I have countlessly witnessed Dr. He perform his Muscle Channel Technique (MCT) on his patients. The theory of which is to place needles distally and subdermally to direct the flow of Qi or vascular fluid toward another needle placed at or near the sight of pain or injury, often retaining the subdermal needle. A simple idea, which Frank makes look simple. As a new practitioner I have also performed this technique quite a few times, as well as experienced it myself from other practitioners, and have found it to be effective. Recently I have had the privilege to learn this technique more than just directly from the source, but also on the expert himself.
For those people who are not practitioners or experienced patients, what must be understood is that practitioners are very sensitive and self aware of their bodies. We can actually feel if a needle is working. This awareness only gets more and more fine tuned as time goes on. So one can only imagine how sensitive Dr. He can be to proper needling and technique after 30 years of practice. In addition at university, very early on students practice on each other. This quickly teaches technique on forgiving patients, but also often results in hypersensitivity to needles from a concentration of novice needling. Dr. He is one of these people.
We begin our lesson on Gb 39, a point located on the outside of the leg just above the ankle to treat a lateral ankle sprain, strained peroneus muscle and tight iliotibial band. We also needled Ub 59, a point located at the lower end of the lateral head of the calf to treat a strained hamstring. The key, Dr. He explains is to “go slow, insert and advance the needle a small amount along the channel than retract half that distance, in and out, in and out.” I proceed to follow his instructions, advancing the needle far slower than I had ever done before. Every time I started to advance the needle he would stop me, “even slower” he would say “even slower, imagine a pool stick you’re setting up a shot”.
By slowly setting up the “pool stick” it is creating a path of trajectory, teaching the body to accept the needle at the site, and influencing or opening up the channel further and further towards the injury. This is confirmed by dimpling at the origin of insertion and very slight movements of the skin of the channel upon manipulation of the needle.
I must admit, to use MCT to this level is easier said than done despite how simple Dr. He makes it look. The delicate nature of performing this technique was ingrained in me even further when we held a Continuing Education Class (CEU) teaching MCT to other practitioners. I got to be the patient, this time with a deeper understanding of this technique. It confirmed what Dr. He told me during our lesson, that most practitioners are too eager on insertion, even those who have been using MCT in their practice for years. This results in less specific trajectory to the injury as well as more discomfort in retaining the needle.
Yet again, I find myself in a great state of gratitude. Most practitioners do not get the opportunity to study so closely with a Master, let alone treat him. At Hecares Integrative Medicine Center I learn over and over the true meaning of Team. Team is not only helping and supporting one another, it is also to learn from one another, to be better together than as an individual. I will continue to learn from Dr. He our team leader so we can better reach out patient community.
Angelica Campanale, L. Ac.