• Cristina R. de La Mar

First Weeks in Clinic: Rejoicing in the Familiar, Acclimating to the Change

Even while the world around us has changed so drastically, as Practitioners we are deeply soothed by returning to the familiar joy of practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Our first few weeks back in clinic took some getting used to -

but we're starting to find our new rhythm amidst the reality of such monumental "change" around us. Change that impacts everything - from the way we think through our treatment practices - to the way we interact-touch-communicate with our patients, and one another as Practitioners.

We've embraced the guidelines and precautions for COVID-19 prevention, with social distancing, the proper Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) for medical practitioners, revised policies and procedures, advanced sterilization implementation (i.e. Ultra-Violet-C technology, etc.). Yet, despite these changes - it's been

extraordinarily fulfilling to be working in clinic again! 

Okay, laugh at me . . . but, I find it soothing to ready the treatment surfaces around me (clean needle technique), preparing my needles, aligning them all daintily in my porcelain tray, cleaning the tables, placing the fresh table-paper on its surface.   I relish in the magic-window of feeling / listening to a patient's unique

pulses - in all twelve pulse positions (right and left sided, deep, surface, middle levels). The stories these pulses tell - reflecting everything from emotions to fluid volume to heart rate to blood pressure. Even thirst, body temperature, and pain levels can be assessed through pulse diagnosis. Pulse diagnosis is an art integral to Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM), that takes thousands and thousands of hours of practice for a Practitioner. It's an art we practice daily in our work - each pulse is a story, a mystery to discover, clues to the larger picture that a full assessment brings to light.

Every patient brings with them their concern - a physical and sometimes emotional issue - trusting in us our support of their health and healing process.


While "Tele-Medicine" was a great option during quarantine - there is nothing quite like the face-to-face interaction, or the seeing-touching-feeling that takes place when we work in-person. What you tell us matters, what you write down in your Health History forms adds context. But sight, touch and feel are core assessment tools in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - which tell their own piece of your story - beyond your words.

I have missed this engagement, and find myself savoring my time with patients in clinic. As the world around us unfurrals, and you begin to venture out a bit more - know that I very much look forward to seeing-touching-feeling you again soon!

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