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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Yan

Case Study - Healing & Spiritual Transformation

Updated: May 27, 2020


Andi was a cancer patient who had, amongst many other health challenges, multiple myeloma (not achieving remission) and acute renal failure (end stage). I had a chance to work with her before she passed. The first time I met her was at a hospital cancer infusion suite. She requested for acupuncture because she was experiencing nausea, anxiety and migraine headaches due to taking medications. It was her first encounter with acupuncture.


In the initial visit, Andi looked very weak, she could hardly open her eyes and had a dull complexion. Her shen (Spirit) was not very present. Her voice was very weak when she spoke and seemed to have difficulty taking deep breaths. Her pulse was weak and deep, and her tongue was dry, dusky and had cracks in the middle. On palpating her forearm, she seemed to exhibit a Spleen and Kidney organ networks pattern.

Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment plan

  • Chief complaints: Nausea, anxiety and migraines due to chemo medication

  • Chinese medicine diagnosis: Kidney and Spleen deficiency. Due to the weakness of her Kidney, and her Shen was not being rooted.

  • Treatment principle: Tonify Spleen and Kidney organ networks, calm and root the Shen.

  • Treatment Plan: Since it was the patient’s first acupuncture treatment and her pulse was deficient, I wanted to use less needles and be careful not to over-treat. I decided to focus on the most pressing chief concerns. I used the following acupuncture points:

PC 6 - for nausea.

SP 4 – master, couple point pair with PC 6, and focuses on the Chongmai.

DU 20, Du 24 – to calm and root the Shen

GB 7 – migraine headache.

The needles were inserted and retained for 10 minutes. When I returned to remove the needles, the patient reported that she felt better with her symptoms. She did not feel as nauseated.

Follow up – The patient returned a week later and reported that the previous acupuncture treatment was very helpful. She said she felt “cleansed” at a deep level, and her digestive system was better. She reported that she did not feel nauseated for 2 days after the treatment. On following up with the treatment, I noticed that the patient’s complexion had more luster, and her chest seemed more opened. Her pulse was in general stronger. The treatment I gave her in this next session included more needles and lasted longer.


Andi returned for weekly acupuncture treatments with me for over a year. She started feeling stronger, and reported being able to take walks and exercise on her treadmill, her moods improved and she had less anxiety. The high point was when she took a trip with her loved ones to the beach to celebrate her birthday. Throughout the year, some days she was doing better, and other days when her cancer cell count was not so great, she was sad and dejected. Her daughter accompanied her during every treatment and I started giving acupuncture to her as well, to help ease the burden of being the primary caregiver. Eventually, a year and a half into treatment, Andi was admitted into palliative care. She told me she was not afraid of dying, but was more worried about leaving her daughter behind. The final treatment I gave Andi was a week before her passing. I used the acupuncture points PC6 and TW 5, and the names of these points were Inner gate and Outer gate. It was designed to help her let go of her worries and find peace in her transition.


Although acupuncture did not “cure” Andi of cancer, I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with her before she passed. I witnessed the healing in her life by how she had found peace and courage to move through her transition with grace. This is an example of how acupuncture can be helpful with healing and spiritual transformation in one’s life.


Treatment tools used - Acupuncture needles Silverstar brand n3610, Gemstone rings Gemisphere Emerald and Light Green Aventure, Essential oil Snow Lotus Rose oil, Tuning forks Earth Ohm frequency.

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