“I used homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga and meditation in conjunction with my chemotherapy to help me get stronger again after the cancer. I also chanted with Buddhist friends and prayed with Christian friends. I covered all my bases.”
I can relate to Olivia Newton-John’s words. That is exactly how I approach my battle with MS. I work out, I changed up my nutrition, I’ve increased my rest, I’ve turned to my faith, I visualize good health, meditate on cellular repair, take supplements, consistently utilize yoga stretches, massage and yes, since 2017 — acupuncture. I try to cover all my bases, too. You may think that after my first experience with acupuncture, described in part 2 of this series, I wouldn’t have been open to try it again but something significant happened; three people who I deeply respect had good experiences and spoke very highly of their treatments.
So the second attempt with acupuncture was the charm, for me. As I wrote in part 1, I traveled to Laurel, MD to MUIH. There was an extended ‘first visit’ during which I was asked to complete an extensive history of my health; body, mind & spirit. I was surprised at some of the questions asked but remained open to the experience. I told myself the Ancient Chinese must have known what they were doing for the practice to still be in existence in modern times.
MUIH follows the practice known as ‘The Five Elements’, as described in Wikipedia:
“Yin/Yang and the Five Elements
Each zàng-fǔ organ has a yin and a yang aspect, but overall, the zàng organs are considered to be yin, and the fǔ organs yang.
Since the concept of the zàng-fǔ was developed on the basis of Wu Xing philosophy, they’re incorporated into a system of allocation to one of five elemental qualities (i.e., the Five Elements or Five Phases). The zàng-fǔ share their respective element’s allocations (e.g., regarding colour, taste, season, emotion etc.) and interact with each other cyclically in the same way the Five Elements do: each zàng organ has one corresponding zàng organ that it enfeebles, and one that it reinforces.
The correspondence between zàng-fǔ and Five Elements are stipulated as:
- -Fire (火) = Heart (心) and Small Intestine (小肠) (and, secondarily, Sānjiaō [三焦, ‘’Triple Burner‘’] and Pericardium [心包])
- -Earth (土) = Spleen (脾) and Stomach (胃)
- -Metal (金) = Lung (肺)and Large Intestine (大肠)
- -Water (水) = Kidney (肾) and Bladder (膀胱)
- -Wood (木) = Liver (肝) and Gall Bladder (胆)”
If you are anything like me, I had not had any exposure to the above information. I want to explain that at the beginning of each session, I was asked about how I was feeling/what was I experiencing/was anything bothering me. My pulses were ‘taken’, as they say and they looked at my tongue. I learned that they use these two examinations as a measuring stick to help determine what is happening inside. Based on my answers, my pulses and the appearance of my tongue, a personalized treatment plan was created on-the-spot to address whatever it was that presented itself as my need that day. As I have stated a couple of times, the need could be body, mind or spirit.
A small marker was then used to place a circle where the acupuncture needle would be inserted (they are oh-so-small and thin and most of the time I couldn’t even feel them!) At times, an incense-like substance called ‘moxa’ was used, too.
I can’t really say why the therapists did what they did. It was briefly explained that it was all based on the ‘Five Elements’ (listed above) so I am assuming the location for the needles is determined by where one is ‘grounded’ or ‘centered’ as well as what is being treated that day. Somehow through the interview process, a determination is made where that is. For instance, I was told that I lived in the ‘Earth’ which is the spleen & stomach.
What does that mean?
(I have no idea! That’s why I included the 2-minute video above!)
I would just close my eyes and relax. Each session was approximately 60-90 minutes and I would alway feel better, I can tell you that. Sometimes immediately, sometimes the next day. And sometimes for several days to follow.
The whole process is actually quite fascinating……and for me, healing.
And so I give it a 10 out of 10 and 5 Gold Stars. In other words, I highly recommend acupuncture……for physical healing, for emotional healing as well as spiritual healing.
“Thank God for acupuncture. It’s been around for 2000 years. It’s not going anyplace and people use it all of the time for a variety of cures and to avoid illnesses.” ~Tim Daly