Channel palpation is a classical diagnostic technique that is described in the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). This diagnostic method, however, was slowly discarded over time due to a growing sense of conservatism in the upper echelons of society. Today channel palpation has been enjoying a revival due to the work of the late Wang Ju-Yi and his students. In channel palpation one skims along the 14 major channels with the inner aspect of the thumb to identify a wide array of possible channel changes (abnormalities) such as: changes in muscle texture, differences in temperature and moisture, and nodules. Based on their nature, these channel changes have been correlated with symptoms and Chinese medicine patterns. Although these findings have been substantiated by clinical experience and results, little formal research has been done to confirm these findings.
While most channel changes must be discovered through palpation, there are some that can be seen with the naked eye. Among these is a large nodule at Shenmen HE-7 that can be seen with the proper manipulation of a patient’s wrist. Prior research has not associated this nodule with any specific condition, although the clinical experience of Wang Ju-Yi and his students has suggested that it may be related to heightened levels of anxiety. Anxiety, though a commonly occurring emotion, can become a psychological disorder when it becomes constant. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychological disorders in the world. While anxiety disorders are not always easy to diagnose, psychometrics like the GAD7 questionnaire have been found useful in diagnosing generalised anxiety disorder.
This article presents research that examined the diagnostic relationship between a visible nodule at the acupuncture point Shenmen HE-7 and anxiety. Three cohorts were tested, two of which consisted of university students and one of inpatients at a Chinese medicine hospital cardiology ward. In all three cohorts, the area of Shenmen HE-7 was checked in each individual to see if the visible nodule was present, after which they were given the GAD7 questionnaire to determine the severity of their anxiety. When all of the data was compiled using statistical software, the GAD7 scores of subjects with the visible nodule at Shenmen HE-7 were compared with those of subjects who did not have the nodule using an independent t-test. A statistically significant (p < 0.05) relationship between the visible nodule at Shenmen HE-7 and anxiety was found. The effect size of the relationship was found to be large (D > 0.8). This research suggests that there is a correlation between the visible nodule at Shenmen HE-7 and anxiety.
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