One of the Season for Nonviolence Daily Reflections talked about CARING — self-care, self-love, caring for the body. One way I take care not only of my body but my entire being is through acupuncture.
Acupuncture has become more popularly known as a way to relieve pain. Its regular use though can help treat and prevent other diseases and promote general health and wellness. (What is acupuncture? click here)
I have allergic rhinitis and acupuncture has helped me tremendously with my allergies, as well as keep my energies balanced. I’ve been having acupuncture treatments as a preventive measure and a way to maintain my well-being, more than as a form of treatment.
It’s like having a massage but the results are different. They’re both very relaxing but acupuncture goes much deeper — and I don’t mean physically but more emotionally, at the core of my system. And the therapeutic and calming effect lasts not only for hours but sometimes even days.
I feel so blessed to have found an acunpuncturist in Manila who genuinely cares for my well-being. Samuel Benjamin Sison, M.D. has a good balance of his masculine and feminine energies which is a plus factor for anyone in the health care profession — or at least for my choice of a practitioner.
Dr. Sison’s nurturing and caring presence contributes to the overall effect that an acupuncture session has for me. I can’t recall when the last time was that I experienced this warmth and personal touch from a visit to an allopathic physician. In fact, I can’t even remember when my last visit to an allopathic physician was.
I totally understand that allopathic physicians are trained differently. In fact, they’re trained to keep their distance and not get too involved with their patients. It’s sad but that’s the reality. And I get that but that just doesn’t work for me. There may be a few exceptions who provide a personalized service to their patients but that’s rare, and that’s not standard allopathic medicine practice.
A typical acupuncture session
Acupuncture follows a holistic approach — the patient is seen as a whole system. Different aspects of one’s life and lifestyle are all taken into consideration, which are seldom, if at all, discussed during a visit to an allopathic doctor.
At the start of my visit, Dr. Sison and I discuss not only the physical condition of my body but also the stressors in my life that are causing the blockages in my energy. Stressors can be anywhere from work, environment, living conditions, relationships, anything emotional or mental, even food that can trigger allergic reactions in my system.
Dr. Sison then checks my pulses and examines my tongue. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses these as diagnostic tools. He then decides which acupuncture points to manipulate.
Sometimes, he employs indirect moxibustion — the use of moxa or mugwort herb to heat the acupuncture needle inserted in the skin. This generates smoke and a scent that may be offensive to some but may also have a relaxing and calming effect on others, as is the case with me. However, when my allergies are acting up, we do away with this therapy as it will only aggravate my condition — which disappoints me because I love the smell of burning moxa. I get a different “high” :-). Inhaling too much of it though can also give you a headache.
I also have had this chronic pain in my upper back that is also being addressed by an acupuncture session. This pain is due to a combination of several factors:
- It’s my warehouse 😦 for all my unresolved issues and emotions such as unforgiveness, resentments, anger, grief etc. These are emotional issues associated with the heart chakra. Energy imbalances in the heart chakra result in physical dysfunctions in the upper back and shoulder areas (extending to the arms), heart conditions, breast cancer, asthma and allergy, and bronchial pneumonia.
- For a long time, I’ve felt responsible and overly concerned for other people and the rest of the world that I’ve carried the burden unnecessarily in my shoulders.
- For the longest time also, balancing between giving and receiving has not been in my conscious awareness. I had been giving and giving and neglecting myself. I have now learned the lesson of balancing giving and receiving but years of giving and giving still has its residue in my upper right back. The right side of the body corresponds to our masculine side, the giving side; the left side corresponds to our feminine or receiving side.
- The environment also impacts my chronic back pain — too much exposure to airconditioned places creates havoc in my system, especially if the temperature is extremely high. It is the norm in Manila though, something that continues to not only bother but puzzle me.
To address this, in addition to the insertion of needles, ventosa cupping is also applied to my back. A local suction on the skin is created using a hand pump (other clinics or practitioners use heat or fire to create suction). This suction increases blood flow and helps remove the cold energies in my back, more commonly known in the Philippines as “lamig“.
Together with the needles, the cups are left for approximately 20 minutes. When the cups are removed, there are marks ranging from pinkish red, red, reddish purple to purple in color. It may take a day up to three days for the marks to disappear.
As I lie on my back or stomach, approximately 20 minutes on each side, I practice meditation. I visualize energies flowing freely in, around, and through the acupuncture points and my entire body. I have a dialogue with my body — I apologize to it for carrying the weight and burdens of all my issues, and the stress and abuse that it has been subjected to. I also thank my body for continuing to be strong which allows me to carry out my daily tasks. I offer a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to care for myself and well-being. Sometimes I just fall asleep — a clear indication that my body needs it.
What to do after an acupuncture session
I sit for a few minutes in the reception area and allow my body to “normalize” after the session. Similar to after having a massage, I don’t just get up and take off as that will shock the body.
Taking lots of water helps flush out the toxins. Only room temperature or warm water should be taken. Cold water is a no-no.
It’s also advisable to just take it easy and not schedule any straining activity or anything that uses up one’s energy. Staying home and relaxing after an acupuncture is best. It’s an ideal time for being instead of doing.
I use the time to do self-reflection and self-inquiry as some stuff may come up to the surface from having freed up the blocked energies. This is a good time to journal as some insights may be revealed.
I usually have a really good, restful, deep, sound sleep on the evening immediately after an acupuncture. Sometimes even on the second night after a session.
How frequent does one have an acupuncture
This is largely a personal choice and something that can be discussed and agreed with the acunpuncturist. It also depends on the goal.
For treatment of a disease or a condition, sessions may last until the disease is completely addressed.
For prevention or maintenance, weekly, every 10 days or couple of weeks. Weekly sessions work best for me.
Acupuncture is only one of the holistic therapies that I incorporate in my lifestyle to keep me well and balanced. There are others which I’ll share in future posts.
Meantime, next time you feel out of sorts, I suggest you pay a visit to an acupuncture clinic. You just might wish you’d done it sooner.
In Manila, Samuel Benjamin Sison, M.D., Oasis Acupuncture Clinic, Centro Maginhawa 97 Maginhawa St. Teacher’s village, Dilimina, Quezon City 02.9217849, 02.4348490.
In the Bay Area, Prof. Lai Fu Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D., Kang Fu Acupuncture 1615 North Broadway Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone 925.9305639.
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