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Injury from Electric Shock - treatment protocols / ensuing pattern suggestions


I am a shiatsu therapist, but my treatment protocols are based upon the framework of TCM, so I imagine I'll get some thoughtful and helpful responses from this acupuncture forum. I currently have a client with an interesting injury that lead to his current string of seemingly typical yin deficient symptoms. He was electrocuted a year and a half ago while working a job when he was up on a utility pole. Since then (he had none of these symptoms before the incident) he has suffered from chronic and often extreme anxiety, insomnia, depression, PTSD, whole body general pain (nerve and muscle), and occipital headaches. The unexpected thing is that he generally runs cold and often asks me to turn the heat up in the room. I'd like to know what everyone here thinks would be a typical TCM pattern resulting from electrocution. I'd think yin deficiency, specifically Kidney Xu. Ultimately what I'd like to know is what electrocution does energetically to the body from a TCM standpoint. (I have looked for case studies for this type of injury and in my text books, and nothing at all comes up for electric shock.) If anyone has worked with treating this type of injury in the past I'd greatly appreciate any input. He's coming to me to help with the anxiety and PTSD, and I'd like to really be able to get to the root of his problem.




My general feeling after reading your post which you may not like is that you are cautiously over stepping your bounds as a shiatsu therapist which could have legal implications if the wrong patient decides to pursue that route after getting a result they don&#39t like. What you are doing is probably not technically illegal but you are straddling an edge that I wouldn&#39t want to straddle as a professional. You should consider going to acupuncture school and getting a proper license if you are drawn to that mode of treatment.

Onto your patient. This is definitely a unique case and I doubt there is a great understanding of what happens to the body from a TCM perspective. As with any case, however, you simply treat what you see - not what you expect to see, think you should see, or want to see. A patient like this should probably first be referred to a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist for proper evaluation. Ideally if you have a relationship with this practitioner and have the patients consent you could then discuss the best options for the patient.

All that said, the trick with everything, shiatsu and TCM, is to completely step away from your assumptions and what you feel should be their diagnosis and treat only what you see. If the patient has no heat signs they most likely do not have yin deficiency. You can also get anxiety and insomnia from many other patterns on both the deficient and the excess side so proper diagnosis is key. But again, as you are not practicing TCM, you should focus on the abdominal/meridian diagnosis and just treat what you see, just like any other patient.


Thank you for your response, Chad! First of all, I completely agree with you: Acupuncture would be the ideal treatment for my client to receive. I&#39ve asked him repeatedly each week if he&#39s made his appointment with an acupuncturist in town he&#39s been trying to go to, but for some reason she hasn&#39t gotten back to him and he stopped pursuing the appointment. Secondly, I do not practice Zen shiatsu, which I understand may have more emphasis on meridian diagnosis, but I was trained in Anma Shiatsu with a foundation in TCM, and my theory and practice includes tongue and pulse diagnosis ( I trained at the CenterPoint School for Massage and Shiatsu Therapy). We also learned cupping, guasha, moxa, etc. These adjunct therapies are within my scope of practice, and my insurance covers me for them as well. (I am a recent graduate though, and always looking for more information from more experienced practitioners!) I do not practice direct moxibustion or (obviously) bleeding cupping on my clients. This client is seeing me via a health study where he comes to see me for x amount of weeks. Included in treatment options are acupuncture, and he actually chose that as well as shiatsu, but unfortunately the acupuncturist never scheduled him in for whatever reason. (About 5 weeks have passed now.) I have told him that going to an acupuncturist would most likely help him, and that shiatsu and acupuncture will certainly compliment each other if both practitioners are pursuing treatment of the same patterns. It certainly would be nice to collaborate with the acupuncturist on his case if/when he ever does see her. My main question, aside from any of my client&#39s symptoms, or my client at all, is where electric shock fits into the TCM paradigm. I see where repetetive injuries, overwork, lack of exercise, overeating, irregular eating, supressed emotions, old injuries, etc. etc. can fit into different organ pathologies and TCM patterns, but have you (or any practitioners on this board) any experience working with someone with electric shock injury, or have you ever read any case studies in which the client suffered from this type of injury? Any additional info would be great!

Thanks and God bless,



I also have a client that experienced electric shock and he has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs disease due to his symtoms .He is in a wheel chair. I have foiund imbalances in his nervous system and have been correcting them with some success.



Thank you, Norma. it&#39s so sad to see how far-reaching the effects of this type of injury can be. Glad to hear you&#39re having success in treating him :) I&#39ve read that depression and anxiety are common effects of electric shock, and that also kidney failure may result. With my client his brain and nervous system in general were affected (from his symptoms). Other than psychological changes his main complaint is muscle pain. No organ damage that he knows of. I&#39ve been mainly focusing on Kidney and Heart. I&#39ve been able to make progress with his digestive complaints, muscle pain, and insomnia to some degree, but the anxiety is still very bad for him.


I have been exploring different kinds of energy to stimulate the bio-energy system as I have found some very innovative technegues implimented by Tom Tam in his practice. The TMC did not have much chance stimulating sights on the scull because of the heavy bone Tom Tam has been using energy effectively in this area. I would suggest you add this to your impressive knowledge. I find his diligence in record keeping admirable. I have to do some research to find the exact sight he suggests for post trauma issues. I believe that it is just above cervical vertabra 1. A chiropractor I have read also uses this sight to relieve some of his clients suffering from accident trauma, using a lazer pen. The lazer pen was very interesting to my self and a friend [a chiropractor] but after some reseach we settled on something very different. As I had purchased a bio-energetic instrument used to bring my auto-immune illness into submision I was able to test the effect of different energies on individuals and animals.

May you prosper in your healing ministry



In studying the initial trauma and it effects on the physical body, the muscle spasms would probably cause damage and blockages of the phrenic nerve in the cervical region. as well as the rest of the spine. Chiropractic adjustment chi gong excersizes and tui na all may help, along with acupuncture. I believe when some one is in terrible pain we should use the whole bag of tools. Our bodies as wonderful as they are were not for this kind of trauma,in many cases bones have been broken from elctric shock.

Be A Blessing


Thanks for the point recommendations. I didn&#39t know that GB 34 was useful for nervous system damage. I&#39d been focusing a lot on pc 6 but now I&#39m incorporating sp 4 more into his treatments. (I practice acupressure, not acupuncture, as I&#39m just an ABT.) While I&#39m not an herbalist and don&#39t prescribe or give herbs to my clients, I did recently read that Teasel Root is effective for healing nervous system damage and even injury from lightning shock. I&#39ve read that it&#39s also beneficial for the brain (which makes sense as it is also described as being a good yang tonic). I understand that Japanese Teasel Root is incorporated into TCM herbology as Xu Duan.

I&#39ve only read that Teasel Root can be beneficial for lightning shock from the following source below (It&#39s contained in the 3rd paragraph down from the top), but from its description of energetic actions and indications I&#39ve read elsewhere, I&#39d think it would likely help with it (both lightning electric shock and non-lightning electric shock).

It would be interesting to see if anyone&#39s client with any type of electric shock would benefit or has benefitted from using Xu Duan. Again, I don&#39t plan to prescribe any time in the near future (unless I go to school for tcm herbology) but I just though I&#39d explore the idea on this forum.

Thank you!

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