doesn’t do well with tinnitus or finger pain.
I did have one patient with a combo of finger arthritis and carpal tunnel who did well with Saam approaches. My tinnitus patients have only had temporary or partial relief.

This is consistent with my experience. The grosser the presentation, the easier the diagnosis and the clearer the treatment effects. Healthy, generally well balanced people are often so much harder to diagnose and treat because they often have a collection of mild signs that don’t speak loudly of one or two excesses.
I will reemphasize Sally’s sometimes, because I don’t always get it right.

Saam is awesome for dermatological issues in my experience. I don’t see a huge number of derm cases but I have a few cases of chronic disabling atopic and pompholyx eczema, maybe more moderate than truly severe, that Mazin and Sharon style herbal approaches were managing. On the herbs, they continued to have periodic relapses and the skin was never 100% healthy looking. They are now cured in that they haven’t had relapses for 1 year and their skin is beautiful and very resilient without any herbal support.
Fang, I can’t speak to the other conditions that you mentioned because I haven’t seen them since practicing Saam.

Toby mentions that outcomes are determined by 4 factors. The first 2 we can control somewhat: correct diagnosis and correct treatment. I say somewhat because, again, there is more to this system that we haven’t learned yet.
The second 2 are out of our hands: strength of the constitution and strength of the pathology. To pathology, we have to consider aggravating factors, eg environment exposures or demands.

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Thanks for everyone’s input. Kristin, it’s great to hear about the derm success. I saw an 80yo F patient yesterday, CC pompholyx eczema, who I’ve had little success with in using Mazin’s herbal approaches b/c she keeps having diarrhea at the doses that I think are needed for her skin. I’m going to take a break from herbs and see how much headway we can make Saam instead.

Previous to this (i.e. 1month ago), I typically didn’t do acupuncture at all with the moderate-severe derm cases, but now finally feel like I have some tools to affect the 5 elements in their skin. A few days ago, I saw a severe psoriasis case. Even though he didn’t identify as a person who feels hot (he even dislikes a/c), his skin lesions just looked SO HOT. The heat was scorching the blood. So I did UB+, without telling him what I was trying to do, and a few minutes in, he said, “I feel like someone turned down the thermostat in my body”. Fortunately, it’ll be a few days until he receives his herbs from Kamwo, so I’ll check in before that to see if that cold water feeling lasted with only acupuncture.

Dammit! I’m working hard on 2 tinnitus cases. One is the dizzy pretty lady with vertigo, and another one is a longtime patient who’s desperate for some relief. Does anyone else have helpful ideas about treatment of tinnitus?

(Finger pain actually responds beautifully to Yuan Qi style acupuncture, ala Suzanne Rubidoux.)

Sharon, what’s your experience with Parkinson’s in general? I have very little personal experience as I typically don’t take on mod-advanced neuro cases. Of everything I’ve ever seen, I’m still convinced that the yin tuina of Janice Walton-Hadlock is the most useful for getting to the root of PD.

The conditions I listed are on the short list of things that I typically would not take on with acupuncture. Some of the case examples Toby gave in his class fall under that category (inability to sense temperature; beng lou, extreme cloudy urination - I would have said these are herbal cases). So I’m trying to expand my understanding of “what can acupuncture treat”, but be realistic about it.

As far as I can tell, most cases of tinnitus don’t respond to anything.

yes, I’ve had some really enduring dermatological conditions respond well to Sa’Am. Just finished with a woman whose main complaint was conception (trying for 2 years with no success) - but her case included decades of eczema all up and down the right side of her body. After three treatments, the eczema was gone and never came back - by the way, we did 8 treatments over two months and she called just today to report she is pregnant! (It was a lovely case because on intake, she had about 4 or 5 ‘gross things’ presenting and one by one over 5 or 6 weeks, they just all disappeared and then the news today).


Ed Neal says that tinnitus is easily treated by releasing muscles around the ear, including the little tiny muscles directly around the ear.
Janice Hadlock talked about adjusting the temporal bone as a sure fire way of treating it.
My attempts using their methods didn’t bring about lasting changes but that might have been a function of my skill level.

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‘sure fire’, ‘easily treated’ . . . . hmmmm. Seems to be a tad ‘hyperbolic’ in stark contrast to widespread experience. I’m open to anything being possible. But my healthy skepticism here is definitely in full operation! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Tinnitus is a sign of chronic dehydration. Patients with recalcitrant tinnitus should drink more / better quality water (may need to add a pinch of sea salt for minerals).

Tinnitus is a very complex amalgam of processes going awry; I don’t think it can be boiled down to just chronic dehydration. As a person who suffers from Tinnitus I can attest to the constantly changing nature of the affliction. It’s real detective work.

My Meniere’s Disease however I was able to treat successfully with herbs :slight_smile:

As another person with chronic tinnitus for 15 years, the only thing that has helped is hearing aids. Turns out for me it is a congenital hearing loss and the symptom of the nerve damage is tinnitus. With the hearing aids, I just hear lots of other things so the tinnitus is not such a bother. The only time I don’t hear it is when the peepers are singing in the spring which will be starting in a couple of weeks here in Maine. One of my favorite things, peepers!

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I too suspect that tinnitus is more than a lack of fluids. And I’ve found it to be one of the most difficult issues to treat. I’ve been consistently unsuccessful at getting improvement for anyone, including myself.

If anyone can crack the code on treating this condition it would be valuable contribution to our field. Not to mention fill up your clinic calendar until you retire.