When I was in second grade, I fell down the stairs (just a few steps) at my elementary school in Seoul, South Korea. I didn’t feel the pain right away because I think I was too embarrassed to notice that my left ankle was swelling up quickly. Back then in Korea, going to an acupuncturist was just as common as going to the western medicine doctors. In fact, I heard more about herbalists and acupuncturists than medical doctors. So once it was clear that I had severely sprained my ankle (no broken bones), my parents took me to an acupuncturist in our city. Since then, I have sprained both of my ankles (not both at the same time) countless times: While teaching a step aerobics class in 1997, hiking in 2002, missing the curb in 2004, high heels mishap in 2006, slipping on a patch of ice in 2011, missing another curb in 2015, and uneven walking trail in 2018. With all these incidences, it’s a wonder that my ankles haven’t broken off completely! 😂 Every single time I’ve sprained my ankle, I’ve always turned to acupuncture; and every single time, I was walking fine in a matter of weeks.
Acupuncture is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine where the practitioner (acupuncturist) stimulates specific points on the body by inserting thin needles through the skin. Acupuncture is practiced on the concept of energy flow known as Qi (pronounced “Chee”) and meridians/pathways. It is believed that when there is stagnation/disruption of Qi, disease can develop in one’s body.
Some — in the western medicine world — believe that acupuncture works through a placebo effect. There are people who also believe this complementary medicine is quackery. As a patient who has benefited greatly from acupuncture for sprained ankle, tendinitis, seasonal allergies, headaches and vertigo, I stand by this alternative practice. Unless I’m bleeding or my bone is broken, I’m more likely to go see my acupuncturist than my primary care physician.
The only downfall I see in choosing the acupuncture route is that most health insurance companies will not approve a claim for this modality. My personal opinion in this matter is this: I can either spend the co-pay and deductible to go see an MD only to pay another fee for prescription medicine which will only treat the symptoms, or I can pay out of pocket for acupuncture that aims to treat the root of the disease.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for western medicine; I’ve been to the emergency room twice last year, and I thank God that I was able to receive the care I needed right away. But I think we’re so quick to turn to medicating ourselves before trying to figure out a way to resolve the issue at the root cause.
I feel blessed to live near Wellbeing Natural Health in Huntersville, NC (north of Charlotte). The owner and Acupuncturist Cristin Gregory offers Community Acupuncture several days each week where payment is based on a sliding scale of $20-$45; during community acupuncture, the patient enters a shared space that has four anti-gravity chairs and receives acupuncture services for about an hour. Every patient in the room lies down in the anti-gravity chairs and has their eyes closed while listening to the relaxing music playing in the background. Other than the occasional sneezes and coughs, the room is pretty quiet, and it’s really easy to forget that there are other people in the room with you (I have fallen asleep on many occasions). Cristin is the kindest and most down-to-earth acupuncturists I have ever been to. She is also Chinese Herbalist, so she is able to recommend Chinese herbs to complement the acupuncture sessions. She also offers cupping and Qi Gong services. If you live outside of the Charlotte area, you can find a licensed Acupuncturist near you by going to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
For my blog next week, I will discuss massage therapy!
(If you would like to check out my blog from last week about Doshas and Ayurveda, scroll down or click here.)