Woman receiving acupunctureI am   often curious as to why some modalities are effective for one person but not another. Over the years of my practice I have seen the popularity of acupuncture soar. I have recommended Acupuncture many times, with mixed reviews. One person would rave about their results, yet another would be unimpressed.

Adding to the confusion was the fact that each practitioner varied in their approach. One might stick 30 needles in their patient and another may choose to use no needles on that visit.  Since Acupuncture is an energy based medicine, the decision on what to apply first is based on the questions that the patient answers in regards to their condition.  Plus physical readings that Acupuncturist will take. In almost all cases, the AP will also take the patients pulse, this will help aid her diagnosis and treatment plan.

Recently I suggested to my 92 year old friend that I attend to, that she may want to try acupuncture since we had exhausted our options of treating her nagging hip pain. The pain woke her up all night needing ice or heat or anything else she could think of before finally going back to sleep for a couple more hours. In general her health is good, and she was relatively free of pain. In her case her hip pain occurred after she was hospitalized for another reason. During her stay she rapidly lost 15 pounds of precious muscle.

With in a year of this episode she lost both her daughter in law and her son to cancer. I could not shake the idea that some of her pain had to do with grief. It didn’t help matters any that she moved here from Texas and all that she knew to be normal was suddenly different. Her son and daughter in law that live here welcomed her to come stay. They built a beautiful addition onto their home, moved her here and did everything they could think of to make her feel at home. She knows they are great and she loves them so much, but the move took her far away from her community of friends and a culture she had lived in for most of her life. In Florida, she felt adrift.  The family members she now lives, with love her and give her every comfort, but they are also private, have demanding careers, and by the time they come home, they just want to relax and unwind, conversation is not a big part of their of time ritual. To her way of thinking she is isolated, and a bit off kilter. Before she moved here, her other family included her in everything, including their stresses, so she felt that was a sense of community that she had lost.

When her AP asked me a question about my friend I quickly pointed out that she was not only in pain, but  was also suffering from grief, I was thanked me for that information. In Eastern and homeopathic modalities, practitioners look at illness from all angles. They don’t just give treatments to mask pain, the treat the cause.  Her AP added treatment to the points for such issues.

After a few treatments, as I assisted my friend into her car, I observed her moving with more agility. I also noticed a happy expression on her face; it was not a grin as much as an absence of sadness. I am a curious person, known for repeatedly asking why and when that question was answered, I had another one ready to fire. On this day, I asked why, and what did I really notice going on?

We know that acupuncture is an energy modality and we cannot see this energy as much as the effect or results of energy flow. When we see people wailing at a funeral, we know clearly they are grieving. What does that grief look like a year from now, or twenty years from now?  What did that pain manifest into? Does it turn into a headache? Does it turn into low back pain?  Perhaps they will shoulder the burden of that pain in their shoulders. Maybe regret lives in the spine or fear lives in the hips. Perhaps fear of the unknown or unwanted change manifest in another way, like fifty unwanted pounds. It may not be the same place or symptoms for everyone but believe me, it goes somewhere, and it is usually in the musclecalture, or organs of our vehicles, called a body. Just like that old coffee cup can roll around under our seat, our grief energy rolls around our physical selves.

Getting back to our patient, she is sleeping better, has much less pain and is feeling more like she wants to do things. She also now considers Acupuncture part of her well being program. I am happy that she was open to trying a modality that’s thousands of years old, but all new to her.

Valentina Boonstra

About Brevard Massage

I have been a personal trainer and massage therapist for many years now. My specialty is getting people moving again. I have learned through the years that preventing injuries is as important as relieving pain after an injury. To that end, I have also learned Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Pilates.