Getting to the core by Tina MacNaughton


When I was training to be an acupuncturist at CICM, I remember being told that if a practitioner ‘really got to the core of a person’, both emotionally and physically, everything else would fall into place.

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I recently had a request to help a woman in her late forties who was suffering from acne rosacea. She was in a hurry to begin treatment and rushed into my clinic flustered and out of breath. She explained that she had dropped her four kids off to school, driven over to the other side of the city to pick up some new cushions – all before a 10am appointment! 

Her voice was loud and strong (almost shouting), her pulses overall wiry and thin and her tongue was pale with a red tip. Her face was flushed and she had fast and jerky hand movements. She pressed me for a treatment schedule and wanted fast results. 

I had already provisionally diagnosed the patient as a wood CF from her voice on the phone and after meeting her I felt confident I was on the right track.

CICM the five elements

‘The Causative Factor, known as CF, is one of the most important concepts in Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture. J.R. Worsley used the phrase ‘Causative Factor’ because as it is the primary imbalance it ’causes’ other Elements to become imbalance’ 

Hicks, Hicks & Mole.

After a consultation, damp-heat and blood deficiency concluded my Chinese medicine diagnosis. My treatment focused on treating the CF and harmonising wood. Points included LIV3, GB34 & 41 SP 6/9 and LI4 & 11 helped to resolve damp-heat. Du 20, Yin Tang & Tai Yang were included to clear heat from the face and head. 

Treatment ended with nourishing blood, with the help of LIV8 or HT7, and sometimes a point on the Ren channel. Along with careful point selection, I discussed blood nourishing foods with the patient, and encouraged the increase of these in her diet. As the patient was peri-menopausal, with her periods becoming heavier, I suggested she request a blood test at her GP surgery to check her iron levels.

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We also discussed time-management and her continued problem with trying to pack far too much into the day. She confided that she was always late and often felt stressed and unsatisfied, as she rarely had enough time to finish anything properly.

Her pulses responded well to treatment on the wood element. As our treatments progressed, her time-management improved with her turning up on time for her acupuncture appointments. She made some lifestyle choices so that she was not constantly putting herself under pressure and could enjoy life a little more. After 3 or 4 sessions, the redness was beginning to lessen and she announced she felt ‘less hot’ and calmer. 

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‘Many of the most dramatic and profound changes that patients can experience from acupuncture treatment are achieved by focusing treatment on it (CF).’

Hicks, Hicks & Mole

After 6 sessions, her skin looked much better and she arrived for her appointment with a big bunch of flowers and a smile on her face. 

“Thank you” she said. “I feel you have put me on the right path.”

I smiled to myself – In that moment, I understood the real power behind CF diagnosis and the importance of ‘getting to the core’ of a person.

Tina MacNaughton
Tina MacNaughton

Tina graduated as an acupuncturist from the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in 2009.

Tina holds a Post-Graduate diploma in Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Fertility (CICM) along with diplomas in both Counselling and Grief and Bereavement Counselling. She treats a lot of women’s health, mental and emotional health issues and back problems.