Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine

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A few weeks ago, I found a Groupon for acupuncture, the deal was amazing, I was craving novelty/adventure, thought that a few treatments would satisfy this urge without violating the law, and got a few treatments, not expecting once.

Now I’m completely amazed.

In the last three weeks, I have

*lost 12 lbs (caveat: a large portion of this is water, but I don’t seem to miss it, either, and there’s also my recent adherence to a decent vegetarian diet & regular exercise is involved in this, but still.)

*less joint pain

*lost my generally ever-present anxiety and feel like the energy inside my head is different.

*improved circulation

*have achieved this without the use of herbs

* Started to realize exactly how crappy I felt before I started going, now intensely more hopeful about the future.

The diagnostic process in Chinese medicine is a bit different than Western medicine. An acupuncturist looks at your tongue, and takes your pulse from three points in your wrist, and looks at your medical and personal history. I guess there’s an individual level of response to treatment, my accupuncturist tested mine by having me turn my neck to the right  (neck stiffness is a thing with me) and pressed a point in my right wrist and the tension in my neck was about 70% gone. Doing this on max aggression level, twice a week so, this should all be pretty interesting.

What is really interesting to me is that the core of this practice is based on balancing your internal energy, and balancing the way your body interacts with itself, and maintaining personal habits that promote well-being. Essentially, this is built on the taoist principle of yin and yang, and too much of either will cause certain types of imbalances and eventually disease, and if one organ system is overly affected, it will throw the other ones out of balance.

There’s also a theory of balancing elements in a person, they use 5 representing earth, water, fire, metal, and earth, and the seasons-late summer is considered its own season.. I’m overly water-y and earthy, apparently, lol, and have long-lasting imbalances/childhood illnesses, so while my primary issues are my stomach and my liver, everything else is out of balance because they’ve been over-working.

Also have a cold, damp consistitution, the early stages of “cold bi”, which is a form of arthritis (again, split into 5 categories), “blood defiency”, so I hope that my health continues to improve. Also being treated to help me quit smoking- not a lot of progress with this yet.

The clinic I go to uses a Japanese style of acupuncture, and they insert needles in my wrists, feet, knees, and ankles more than anywhere else…they do some insertations in points in the back, and the needles they use are tiny and fresh every time. 🙂

Healing reactions/acupuncture hangovers are kind of a thing here. The first time I work, I ended up with a mild headache about a day and a half, and the 3rd time turned into some kind of massive peeing episode to the extent that my kidneys/lower back were sore for about 2 days afterward. Crazy stuff. There’s some minor stuff too- draining sinuses and increased salivation (they’re opening my “water channel”, I guess).

Also trying some weird hippie crap like alkalinized water, been eating more fresh vegetables vs. frozen, actually eating in the morning (usually have a stomach ache when I wake up, get sick if I eat too early…now I eat half a grapefruit, wait for 15 minutes and then I’m good to go?)

Cut most dairy, besides occasional small bits of cheese, only occasional caffeine, ginger tea is the love of my life, no meat….things are good. Trying to eat more often and early in the day, but that’s so against my nature, so it’s a work in progress. Got myself down to eating cooked vegetables when I get home from work at night.

I don’t know. I like the idea of looking outside of western medicine and it’s super linear cause and effect, I’m reading “Between Heaven and Earth”, right now, on traditional chinese medicine, which explains the differences between the two different approaches-the author is a western medicine doctor, who went to China with a team of other doctors in the 70’s to look into this, so I’d consider her to be a pretty decent source.) Really love how it’s built into a philosophy, really, on living in harmony with self, others, and nature.

Happiness

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Last night I realized I was happy.

Was in a steaming hot bath, listening to classical music and smoking.

This year is the first year I’ve had relatively unfettered control of myself. I’m not in addiction, my basic needs are consistently met,I live alone, and I’m not bouncing from crisis to crisis.

It’s pretty terrific, to be honest. I think one of my issues is that my standards for myself are quite high, and I needed realize that I have had a lot of setbacks in life, so holding myself to a standard of being where a person “should be” at 30 isn’t ever going to be helpful for me.

Instead it’s more positive and accurate to look at all the changes I have made, and barring political disaster and things I have little to no control over, life is going to largely get better from here.

Maybe at this point, it’s more interesting for me to be happy and successful versus perpetual misery girl, haha. I almost feel disrespectful to humanity being happy. There are a lot of things to be unhappy about in this world, but it’s more productive for me to focus on how I can improve myself in order to help others improve their own lot.

Haha, seriously, after most of my twenties, making $23000 a year, having freedom, living somewhere with interesting people and things to do, and having my own apartment makes me feel like I might as well be a millionaire.

There’s a lot to do and so much to pursue. Considering becoming a vegetarian again, I’ve parred myself down to chicken, but it’s a pretty big staple, so that’s going to take some rejiggering.

Otherwise making a pretty deep commitment with health for the next year. I’ve been so up and down with weight my whole life, I’d like to get the rest of this weight off in a controlled fashion and manage to maintain a relatively stable weight after that. Be nice that one of the downfalls of not seeing me for a year could be that I’ve gained or lost like a fucking 100 lbs so you might have an issue recognizing me at first.

Think not abusing drugs/alcohol should be a pretty big help with that.

Otherwise consistently meditating again should help, but I’m so resistant to starting again. Blargh.

Maybe quit smoking, at some point in the next three years…or par it down to exclusively vaping.

A lot of issues with my stem from just consistently prioritizing things and acting according to my values on a day to day basis. Human shit.

Think I’d realize I was in a state of dysfunction with something, and then try to fix it so hard and fast I’d throw myself into a different and opposite state of dysfunction, as a way of life.

Now I just have to figure out how to avoid extremes and stay in the middle on life more.

Haha, I just think I’m hot shit now because I’m paying off my student loans at the standard rate now. (Which, FYI, is going to take 8 1/2 years. Yikes.)

So health and finances are priorities for 2018, which was basically the same as last year, did ok with that but still need a lot of work. Education the year after, maybe at some point during 2018, but probably not.

 

How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh

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There is no separate self. We are a current. We are a stream. We are a continuation.

We are like the clouds in the sky, never dying, never passing from being to nonbeing. A cloud can become snow or ice or rain, but a cloud cannot become nothing. A cloud cannot die. If we overcome the notion of birth and death, we are no longer afraid of impermanence.

This book is a beautiful introduction to meditation, and includes general information on different forms of meditation as well as becoming more mindful in your life. It’s also not much of a time investment, and written by an accomplished Zen master. Go read. Go go go.

Ginger Tea

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Life is filled with small pleasures and locating a new one is a special experience. Ginger is a health promoting herb, it has many benefits including high levels of vitamin C, appetite reduction, prevention of alzheimer’s disease, and improved circulation.

What makes ginger different than other supplements I’ve tried is that the appetite reduction and improved circulation is noticable, and the tea delivers an internal heat upon consumption. I’ve been consuming the tea over the last month, and my stomach feels better, I’m more alert, and I feel much better..this might be borderline too much information, but my bowel movements have been excellent.

When prepared in a tea with honey, it’s also one of the most delicious things things in this world. Try this if you’re interested in the benefits or if you enjoy tea.