Needles that heal – Filly’s Blog
Last week, I had an acupuncture session with Chinese Medicine practitioner, Stacey Hanson, from Chinese Medicine Ripple Effect. It was my first time of having acupuncture. I’ve always been curious to try it. I have some friends who swear by it – some have had significant reduction of muscular-skeletal pain, another it helped to bring on labour, while another it helped with his digestive issues. I find it super interesting that sticking needles into different points in the body can help with multiple health issues, and help bring into balance all of the body systems.
I was a little nervous before the session (perhaps from my subconscious traumatic childhood memories of getting jabbed by the doctor!), but as soon as Stacey started her consult, her calming nature put me to ease. Stacey does more than just ‘jab needles’ into your body. I soon realised that there is a fine art to administering acupuncture and other Chinese Medicine procedures, and it takes a talented and perceptive practitioner to piece together clues from the patient’s signs and symptoms, in order to offer the most effective treatment.
Stacey began the consult by asking me questions about my health issues and about the functioning of my body systems. She took the time to really find out about my signs and symptoms, and past and current health history. It was really nice to see someone who actually cared about you as a whole – and not just offer a drug or treatment to mask the symptoms. She then took my pulse and analysed my tongue, to see if the physical presentations of my pulse and tongue confirmed my signs and symptoms, or offered new information. In Chinese Medicine, the quality of the tongue and pulse can tell you a lot about a person. For instance, Stacey said my tongue “lacked coat especially in the front ‘lung’ area, while [my] pulse was not as strong in the lung position.” She asked if I had any respiratory problems – I had, a few months earlier, suffered from constant colds and flus after having Elsie for about six-months, until I started using essential oils. I also find myself not breathing, or shallow breathing, when I’m feeling stressed. I have been working on this too, but still slip into my non-breathing ways. I found it really amazing that Stacey picked these issues up just from feeling my pulse and looking at my tongue! Stacey said that according to Chinese medicine, “the lungs control the opening and closing of the pores as well as circulating protective qi around the surface of the body. When this lung function is impaired, frequent colds can occur due to ‘evils’ penetrating the exterior.”
Stacey discovered other stuff out from analysing my tongue and pulse, things to do with my kidneys which showed a yang, and, to a lesser extent, yin deficiency. Chinese Medicine believes the human body has organic unity, and that the sense of unity is based on the
opposing and complementary relationships of yin and yang. The body’s organs and tissues can be classified according to yin yang theory based on their functions and locations. Health can be achieved when yin and yang are in harmony – when they are in disharmony (when they show signs of deficiency) disease and physiological disorders can arise.
I’m always hungry for knowledge, and I like to ask lots of questions when I visit health practitioners. Stacey not only took the time to answer my questions about how she came to my diagnosis, and why she chose to treat me in her particular way, but she was also very generous in sending me a bit of a report about my health from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Her report was really fascinating as it offered another way of looking at health, and I thought I’d share some of Stacey’s words of wisdom:
“My diagnosis led me to a deficiency of kidney yang deficiency and a lesser kidney yin deficiency with empty heat. There is also an element of lung qi deficiency.
Explanation: The kidneys are the centre of the body’s yin and yang. Kidney yin is the foundation of yin fluid of the whole body, it moistens and nourishes the organs and tissues whereas kidney yang is the foundation of the yang qi of the whole body, it warms and promotes the functions of the organs and tissues.
Kidney yin and yang are mutually dependent, promoting and restraining each other, leading to an internal harmony of yin and yang and healthy functioning of the body’s organs. It is the dynamic interaction between the two that maintains the normal life activities. “When yin is stabilised and yang well-preserved, the spirit will be in harmony; separation of yin and yang will cause exhaustion of essence and qi.”
Sooooo what that means for you…
Hypothyroidism generally falls into the category of kidney yang deficiency as does low energy, frequent bowel movements, delayed periods and sub fertility as yang is warming, energising and promotes ovulation and regular menstruation. The element of kidney yin deficiency with empty (false) heat is evident by getting hot during the night (yin time of day) and especially in the formation of follicles in preparation for ovulation as yin is more ‘form and structure’ while yang is more ‘activity or function’. Your tongue showed more yin deficiency signs ie a little on the red side with not much coat while your pulse showed more yang deficiency signs.
The lungs control the opening and closing of the pores as well as circulating protective qi around the surface of the body. When this lung function is impaired, frequent colds can occur due to ‘evils’ penetrating the exterior. Your tongue lacked coat especially in the front ‘lung’ area while your pulse was not as strong in the lung position.
Therefore my treatment focused on these three components. I needled kidney points on your back and ankles and used moxibustion to boost yang. I also needled your head to help raise qi to your upper body to restore balance; and your wrists to strengthen your lungs and your protective qi. I recommend energy work such as tai chi with a strong emphasis on breathing to strengthen your lung qi.”
The acupuncture itself was nowhere near as terrifying as what I thought it would be! Stacey was very gentle with placing the needles in – only one on my ankles made me jump. And it was very relaxing lying there, letting the needles clear blocked energy – something I definitely needed, to be unblocked and de-stressed! Stacey also used the technique of moxibustion, which involved holding a burning piece of spongy herb, called mugwort, over the acupuncture points to promote healing. It was a really nice, warming sensation. When I looked back at the photo of my porcupine back, I noticed that the needles on my kidney points were quite red. Stacey said it may have been because of my low kidney yang, and the moxa working to restore it.
I felt super dazed and relaxed after my session, and then a few hours later, felt so done in, like I could curl up in my bed and hibernate for the rest of the winter…Not that there was a chance of that happening. It was craziness back at my house after Daddy BigDog looking after the girls – toys everywhere, Poppy running round in her undies, toilet paper shredded from one end of the house (Miss Elsie was to blame), dinner to cook, emails to send, lecture to watch, dishes to clean. Luckily my qi (my ‘vital energy’) had been rejuvenated during my acupuncture session and I could step into the house with the energy I needed to get it in order!
If you’re interested in trying Chinese Medicine, you should definitely give Stacey a call. Not only is she a very conscientious and kind practitioner, but she also knows her stuff! She has completed a four-year Bachelor Degree of Health Science – Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine double major), and she also did a clinical internship at Xindian Tzuchi General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. Stacey now practices at The Health Nut in East Devonport on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by appointment.