I decided to begin going to an acupuncturist when we moved up here. Or rather, I had decided I’d do it in Cambridge and then we decided to move! You see, medically speaking, I am not only a conundrum wrapped in an enigma that is coddled in a riddle, but I am simply too complicated for doctors to sort out. It’s not a good place to be, I’ll admit, knowing that doctors are playing whack-a-mole with a list of ever-increasing symptoms but not getting to the root cause of any of them. One doctor, a supposedly learned fellow, actually scratched his head in puzzlement at me and suggested the only thing he could think of, which was akin to using
a hammer Mjolnir to crack a walnut (and he was the best the NHS had to offer!). Some doctors suggested my genetic, physical complaint was merely a ‘lifestyle issue’ and one GP didn’t even know what it was. Given this lacksadaisical and somewhat random approach (one GP was great) that most GPs and consultants had, I decided to eschew doctors and began to do research into slightly more crunchy-granola territory, though obviously still keeping to things that have clinical trials and published research to back them up (not like, say, homeopathy). Acupuncture seemed to have a lot of positive scientific and anecdotal reviews and since booking myself in to see my acupuncturist I haven’t looked back.
I did a lot of research (I used the BAcC website) before settling on someone I thought had the qualifications and the drive to make change happen. I must admit, while I was aware that acupuncture gets rave reviews from people who’ve had it done, at the back of my mind I was immensely sceptical about the treatment’s efficacy. I told my acupuncturist that I was there because this was the Last Chance Saloon and that the medical establishment, such as it is, had all but washed its hands of me unless I wanted to be well and truly Mjolnir’d. We went through my complete medical history, including odd questions that I would ordinarily have thought would make no real sense to anyone, I had my pulses taken and my tongue inspected and then began treatment. My acupuncturist is actually, it turns out, very good. Within 24 hours of being (painlessly) needled, I notice huge effects on a whole gaggle of problems that had been weighing me down for years.
Knowing that my acupuncturist is really open to learning new things, I did some research and found a really high-quality, randomised double-blind study done in Sweden on the use of acupuncture, which would address a good deal of my problems. I showed my acupuncturist the protocols and we’re now giving them a go, with the hope that I’ll be able to repeat the high success rate of the Swedish study. Already, I see huge improvements in my quality of life and, unlike the medicines that I keep getting schilled at the GP, these don’t have endless side-effects or limitations. Am I cured? No, but I am certainly a whole heck of a lot better than I was. This is a process and it takes time, something that our ailing (and about-to-be-privatised, thanks to this lovely government of ours) NHS can’t or won’t admit or make concessions to remedy.
What is the problem with modern (Western) medicine? If your medical file is beginning to resemble War and Peace, ten minutes in a GP’s surgery isn’t going to cut it and being handed a prescription for a never-ending supply of medication that never helps isn’t either. I want answers and medical help to get well again. Western medicine as a whole, fails to address the fact that a person is a holistic being and that illnesses take time to resolve. It fails to recognise that one event (a traumatic injury, an illness etc) can affect the whole way that your body, a structure that has thousands of different parts all working in concert with one another, works. Knock one thing out and you begin to notice everything around it struggling to compensate, which then gives you symptoms of something else. The Chinese have known this for thousands of years and in hospitals there, you will receive treatment both using Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine as well. In certain places, such as the US, ‘functional medicine’ seems to be bridging the gap between the two, by using Western doctors who also accept that symptoms of B, C, D and E can be a result of something happening to system A.
To play the devil’s advocate in the matter, even if the symptom changes that I have noticed are nothing but the result of placebo (and some of them have been so physically extreme and unexpected that I cannot imagine how I could ‘placebo’ them into being), it has worked – because things are better than when I started the appointments. After all, if I am feeling better and my body is acting better, then isn’t that a good thing? It might not be for you, indeed, there are things that acupuncture isn’t as adept at (don’t look at its Wiki page, as it is so very poorly written and curated), but any acupuncturist worth their salt will tell you on first meeting what they can and can’t treat. Do give it a go, though, because if you have chronic pain or migraines or horrible PMS or IBS, this might be the thing to change all of that for you. After all, isn’t anything worth giving a go if it makes you feel better?