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Saturday, March 6, 2010
the so-called alternative therapies........
It bugs me that acupuncture, body energy work, meditation, even nutrition are called alternative therapies. There was a time on this planet, that they were the main therapies for healing.
Let's start with acupuncture!
Acupuncture dates back to the stone age. There are hieroglyphics and pictographs of acupuncture and moxibustion from 1600-1100 BCE, the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (History of Acupuncture) which was compiled around 305–204 B.C, and in Europe, examinations of the 5,000-year-old mummified body of Ötzi the Iceman have identified 15 groups of tattoos on his body, some of which are located on what are now seen as contemporary acupuncture points. This has been cited as evidence that practices similar to acupuncture may have been practiced elsewhere in Eurasia during the early Bronze Age.
I was introduced to acupuncture by a chiropractor in 1990. I had fallen and rolled down the side of a mountain (not the entire mountain, but a few hundred feet) while backpacking in the Adirondacks. I seemed fine at the time, but one morning, 5 months later, I was in extreme pain and could not walk, I couldn't even get out of bed. Somehow, I made it to my chiropractor, and to the xray lab, to discover that I had a slipped disc. So for the next 3 months, I saw my chiropractor 3 days a week, and, an acupuncturist 2 days a week. I had lost the "electronic" connection in my right leg, which meant I couldn't stand on that leg but could drag it along as I walked, and I was in extreme pain 24/7.
The acupuncturist (also a huge fan of jazz ;-), applied needled and moxibustion. Slowly, the pain decreased. My chiropractor said he would prescribe pain pills, but I didn't want to go that route.
By the 4th month, I was down to 2 days a week at the chiropractor, and 1 day a week for acupuncture.
By the 6th month, the pain was gone and I could walk and stand on my right leg. I went to the YMCA for their "Y's Way To A Healthy Back", a wonderful course that helped me develop abdominal muscles and to learn how to move my body so that I didn't hurt my back. I also started a routine of daily walks.
By the 7th month, I was swimming again, slowly, only a few laps at a time. But by the 8th month I was swimming a half mile a day.
Most of the people I talked to who had experienced a similar accident and set of circumstances advised me to get back surgery. Many of those people are still in pain and have limited mobility.
I'm very happy I didn't go that route.
For the present......
A few weeks after I returned home from the hospital (March 28th, 2009), my current acupuncturist gave me the gift of weekly sessions for a couple of months. If you have never been to an acupuncturist before, the first thing they do is feel your pulse. Well, she could feel a slight pulse on my left, and no pulse on my right (which is where the tumor was). The pulse is not the traditional pulse as in heartbeat, but an energy pulse, actually pulses, which coincide with various meridians of energy. Basically, it tells her where to "fire up the energy line"-my translation, not hers ;-) So as she worked on those meridians, she also used a technique on my scar, to help it to heal and to prevent scarring, which included beads, aluminum foil and a little zapper tool that sent electric pulses-and it's lookin' pretty good now.
We are still working on that right side, the pulse is definitely getting stronger, and the left side is very solid. We're also working on reducing the effects of some of the side effects of the drug-edema, fatigue, foggy brain, cramping-it's a slow go, but there's improvement.