Archive for April, 2009

Strong Medicine

This afternoon after I picked up my surprisingly sexy little sporty red rental car from Hertz I decided to pop by an Acupuncture & Sports Therapy place I had seen once before on the outskirts of town.

I tried acupuncture for my anxiety issues for the first time in February and found that it produced immediate and curious results. Despite the unique relief that my first two sessions had rendered, I have been avoiding returning because I didn’t really click with my practitioner. His bedside manner was very detached and quiet- making me feeling ridiculous for wanting to ask many questions and know a little bit more about what was going on with the process. I had made a mental note in the back of my mind to check out this other location.

Upon entering I found the acupuncturist Sue sitting in the corner casually reading a magazine. The room was clean and felt breezy- with a definite feminine energy to it. Turns out that all the therapists that work there are women.

I immediately found myself casually chatting with Sue in the corner and rapidly dumping my entire history of a struggle with anxiety to her. Despite some instances in earlier childhood, my anxiety had not become an intrusive specter in my life until the tragic events of September 11th. Despite not being in NYC that day, or directly knowing anyone hurt or killed in the event, I had experienced what I can only describe as the most traumatic full-scale ER worthy panic attack I’ve ever known. I’ve never spoken to someone who has had such a violent physiological response to panic and anxiety- it was like an epileptic fit combined with a meltdown of all systems… cardiac, muscular, respiratory, digestive and psychological.

I do not know why I had such a violent personal response that day- all I can say is that I have grown to see that I am a very sensitive person with a vivid mind that is usually in over-drive, and I very likely was simply overwhelmed that day in a way that I was not able to handle at all. I floated through the next six months in rigid, disconnected anxiety and discomfort, and it took years for me to truly get to a generally happy stasis again.

After speaking with Sue for a while, she told me that she felt strongly that my Liver meridian/energy/element was in overdrive and out of whack. She drew a pentagram on a sheet of paper and showed me the 5 elements and which organs they related to, and how they could effect one another. The liver is the most typical element to be thrown out of whack in our modern life- and my body was showing the symptoms associated with the Liver/wood meridian which was in such overdrive that it was also affecting my Heart/fire zone. My symptoms that I generally described to her all fell in line with this analysis. I arranged to start a course of acupuncture with her when I returned to Aspen in June.

When I got home, I fired up google and started researching acupuncture and Liver/wood imbalances. I am generally a healthy skeptic, but my own experience with my first two acupuncture sessions combined with the realization that 10,000 years of Chinese medicine might know a thing or two over Wester medicine has made me a believer in this therapy.

All I can say is that I was semi-shocked to start reading about further symptoms of Liver/Wood imbalance and to recognize that I very very clearly suffer from all of them- from waking up at 3am every morning to chronic dry eye syndrome. But the REALLY spooky thing that inspired me to write this post was when I started to research what diet was best for treating Liver imbalances and the meal that I request for my mother to make each year on my birthday, yellow rice and black beans, was word-for-word stated as an excellent meal for this condition. I mean, seriously?????

I’m looking forward to treating this Spring as a boot camp for my health- eliminating sugar and processed foods from my diet, exercising daily, and getting back into my size 2 shorts. I’m also looking forwards to getting my liver in a healthier place and balancing it’s energies- I’ve wrangled with Western Medicine for almost 7 years now with no permanent relief… and I do feel that a more natural, Eastern practice is where I will find balance once again.


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