Monday, August 13, 2012

everything ends

I have been doing acupuncture for quite a few years now. When I lived in DC I saw two different practitioners. The main one practiced a very traditional version, using a minimum of needles, only placed at the areas of interest, some herbs on the body, and a heating lamp. He was frankly a miracle worker. I knew I could go see him when something felt out-of-wack and he would help get me back on track.

The second acupuncturist, who I would see from time to time when the first was out of town or just for a different take, was schooled in Japanese acupuncture and would place more needles — they had to be symmetrical on the body  — and never used heat. When I asked him about the heating lamp, he just rolled his eyes as if I had mentioned something from the Dark Ages. I think both doctors and acupuncture were beneficial to me in helping me feel more balanced, have more energy.

Acupuncture doll
When I moved to Florida two years ago I looked around for a combination of the first two doctors and found someone who did the symmetrical needle placement but also used heat. He wouldn't put herbs on the body, but would prescribe Chinese herbal medicine and teas if needed. I had been feeling, a few months ago, that maybe I needed to look into trying a different acupuncturist. The medicine and the acupuncture just didn't seem to be doing much for me, no matter how often I went. I'm not sure if he sensed my frustration, but one day he suggested I try tai chi, and offered to teach me. That has been a boon, but he is very "old school" about the style of tai chi one should practice and the Yang style 108-form is simply too much for me. I don't want to spend two hours every morning doing tai chi  — who has that sort of time?

As wonderful as it has been to have the opportunity to start learning tai chi I have still been thinking that it might be time to try another approach. To be honest, I would have already moved on if not for the tai chi lessons. The deciding factor was my last acupuncture session. A line was crossed. I'm still processing how I feel, but I have no desire to go back anytime soon. The doctor has known me for quite some time, but I don't think that gives him a right to comment on my life or what I need, or try to give me a massage when I'm not sure I want one. I don't want to be his friend. I'm always, bottom line, a client, there for treatment. It's a slippery slope, and I think that cultural differences and communication gaps also play a part, but I suddenly didn't feel comfortable. And to let someone put needles in your body you need to feel safe and comfortable at a bare minimum.

I guess what's different about seeing a doctor like this vs. a "regular" doctor, besides the Eastern medicine vs. Western medical approach is that you see them a lot more frequently, so there is bound to be some sort of bonding. I really like my gynecologist and have been seeing her enough to feel she actually knows me and doesn't have to check my chart to ask how I'm doing, but we're not going out for coffee anytime soon, and I don't think she'd try to tell me what I need or don't need to do. Boundaries.

It's time for a change.
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