MY Dad HATED me when I told him I was going to acupuncture school!
My Dad hated me when I told him I was going to acupuncture school!This is the untold, TRUE, story of my Dad’s reaction when I told him I was going to become an acupuncturist! Little did I know that I’d become an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner, working in Ridgewood, NJ in Bergen County NJ! Read – on for the rest of the story!
I never grew up thinking that I wanted to become an acupuncturist. In fact, it was the farthest thing from my mind at the time, in fact I never knew such a thing! If you were to tell me in my college years, that I’d be practicing acupuncture, I’d say that this was the farthest thing from my mind. If you were to tell me I would be looking at you with my eyes sideways! Now that I do acupuncture, I reflect back to that day when I told my dad I would be going to a four year school of intense training of Chinese medicine. He got pretty mad at me. He felt I was going into a life of the macabre, the twisted, the arcane. Worst off, he felt I was wasting my life by doing this “woo-woo” kind of medicine. I think what prompted his reaction were two things. He could only compute with the professions that he was comfortable with such as a doctor, lawyer , or accountant (both my brohter and my sister are accountants) anoche was missing at the time (and still!) like most people, is a deeper understanding of the art of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I wish I could have told him now what I knew then. Life between us would have been a lot better. So here are some essential facts about acupuncture that would have calmed my dad down so he wouldn’t have been so angry at me for so many years.
Acupuncture takes a long time to get good at!
Passing a school board test is one thing, but when deciding how to treat a patient, they can have many different syndromes occurring at once which makes it hard to treat their pattern of disharmony. “Pattern of disharmony” is where you ascertain different symptoms, wrist pulse configurations, tongue analysis and you construct a working diagnosis as to how to treat the problem. Specific acupuncture points sedate others tonify the body. Use the wrong combination and you don’t get great results. Simply put symptoms are part of a large context of a diseased state called “pattern of disharmony”. Connecting the dots to get an accurate diagnosis leads to better results. It is not simply treating a name of a disease, but how that disease or problem “lives” within you the patient!
People don’t know what acupuncture can do outside of pain and underutilize the medicine!
Acupuncture is the most underutilized medicine. So many people can use acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat immunity, mood disorders digestive disorders. But like so many, people are ignorant about what acupuncture can do for you. Did you know that the Veteran’s Administration now recognizes acupuncture for pain relief and post traumatic stress disorder. A few years ago, I tried to do my part to increase awareness of acupuncture by offering acupuncture sessions to stressed out students during finals. I never got an in to help them out.I’d still like to do it because the proof is in the pudding. I was to do a simple 5 point treatment for educing anxiety and stress by lowering the stress hormone called cotisol. I felt petty passionate about that since I experienced terrible anxiety when taking tests and can remember how difficult it was to face tests on the campus! I also find that more serious problems such as osteoarthritis of the knee among other conditions, simply needs more regular acupuncture. People have a misconception that acupuncture is only good for the treatment of pain. Pain is a powerful motivator, but just like we go to the gym, not when we are feeling “fat” (although that is one time), but just as a general wellness investment. Similarly, people have been coming in for reducing stress hormones, hot flashes, allergies, fatigue, and just a better overall of feeling of feeling “good” which comes from the high concentration of the release of neurotransmitters in the brain at very high levels. Sleeping better, and overall wellness that occurs when the body releases to release its own hormones and increase blood circulation to help the body repair itself. This takes regular treatments and a little time. So for the investment broker, he has two kids and a very busy business and so for him reducing his allergies and roseacea, as well as giving him some stress support, is so helpful for him. I also treat a physical trainer for his aches and muscle spasms as well as his MS symptoms to reduce episodes of the involuntary shaking of the limbs to improve the quality of his life.
Most text books on acupuncture are too simplistic, you need to study with a teacher or learn a system to get good at the medicine.
