View Full Version : Interesting Experience w/ Acupuncturist

04-15-11, 02:59 PM
About a month ago, I was seeing my new primary care doctor for a sinus and inner ear infection I just couldn't shake. At the time, I was also having a lot of pain in my neck and shoulder and she picked up on that. She then informed me that there is now an acupuncturist at the VA and she wanted to refer me. I about fell out of the chair..first a chronic fatigue doctor and now an acupuncturist? Anyway, had my first appointment yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised.

First, he comes in and introduces himself and he is an MD and looked at least 60 years old! He is also head of the pain clinic. I was a little concerned at first but not for long. He started out asking me lifestyle questions. After going through my diet, chemical free home and supplements, he looked at me and said "I've never had a patient walk in already doing everything I would have told them to do. The only thing missing is exercise and I realize that there is no way you can exercise right now". He is now the 3rd doc I've seen at VA that wants my Vitamin D up to at least 50. They are re-checking in May to see if increase from 5000 to 8000 units has made a difference. Also in his favor, he knows what EFT is and was excited to hear that I use it a lot; he knew what nattokinase was, the first conventional doc I've seen that knows what it is and what it is used for!

The visit goes on from there and after checking a few things, including my pulse, he tells me I am completely depleted, everywhere. I had to laugh. He could tell more about me in 10 minutes than the others have after seeing me for years. Then he started putting needles in, working on various areas in sequence. I had a lot of low back pain from the long drive and sitting at the VA for hours so he started there. I won't begin to say I understand but in a few minutes, I could walk quite a bit further, the pain was only a dull ache and not radiating. He was able to break an acute asthma attack and did other stuff which I don't really remember. At one point I became very nauseated and one side of my face went numb with feeling of pressure and my vision in that one eye got blurry. He immediately pulled the last needle out and told me about acupuncture shock. Exerting a lot of pressure under my nose alleviated the nausea quickly.

He told me he wants to see me "Twice a week for....well, forever". I cracked up at that. Financially (cost of gas) and physically I can't go that often but it's a pipe dream anyway because appointments are scarce. I'll be lucky to get in once or twice a month. Definitely something I want to continue though. I really have nothing negative to say at all about this visit and I'm really excited!

04-15-11, 03:06 PM
That is such good news mellow.

04-15-11, 07:46 PM
Wow, Mellow, I am SO happy that after all the frustration, you have finally found someone who gets it! Who's on your wave length and is actually helpful. I imagine that just finding someone who knows what you are talking about and doesn't laugh or dismiss you must be huge.

:: does happy dance ::

04-15-11, 07:50 PM
SUPPORT!!! Happy dance!

04-15-11, 07:58 PM
:) I'm so happy for you, Mellow. I hope you can go as often as you need to.

04-15-11, 09:04 PM
This guy sounds to be fantastic! The acupuncture doctor who I now have seen twice has indicated that twice a week would be best, as well. But there was nothing said about "forever".

Basically, I would think that it would take repeated efforts in balancing your bodily energy, for a period of time, until things have achieved somewhat of an equilibrium that can maintain itself within the body. While twice weekly might be ideal, as frequently as travel would allow would be better than not at all. After a more balanced state has been reached, with repeated treatments, an occasional treatment for "tune up" purposes, or in case of some physically stressful or otherwise stressful event, would suffice to keep the energies in balance.

04-15-11, 10:17 PM
Oh mellowsong, I can almost feel your relief because I've been there girl!

Believe it or not, even in this little backwater dump where I live we have two excellent acupuncturists. Like you, mellowsong, I felt immediately that they understood the score and I didn't have to explain everything from fermented foods to Cat's Claw. They KNEW what I was talking about and what a completely different feeling that is than talking to a regular MD who looks at you with this blank stare - as if you are from some distant planet and he's waiting for your alien antennae and your third eye to pop up.

It's amazing to me how they can tell so much by taking your body pulses. Simply astounding. I have an ND who can do that, too. She took ankle pulse and said "calcium" but not regular calcium; then she took the pulse behind my knee and said "wow, your vitamin D levels are superb". She took another pulse (can't remember where) and said "we have to get you off of whatever you are taking that's diminishing your oxygen supply and use". That would be my tenormin (atenolol) for my PMV. I did get it down to 12.5 mg per day and I fear that's the best I can do until alternatives come up with something to replace beta blockers.

Yessirrreee, it's a truly excellent feeling when you can actually talk to a doctor. I'm really happy for you and I hope things continue to go well. See him as often as you can at first, then taper off if you want to when you start feeling better and better. Hooray for alternatives.

04-16-11, 12:46 AM
So happy this has happened for you, Mellow! I hope he is able to give you relief and improvement. And the fact that he "gets it" will be a great benefit, too. : )

The doc i saw Thur also appreciated all the things i have done/tried so far. She was pleased that i utilize Manuka honey. It is a joy to work with someone who can recognize real treatment.

