Common Sense, Carpal Tunnel Information, Treatment Options, and Acupuncture

February 28, 2007

In almost every large office, it seems that you pass someone wearing a wrist brace and a report of carpal tunnel. Some people suffer for years. Then, they may find that they did not get the most appropriate information or treatment.

If you search the web for “carpal tunnel treatment options”, a prominent site is published by the Mayo Clinic. The available progressive treatment options:

Splint or brace

Non-steroid anti-inflammatories

Cortisone injection

Surgery (open incision or endoscopic)

The same progression is listed on a number of similar sites such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

There is something missing here. For example, we know a number of people who have gotten excellent results using acupuncture procedures. These are real people, with actual experiences, but their treatment method seems to be ignored in the searched options.

This omission of information has to do with the way medicine is merchandised. If a physician or institution doesn’t sell the procedure, it’s not listed as an option. Other established procedures not available there may be mentioned with doubt or vague anecdotes. Disinformation may not be good medicine, but it is good marketing.

The sufferer must get the full background information himself. No one else will do it. The most reliable way is ask and learn from people who have had personal experience. It only takes a few questions and contacts to have access to the network of sufferers out there who have used acupuncture. Track down these professionals who have a record of excellent results treating carpal tunnel so that you can choose whether it fits into your treatment options. Anecdotes about unknown people, advertisements, commercial web references generally have little value.

Common Sense Approach to Treatment Options

Sufferers generally follow a prescribed program working through the options until the results are satisfactory. It is important to consider the options early, since after people begin a treatment or engage a physician, they tend to remain with it rather than evaluate new information and make a change.

With full information, different perspectives for treatment options can be considered. The objective is to reduce pain as fast as possible by working through the options in an appropriate order.

1. Methods with speed and no side effects

Acupuncture methods may not be familiar, but progress can be evaluated over a relatively short time period.

Braces and Splints

2. Drugs

Non-steroid anti-inflammatories, Cortisone injection

3. Invasive–Surgery

Open incision or Endoscopic

The important point is to recognize that no group will provide the sufferer with the full range of options available. However, to obtain information about less familiar methods, such as acupuncture, find the people who have had actual results and the professionals who did the treatment. Then use the information as appropriate .

Cold Remedies, Miso Soup, and the Influence of Advertising

February 19, 2007

There have not been many advertisements for miso soup. However, miso with scallions is a stronger cold medicine than most of the common remedies that are more profitable for the healthcare industry.

The ingredients in miso soup have a long record of warding off colds. Miso with scallions is an old Chinese herbal remedy. Its documentation goes back to the 4th century when the famous Chinese herbalist Ge Hong (284-363) wrote about it in a book “Zhou hou bei ji fang”, rendered in translation as “Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies.”

The soup has great value when used at the very first indication of a cold—headache, stuffy nose, slight fever, dry, scratchy throat. It should be taken immediately, not to even wait for the next meal. Then rest in bed, covered to induce sweating.

The first 4-6 hours are crucial. The formula can knock the cold out then, but later, after the cold develops, it’s too late. Other remedies are necessary.

It doesn’t matter if you believe this or not. Miso is just healthy food so anyone can try it for themselves and decide based on their own experience.

This information came to me recently. It worked. It is not described on the medical reference sites for colds on the web (i.e. Mayo Clinic, Wellness Letters etc.). Few people have ever heard this since there is no money to be made selling small amounts of soy bean paste and scallions. Perhaps someone will package it up, advertise, and sell it for a good profit. Then people may take notice.

In case you decide to try, here is the simplest recipe. Be sure to include the rootlets of the scallions.

Miso Soup


1 1/2 cups water.

1-2 Tablespoon Miso or red soy bean paste (usually sold in the refrigerated section).

6-8 green onions stalks also known as scallions, (white part) chopped. It is important to include the little rootlets from the scallions in the soup.


Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the miso & scallions.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes, no longer.

Lie down to rest covered up for a couple of hours to induce sweating.