When I first started school there were very few good translations of books out there. Now there are great books on translation but when it comes to patients, a lot has to be individualized, because patient’s diagnoses are mixed and complicated. Rarely, is a patient a classic text book case with easy results. That’s why it is so important to seek out teachers whom you can wok with directly and whom you can get feedback on in the use of a system of acupuncture. This takes many years, weekends, webinars, classes and discussions with teachers and colleagues to get a good grasp on the treatment principles for getting people better.
Patients cases are complicated
Why do we do a diagnosis? Don’t we just stick needles in? Certain needles have a stimulating effect, others a sedating effect, while others have a good circulatory effect. Which ones are good for anxiety? Sedation points? Not always the case. We need to find out what the patient is struggling with, and diagnose the problem to begin with so that we can provide the accurate selection of acupuncture points to use to treat the condition effectively. A patient I was treating for neck pain along the trapezius muscle. Instead of using the points that affect the upper back meridian, the channel that runs up and down the shoulders, I had to use acupuncture points near her ankle and her pinky finger, with better effect. Another case involved a fatigued patient. He across as run down, exhausted and tired, with a history of chronic fatigue. However, on further examination, by checking her wrist pulses for the jump of the pulse, this person showed signs of hyperactivity of the mind. This was the cause for her fatigue as she was wearing herself out. We treated with specific acupuncture points with the effect of SEDATING her nervous system. You’d think that if someone is complaining of tiredness, then you need to strengthen them, but in Chinese medicine you need to understand the root of the problem. To use an analogy, she needed to have her air pressure reduced in he r”tires” to reduce the fatigue she was suffering with. As a result, she felt MORE energy, and as the treatments progressed, she was able to calm herself down so that she felt more in control, emotionally. Sometimes the text books are too simplistic. In pain cases such as this, there can be non-textbook solutions. We just have to be really attuned to the nature of the problem.
To become a good acupuncturist you need to learn many other skills such as communication, diplomat, accounting, besides the art of inserting needles and prescribing herbal formulas.
Being an acupuncturist requires that you learn other skills to get people better. Communication is key for explaining acupuncture, making people understand how they get got sick and what they need to do to get better. Hand holding, empathy, caring and sometimes laying down the line so people will do the things they need to do to get better. These skills take time to cultivate and to develop within you. Even quickbooks takes a lot of practice, hence my smaller career as an accounts specialist!
Acupuncture is a licensed profession – really!
Acupuncture is actually a profession! Acupuncture, when performed in New Jersey, is regulated by the New Jersey Acupuncture Board under the Medical Board of examiners.On the national level there is a national certification of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM- a mouthful I know!) which requires extensive educational requirements, and 60 continuing education credits every renewal cycle. That means constant study and practice makes a good practitioner, just like in any other profession. No we don’t consult crystal balls or do any divination to the gods, there are methods and there are techniques of diagnosis that help make treatments more successful.
Acupuncture works by enhancing the body’s own resources to make the body work better!
Acupuncture sends signals to the brain which in turn increases blood flow to the organs, brain and painful areas, shuts off any pain by shutting down the signals that go to the brain from the pained area, release endorphins so that you feel relaxed, more grounded, and a better sense of vitality, and hormones so you can control your PMS and your fertility. It woks in tandem with blood vessels and muscle fibers, so that’s why you can’t see a meridian, it is built into the workings of the bodybody and signals travel along, nerve, in blood vessels through signalling hormones, and through the brain.
So if only my dad understood these things at the time, perhaps he would not have been so angry. Most people feel their child is meant to be a doctor, a laywer, or a certified accountant. I don’t think being an acupuncturist was something he could ever envision for his son. Nevertheless, I don’t think that he had any clue as to what an acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner meant. If only he could have read this article sooner!
If you’d like to learn more about this medicine on my blog page go to www.acupunctureYes.com under blogs. If you’d like to get more support for your health issue or are looking for more approaches to living a healthy life style, call me for you 30 minute free evaluation at 201-444-7150.