Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simple Suggestion #134... Consider alternative therapies

I had a sore left shoulder for about ten years. When Julia was almost three, we were running errands, and I had a bag of heavy library books and some groceries to carry. Julia was dawdling along like toddlers do, and I had a time limit, so I picked her up too, and something in my shoulder gave way, very painfully.

After that, my shoulder didn't work very well for a while. My doctor sent me to a physiotherapist who gave me some elastic band exercises that only made it hurt more, so I didn't follow that program very long. Over several months, my shoulder slowly improved to the point that it was usable, but got tired and sore very easily. I couldn't sleep on it for a few years, and even up until this past spring, if I did sleep on my left side, it was only for short durations before I'd have to shift.

In February, I sought out my friend Viet, who is a wonderful acupuncturist. He had impressed me a few years ago by helping a friend of mine with back pain, and I thought perhaps he could help me with my unexplained dizziness. So I filled in his "intake form" and he actually picked me up and drove me to his office, where he gave me my first of a dozen acupuncture treatments.

Looking back on it now, I can honestly say that it was wonderful, and more relaxing than I could imagine having needles stuck into my body could ever be. It didn't hurt as much as I'd imagined -- in fact, I didn't know where the needles were, even when I was full of them. Viet is a professional, and while his work didn't make my dizziness go away, it did me a lot of good in other ways: one afternoon, he asked me to flip onto my left side, and I made a comment about my gimpy shoulder. "Shoulder? You didn't say anything about your shoulder on the intake form! What's wrong with your shoulder?" he asked.

I guess I didn't comment about my shoulder on the form because I was so used to it being sore and achy. Viet listened to my explanation, said, "I think I can fix that," and put three needles into my right leg: ankle, mid calf and the side of my knee... and my shoulder has been NORMAL ever since!!

Which makes me wonder -- why did I wait so long to try acupuncture?

Probably because we Westerners have been brainwashed with the idea that Western medicine is the logical answer, not considering that there are older practices that are more wholistic than popping pills. Viet's intake form was the most complete personal physical inventory I've ever completed, and acupuncture treats the whole person, taking into account not only my dizzy head, but my carpal tunnel and my cold feet! (I can report having nice toasty toes for the duration of my treatments with him.)

There are many therapies out there besides acupuncture that have a lot to offer human health. I don't know a lot about many of them, but I have friends who swear by different alternative therapies. While I still haven't found the answer to my dizziness, I'm happy to say that my shoulder hasn't felt better in ten years!

I tell this story to encourage others to gather their courage and try something new if popping pills isn't working for you. What have you got to lose? Especially when you consider what you might gain. 

All I know is that I'm glad I've got my shoulder back in top shape.

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you. I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents who drove into China Town in San Francisco quite often to visit their acupuncturist. So glad it worked for you. The body has an amazing way of being all interconnected and such, does it not!?

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