Natural History, Natural Mind

February 16, 2007

(Zen and Science 3)

Few people visit the old exhibits, assembled before the age of computer interactions, that are found in every Natural History Museum. These display cases chronicle the history of understanding the earth. People of with extraordinary insight and dedication began to unravel the mystery of their home—the molten core (Oldham, 1906), ice ages and glaciers (Agassiz, 1840), Continental Drift (Taylor, 1908), magnetic pole reversals (Brunhes, 1906). Their names are largely forgotten but the extensions of their work are common knowledge to grade school students today.

This science began replacing ignorance with an understanding of the processes of nature. The processes of the earth were found to just occur naturally and continuously. Each event in the earth’s chronicle is independent, but interconnected. There can be no prediction of the results or direction. Just unceasing interconnected change. Nature operating in its own incomparable, perfect splendor.

Zen Comment:

Bodhidharma was a fifth century Buddhist monk credited with bringing Zen from India to China. His surviving writings are few, but to the point:

“The way is basically perfect, it does not require perfection.”


Human life is nature itself, not distinct or apart from it. Our activities are also the processes of nature.

Humans also have the gift to be conscious of these activities. Ideas about the activities arise. Ideas of progress, goals, comparisons, and judgments arise. It is easy to get caught up in these and to judge the result of the activity. Such ideas have their place, but the balance is often lost. Allowing these functions undue emphasis leads obscures the splendor of our own natural activities.

When fully present in the activity or process of the moment, there is no room for comparison, for ideas. It is complete. The perfection of the moment can be experienced.

How do we regain our natural gifts? Slow the mind to experience the natural process each in their own way.

** (If a Natural History Museum is not convenient, you can find details out on the Web, Wikipedia, or in the very readable book “A short history of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson)

Others in this category: The Moon Illusion; Feynman Asks a Question






Managing Priority Conflicts for Productive Results

February 7, 2007

“My priorities are the most important. That’s why my way is only one that will work!”

Priority conflicts are an essential and a routine part of doing business. The key is to resolve these conflicts efficiently in order to get the most benefit. Unfortunately, the resolution is often unpleasant. However, an individual with some skill and initiative can make a huge difference in managing the resolution.

People’s perspectives are based both on their understanding and priorities. Since each person has a different role and focus in the organization, priorities conflict. Sometimes, it is difficult to resolve these conflicts so that activities can proceed. Consider the example below:

In a business, the production people must make the product efficiently. The Quality department must determine if the product is acceptable. The two groups must agree on the compromise point of production efficiency and quality.

Often, there is no obvious criteria to determine the compromise point. Frustration develops. Emotions begin to flare. Cooperation drops off. Positions harden. Supervisors are called. A big meeting to “settle” the issue is scheduled. The meeting room is filled with tension. Positions are dogmatically stated. The discussion becomes a test of wills with the strongest finally dominating. Usually, it is not the best solution. Further, there are winners, losers, and payback at a later time.

These scenarios play out every day. However, a skilled individual can make a dramatic difference in both the outcome and the way that people work together. There are three steps:

1. Understand and Defuse the Situation

2. Build an Outline of the Resolution in Stages

3. Confirm Agreement


1. Understand and Defuse the Situation

The most critical step is to dispassionately understand the situation from all perspectives. The best way to understand the situation is to speak individually with each of the key people in an understated way.

Listen to positions contrary to your own opinion without comment or criticism. (This is a real skill!)

If possible, the conversation should be held in their office. People respect that someone else made the effort to visit them.

Avoid e-mail exchanges. Complex problems do not get resolved by e-mail.

Set the tone. Most people can not focus on listening to others until after they have spoken. Accommodate this. On occasions where emotions have festered, time to vent these emotions may be needed. Again, this is approached in a listening mode which does not feed into the negative energy being released. After people calm down and have an element of trust, you can get a better understanding of what is essential and what is negotiable

Find areas of agreement. In such conflicts, the disagreements are of such high visibility that they completely dominate the view. By identifying areas of agreement, perspectives are clarified. The conflicting areas appear more manageable. When people see that there is general agreement in many other areas, there is more confidence that the remaining problems can be resolved.

