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Personalized Treatment Based on Individual Needs: Three Patient Archetypes

chip vincent nATyKtr24qo unsplashIn Chinese medicine, we view the body’s framework—bones, sinews, muscles, tendons, fascia—as interconnected parts of a whole moving entity. We then assess the quality of these structures in each patient.

The quality of these structures varies depending on the person’s stage of life, health, vitality, and strength. True Chinese medicine practice requires considering these factors when treating each patient.

This understanding guides my diagnosis, treatment strategy, and expected outcomes. A frozen shoulder treatment will be tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

Archetypes help us establish general expectations, but we must also recognize each person’s individuality to provide personalized treatment.

Three Patient Archetypes

  1. Healthy (Often Young)
    • Strong body due to exercise and youth.
    • Rapid healing due to youth.
    • May make immature decisions due to youth.
    • Best recovery potential, but may hinder progress through poor choices.

  2. Run Down (Often The Middle-Aged and the Most Stressed)
    • Less athletic body due to overuse, exhaustion, or neglect.
    • Slow healing and frequent re-injury due to depletion.
    • Emotional stressors often impact recovery through disruptions in qi and blood flow.
    • Need to commit to “return to spring” (exercise, sleep, nutrition) to age well. I can get them pain free, but to keep from a constant pattern of falling apart, they need to make changes in their life.

  3. Frail (Often The Elderly)
    • Vigorous exercise or heavy lifting not possible.
    • Injuries and pain significantly impact quality of life and independence.
    • Emotional outlook (acceptance vs. bitterness) can influence treatment outcomes.
    • We cannot totally heal them because of their tissue/body quality, but they are the easiest and most fulfilling to treat if our goal is lessening or removing pain and returning quality of life.