Monday, October 15, 2007

Traditional Chinese Medicine

While in Puerto Rico last week, I emailed to confirm my appointment with the acupuncturist, Dr. Carr, for this past Tuesday. Free appointment (remember: it was another gift from boot camp), so I figured, why not give it a try? I'm all for Western medicine but there's got to be something to Eastern medicine, right? As a scientist but an open skeptic, I thought the experience would be interesting.

She asked me a whole bunch of questions regarding my physical well-being, if there were any aches and pains or anything significant from my head to my toes. Because I told her I'm not there for any physical reason (ie no plantar or carpal tunnel or anything), it was a pretty easy Q&A.

I did get a little emotional (really, just a LITTLE) when talking about the stresses in my life, like finding the balance between between a good wife and good mother, and keeping house, and work obigations. I mentioned I'd like to calm my anxieties and little distractions I find engrossed in that immobilize me when I'm stressed.

She went over the 5 elements in TCM (that's my title above). The cycle: Metal --> Water --> Wood --> Fire --> Earth then back to Metal. I can't remember the detail clearly now, but she said she's like to work on my Earth and Water elements. When you write the elements on paper in a circle, you can also draw a pentagon between the other elements, and they also work off each other, like a check and balance system. In this case, Earth and Water balance each other but Fire also balances Earth (and likewise, Fire also balances Water).

She related my kidneys to the Water element. On top of the kidneys are the adrenal glands, and they are responsible for providing adrenaline during stresses . If I have constant stresses, the adrenal glands are constantly working, overprocessing, and that's something that needs to be addressed.

The spleen and pancreas were related to the Earth element, which is a digestive issue. She mentioned something about eating the right foods associated with winter time, soups, stews, and drinking green tea or green/black tea chai teas which are calming and warming during the winter months. I guess by doing so, it will help balance the Water element.

And she said that because of these two elements, I could focus a bit on Fire too, which is the anxiety part, I think. She didn't really prescribe a treatment, though, that I can recall.

I agreed to two acupuncture sessions with her, and some herbal recommendations, an instant tea I can bring to work and not "cook" like so many TCM herbal remedies.

I feel better already!


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