Congratulations on all your focus to take care of yourSELF – the inner you, the outer you and the infinite you.
It makes all the difference in the world when you can integrate your attention and intention to the WHOLE person. Your daily recommitment to yourSELF, taking things one day at a time, will be the best medicine ever.
Unlike the current “healthcare” system that operates in a very reductionist fashion, i.e. “Stomach ache? See the gastroenterologist” … “Insomnia? Here is a pill for that” … “Back pain? Here is some physical therapy, and oh, yeah, a muscle relaxant”. Eastern Medicine, or Chinese Medicine, is about the whole person, and acupuncture needles are a VERY SMALL PART of practice. Because there are only about 35,000 licensed practitioners in the United States, the public profile and understanding of what it is all about is very small and segmented. Typically, we will see folks who walk through our door after they have tried “everything else” so it becomes a “Hail Mary” attempt or a last resort, which is pretty unfortunate.
Chinese medicine, which we now refer to as Eastern medicine, incorporates a whole-person approach and has been a SYSTEM of support and intervention that has been CONSISTENTLY practiced for over 2500 years. Much longer than our current healthcare system in the US!!! The umbrella of Eastern Medicine is truly all about NOURISHING LIFE, which includes how we eat, what we eat, how we move, how we rest/sleep, and how we interact in the community. The fundamentals would be akin to what your parents and grandparents would say: eat real food, manage your stress, sleep when it’s dark, wake with the light, find a community to contribute to, practice gratitude, and set aside a daily time to be quiet.
To support these fundamentals there is guidance about foods to choose, movements to undertake, and breathing techniques to practice, and when the fundamentals need intervention, there are acupuncture needles and there is herbal medicine to help nudge and prompt the body to return to its best self, in the homeostasis of flowing cycles that is imprinted in our very DNA. The paradigm of how to manage health and nourish life has a relationship to the times of day, the cycles of nature, and a distinct connection to the 5 Elements: WOOD, WATER, EARTH, FIRE, METAL.
Through this lens, we are able to identify the systems within the body because it is a microcosm, a small part of the macrocosm of the world, the environment we live in, the people we spend time with, all the systems of the BIG picture inextricably connected to the SMALL picture. There is no separation – every system is interdependent on the other. It is a great web of support, connection… and the BODY-MIND-SPIRIT is part of this landscape. The prescriptions for living a good, healthy, engaged life is based on the principle of The Tao, the Middle Way.
Taoist/Daoist traditions are a philosophy of life and have no religious inclinations, but there is great reverence for everything that inhabits the earth, the sea and the air, and to me, it always reminds me of the ways of indigenous tribes, whether they be in North America, South America, the Pacific islands, living according to nature within communities of support and celebration.
The BEST part of receiving care and consideration from a Chinese medicine practitioner is that DESPITE what the patient reports, the placement of acupuncture needles will release a cascade of immune response biochemicals in the body – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin to name a few – and the downregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, the FIGHT, FLIGHT, FREEZE mode, begins. This is CRUCIAL to all other interventions that can occur and will follow, because the body needs to regulate its resources, and simmer down the stressors, in order for the healing to begin.
SO: Most of us will list a number of symptoms/syndromes that we deal with, or have the best results with… but the laundry list of “what we treat” is not always inclusive. EVERYONE on the planet could benefit from acupuncture intervention. It is NOT meant to be disease specific, but rather supportive of the whole system of all the micro-systems that are within the body itself.
I would also invite you to remain curious about the impact the MIND has on the BODY, and how “brain training” can impact pain management and so much more. In fact, I have been a certified hypnotist since 1993 and just completed a certification specifically grounded in the most cutting edge neuroscience that celebrates the brain’s neuroplasticity – and the fact that the brain can heal itself. OH HOORAY!!!
I will be happy to help you navigate, serve as your concierge for curating the best info to support your continued healing journey and offer you some experiences in the realm of “brain change”. Not scary at all, more like sitting with a guide who then holds space for you – the real healer in the equation – to find your answers within.