I hope it turns out to be a long and profitable relationship for you.

04-16-11, 11:55 AM
Mellow, and all, in my view the key to having any sort of "balancing" treatments, such as acupuncture, shiatsu, or related therapy would be the incremental nudge toward a balanced state, followed by the body's settling out into a "new normal". If this nudge toward balance followed by a few days of settling out is repeated many times, the body "should be" able to maintain this new, more healthy, balanced state for a longer period of time. I think this is why the practitioner usually will advise more frequent, periodic treatments at first, gradually tapering off to a maintenance level of frequency. This is an incremental approach which has been found to be quite effective.

None of this "ideal world" advice, however, indicates that it is an "all or nothing" approach. Real world difficulties can and will interfere with the step by step approach of bringing all the systems into "perfect" balance with each other. Any chi-based treatment would be presumed to have a positive effect, although the overall progress might turn out to be a bit slower if the "ideal" schedule of treatments can not be maintained.

IMHO any little push or nudge toward the balanced state is better than leaving things the way they are. Pain and feeling bad is Mother Nature's none-too-gentle way of letting us know that some energy pattern still is twisted out of shape. As we all know, getting well can not be an instant process, but as long as the process is going in the direction of health and balance, the speed of progress is not necessarily the most important feature.

04-16-11, 12:00 PM
I think that is what I like most about TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)-the emphasis on balance. If you have a serious chronic health condition you cannot correct it until you embrace the idea of balance in your holistic approach. I am so delighted for you both:)

04-16-11, 12:05 PM
This guy sounds to be fantastic! The acupuncture doctor who I now have seen twice has indicated that twice a week would be best, as well. But there was nothing said about "forever".
The "forever" was a joke. He was just shocked at how many systems in my body are shot even though I do so much to take care of myself. I think he just meant it would be a long road but hopeful. I think I'm a prime example of all the supplements and life style changes in the world coming too late to reverse things. I have reversed osteoporosis, beaten hypertension, beaten pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome, taken risk for CAD from high to low and remained off all the (over 20) medications I was able to discontinue. However, with all that, my body continues to let me down, especially lungs and joints. With all that said, I honestly do not believe I'd be alive today if I hadn't made the changes when I did and I'd rather be where I am right now than zombied out on morphine, psychotropic medications and so many more. Yes, I do have to use meds for asthma, hydrocortisone for adrenal insufficiency and take thyroid meds but that's a long way from over 30 prescription meds 4 years ago :) I have high hopes for acupuncture!

04-16-11, 01:55 PM
You have good reason to keep your hopes up; it has worked for me too! I won't use Americans however, they have to be Chinese. Oh, and a female at that..... not liking my jello body these days....

04-16-11, 02:05 PM
My favorite acupuncturist is an American female. I had very good results from the treatment.

I don't think Mellow has any choice in her practitioner as the therapy is provided by the VA. The fact that they have such a practitioner at all is leaps and bounds progress! : )

04-16-11, 03:00 PM
Mellow, your latest post is emblematic, for me, of why I have so much respect for your knowledge and for your approach to life. We humans must keep our focus simultaneously on how we have come from there to here, as well as on our intended path for the future. Life is more complex than I even can believe sometimes!

As to the choice of TCM practitioner, my experience has been quite positive with men or women, Asian, black, white or otherwise. Many years ago, I was closely associated with a few of the New England acupuncture schools, in the capacity of supplying textbooks through the book store that I managed. One of the main teachers was Korean, the other main guy was Chinese. Many of the students were non-Asians altogether, but turned out to be talented or mediocre due to their own efforts or their own failure to pay attention in their classes, just as in any other discipline.

Since relocating to this geographical area several years ago, I have experienced quite a bit of culture shock. The major employers in this area are either the big drug companies, or the Tasty Kake bakery, recently saved from extinction by a corporate takeover. So my past experience, living in other parts of the world, of having a TCM practitioner or an ND on every street corner came to an abrupt halt when I moved here. Previously I had tried an acupuncture doctor near here (white and female, by the way), but had found her practice less than satisfactory. She used neither pulse diagnosis nor tongue diagnosis; I suppose she was going by only the symptoms reported by the patient. So when I heard the recommendation for this TCM doctor, I asked the right questions when I initially called to set up the appointment. She turned out to be as good as her word, concerning her methods of diagnosis, and IMHO that makes all the difference.

Mellow seems to have stepped right into a sensibly trained, practically competent TCM physician. The fact that this guy is associated with the VA is astounding, but perhaps is the exception that proves the rule; or else perhaps the VA really has managed to change some of their substance, not just the spin and lip service. Either way, congratulations! Here are my hopes for the best continuing improvement. We never are finished, but always are works in progress.

04-16-11, 03:54 PM
Great news Mellow. I'm really happy that you found someone on your wave length to work with. Can't wait to get more reports on how this goes in the future.