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My dad was a physical therapist. He was a charter member of that program at his university. So he was conventionally trained. He was head of physical therapy at several hospitals/centers where he worked.
In his latter years of practice, however, he was a pain control specialist. My dad taught himself how to use use different modalities to treat accupoints to control pain (he called them "pressure points" because, as he said it, his patients would have run from the room screaming if he had used the word "accupuncture").
If I remember correctly, he could use not only heat and cold and massage, but also electrical stimulation and ultrasound, and maybe some other techniques. He said that our ear (auricle) has points for the entire body. If a person was in too much pain for him to actually touch the affected area, he could treat the corresponding point on their ear and relieve their pain enough to actually treat the problem area. It might be the same day, or the next day.
Here is my favorite story about that:
One Friday evening, he and my mom arrived home for the week. Mom had a severe toothache. This was years ago. Back then, you couldn't get in to see a dentist over the weekend, so she would have had to suffer all weekend. Dad worked out of town and didn't have his "bag of tricks" for pain control therapy, so he rigged up something using a 9 volt battery, a paper clip, an alligator clip, and maybe another item or two. He treated a small point on her ear. The treatment left a tiny blister where he touched her ear. The toothache disappeared. He told Mom that he had not fixed her tooth. She still needed to get in to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Well, Monday came and they arrived home. Dad asked Mom if she had gotten in to see the dentist. She hadn't (I don't know the reason). Night after night that week, Dad asked the same question at the end of the day. Night after night, he got the same answer. Mom hadn't seen a dentist yet. It apparently wasn't a high priority for her because she was not in pain.
He was not pleased!
- nick c
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