Cognitive Science of Acupuncture&Qi (5) The Effects of Strong Sensemaking Skills


While reading ancient Chinese medical texts and listening to stories about personal experience from acupuncture doctors, I'm very often confused cognitive psychology with acupuncture. Rather, I deem acupuncture to be a kind of applied cognitive psychology. In fact, history of acupuncture is much longer than that of cognitive psychology....

Huangdi Neijing (黄帝内経Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor) is one of the oldest Chienese medical texts. This text has been imported to Japan (estimated in the 6th Century) from China through the Korea Peninsula.

Huangdi Neijin mainly consists of two parts: The Suwen (素問Basic Questions) and the Lingshu (霊枢Spiritual Pivot) . The former is the text about the dialogue between the Yellow Emperor and his ministers. This text deals with basic medical theories. The latter is about acupuncture skills and clinical cases.

You can find the Chinese senstenses next to the photo above. It can be read,

'The important thing when you insert the needle into the patient is to hold the needle firmly with your fingers and boost your concentration. bear in your mind that the patient's inner conditions such as mind, spirituality and vitality are always changing subtly.'

The crucial point is that the acupuncture doctor must makes sense of such subtle changes and insert the needles into the right acupuncture points. In other words, this sentense is about sensemaking in cognitive psychology. If the acupuncture doctor has poor sensemaking skills, that will cause misdiagnosis. treatment is less effective or even harmful.

Moreover, acute five senses will help the acupuncture doctor predict accurate diagnosis before seeing the patient.

For instance, according to the textbook of the Hokusinkai acupuncture society, President Renpu Fujimoto stated that he has acute sense of smelling. Although Dr. Fujimoto is 3 to 5m (10 to 16 ft.) away from the patient, he can diagnose the patient suffer from uremia. Body odor is one of the useful information sources.

From his personal story, it can be concluded that strong sesemaking skills and acute senses lead to probable prediction. If the prediction is more reasonable, the acupuncture doctor does not have to gather all possible information about the patient's health condition. The doctor can reduce the amount of the information and accurately amke a diagnosis.

Strong sensemaking skills and acute senses --these are necessary talents to become experienced acupuncture doctors.

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