Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

New Old Answers to a Satisfying Life: Oriental Medicine

With a fresh decade happening, I’ve proved to myself that decrepitude can be managed to an extent by what you eat, what you do, and how much you love. But like too much batter in a waffle iron, problems squish out and you look for ways to cut them off.

At the suggestion of a medical traditionalist, my husband and I decided to try acupuncture. Why not? My husband had physical issues that had already defied drugs, chiropractic care, and even energy work. A practitioner, who can be called a Doctor of Oriental Medicine in some states but not ours, explained to me that Chinese medicine is designed to help a person achieve balance. That sounded like the Navajo philosophy of harmony to me. Besides, any practice that has been embraced for something like 2500 years can’t be all bad, can it? And so he began “reading” my pulses—an act of quantum physics on the meridians of energy. Okay. For all the skeptics out there, reading pulses sounds stupid. I’d think it was stupid, too, if it hadn’t worked. In fact, the practitioner identified a weakness inside my body that no one except a sensitive energy worker had ever mentioned before. He didn’t know the energy worker, and she didn’t know him. They had no communication. The convergence of their opinions would be a major coincidence…if it were a coincidence.

This is a good spot to pause and remind people that talent or propensity plays a role in all practices. Most people can make prolonged sound, for example, but only a blessed few can sing so beautifully it touches your soul. Massage can be a nice back rub or an experience that addresses old toxins you never knew you were holding. There are doctors who hand you whatever drug the guidelines say fits your symptoms, and there are doctors who connect who you are with what you’re suffering.

Happily, our acupuncturist seems to be one of the sensitive, talented ones. After a single application of needles, my husband regained a range of motion in his shoulder he had been missing for years. But acupuncture is natural. It works with your body’s own defenses, so it isn’t usually instantaneous. Each of us is much more than a physical being, and we can improve or destroy our own health. After my last acupuncture appointment (that involved detailed revelations about my mental and physical conditions), I woke one morning with a huge smile. The crushing dawn headache that I thought was an inevitable companion to winter—a headache so bad that once it began raging I had no choice but to leave bed and drink hot tea to calm it—that headache was gone. In fact, all my grumpiness was gone. I felt young and energetic and happy. I was thrilled and still am.

So far in my experience, Chinese medicine has provided explanations for issues that have been sorry mysteries for years—pain, persistent sinus congestion, vague difficulties with digestion, and much more. I personally don’t like the addition of electricity to the needle applications. I become anxious thereafter, but some find the intensity therapeutic. Our practitioner listens. He knows we are, each of us, unique, and he’s ready to adjust herb supplements or treatments.

Advice:  be careful to find a practitioner people describe as magical. After often impersonal “traditional” medicine, the methods of Chinese medicine feel impossible. Second, be aware that you are a part of your treatment. If you aren’t open and cooperative, you can block yourself as a helpmate. Be prepared to be embarrassingly honest about how you feel and the quirks of your body. Third, you may want to supplement your care with other methods. A broken bone needs to be splinted, but acupuncture can decrease the pain.

Finally, I truly believe the most powerful drug in existence is love. Our practitioner brings openness, his real self, and sincere caring to each patient. He would probably help even if he didn’t do anything but talk. Likewise, when we radiate love to others, we receive it back. As Anita Moorjani tells us, we are both physical and spiritual beings. We need to live with that reality in mind.

2 comments on “New Old Answers to a Satisfying Life: Oriental Medicine

  1. Frances Sullivan
    January 11, 2020

    Brilliant. I’m so happy your experience has been positive. I’ve had amazing success with acupuncture over the years, as well as Chinese medicine. Your post encourages me, too. A networking marketing (ugh) group keeps popping into my day with a good product to help with aging etc. I’m unsettled when it comes to NWM – such lousy attitudes about it – but being open is important. And yeah, the body conjunct with the mind can move mountains, so I’m told ;). Still, why not get some help along the way? Keep us posted with your – ahem – posts – as to progress, etc. xxx

    • I’ve decided I can tolerate aging as long as I maintain an ability to expand. Currently, being a newspaper writer has sucked me out of my den and into the world, which helps my other writing, as well, I’m sure. I’ve been combining energy work with Chinese herbs and acupuncture, so I think I will be approaching perfection soon…

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