Emphasize that this is an exploratory conversation. Positions are open to explore what is really essential, without concern that these are actual proposals. It is important that opinions do not harden at this time.

Listen for consequences. In order to understand what they are communicating, it is necessary to use the content and be aware of the consequences of what they are saying. (Reference Post: Listening for Consequences

2. Build an Outline of the Resolution in Stages.

The solution will not be one of the original suggestions, but must be teased out of the understanding obtained in the first step. This is a process involving thinking, making proposals, obtaining feedback, and making revisions.

First, there are bits and pieces information from the earlier discussions to be reviewed. Look at the edges where people expressed positions that were more flexible to begin to craft a proposal. Start with what is negotiable for each group and build what you can. Put aside your first ideas to stretch the thinking and keep the ideas from hardening too soon.

Take an outline of a proposed solution back to a key individual for discussion. Emphasize that it is a hypothesis to be developed. It is essential to have their input at several stages during the construction of the solution.
Test the elements with questions such as:

Will this approach work?

What changes in your position be made to become acceptable?

Encourage suggestions.

Once people realize that they are not going to be railroaded, positions soften and possibilities for concessions and compromises increase rather surprisingly.

Incorporate appropriate revisions, especially concessions and take the new information to another individual to continue building an acceptable approach.

The objective is an informal general agreement for addressing the conflict of the key areas. Hold discussion on details for the next step.

3. Confirm Agreement.

After an informal agreement has been obtained with the individuals, schedule a meeting the different individuals or groups represented. The meeting is essentially to obtain an informal consensus that the proposed solution is acceptable. A group discussion is needed to confirm that the approach is understood and accepted by the group.

This meeting is significantly different from the meeting in the above production/quality example that was called to try to solve the problem–without having spent the effort to develop a foundation.

(A written agenda is useful as a tool to focus the discussion on the important points. Reference Post: Disrupting the Cycle of Inefficient Meetings)

An informal consensus is all that is needed by the group. Details, which are important but do not change the decision, can be worked out by selected individuals as follow-up actions. Participants will generally be satisfied with both the resolution of the priorities and the process to settle the conflict.


In summary, priority conflicts are a normal part of business. Conflicts often lead to disruption. However, taking the time to understand and build a consensus with the individuals can lead to a productive resolution.

Feynman Asks a Question–Story

February 4, 2007

Zen and Science (2)

It is easy to presume that reality is the way that we say it is. After all, it is what we appear to know. A different response can interrupt our routine thoughts and begin to change the perspective.

Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He was well known as a great scientist, original thinker, and author of both scientific and popular books. This story is taken from his book What Do You Care What Other People Think.

As a young boy, Feynman was playing with his wagon. The wagon had a ball in in it which was free to roll. He observed that when he pulled the wagon, the ball rolled to the back. However, when he stopped the wagon suddenly, the ball rolled to the front.

He asked his father: “Why is that?”

His father’s response: That, nobody knows. . . . But the general principle is that something that is moving tends to stay in motion and that things that are standing tend to stay still. . . .”

Buddhist Comment

Bodhidharma was a fifth century Buddhist monk credited with bringing Zen from India to China. His surviving writings are few, but to the point:

“If speech isn’t tied to appearances, it’s free. … Language is essentially free.”
“Freeing oneself from words is liberation.”


Nobody knows for sure, but this is what we say. . . .

It is easy to forget the first phrase and believe firmly in the content of what we say. The content of our speech allows us to function in our world, but how can there be certainty that we know with the surety of our manner.

Where is the certainty! “Nobody knows for sure” serves as a reminder that absolute meaning attached to the words can limit understanding. The possibilities are reduced. The experience may be larger than the words can express. But the content of the words give the appearance and comfort of standing on firm ground. How firm is that ground? How is it tested?

It is the attachment to the speech and content that restricts the freedom and potential. If speech is not tied to appearance, the spirit can flow.

Why is that?
There are no limits to the response: “Nobody knows for sure.”
What is our reply to ourselves, to our children?

Related articles: Moon Illusion,

Natural History, Natural Mind