Some weeks have gone by since my grandmother started her acupuncture treatment in order to find a cure for a food allergy that has been ailing her for the past few months. She had seen all types of specialists, but none could find the reason for her ailment or the cure for it. After a few sessions, and after identifying that these symptoms are the result of significant emotional factors, the treatment started to work. As a show of support for her, my mother decided to experiment with this type of alternative medicine. They were so pleased with their therapies that they insisted that I go to a session to be treated for stress and anxiety. Yes, the same stress and anxiety that dates back to the time of my life long struggle with math.
This is how I decided to try this ancient healing practice more out of curiosity than necessity. The experience seemed significant to me in order to pave the way to self-knowledge and healing. To be honest, when I arrived for my appointment, my mind started to search for imaginary aches and pains. I remembered the ache behind my right eye, which I have always attributed to lack of food —when I have gone for a long time without eating. I remembered the pain in my right hip which started all of a sudden after my trip to Europe. Subsequently, I listed many other symptoms attributable to stress. Then, I was forced to ask myself when all these symptoms started in order to identify the root of the problem.
When I came face to face with Carlos Restrepo, my acupuncturist, and talked a little about my life, I was bombarded by words. Where could I start? From the time I was five, or ten, or twenty or thirty. How could I summarize my life in 20 minutes without leaving out all that is of importance to me? In the end, he seemed to understand that his patient’s journey of a thousand miles had been full of ups and downs; where I seemed to be well aware of the root of my complaints and still being able to laugh at them, either out of nervousness or irony.
We had a great chat. Not only did he listen to my monologue, he also talked to me about the Qi or Chi, as some sort of universal energy that is always in movement, always crossing from one meridian point to the other. I suppose this is where the extra thin needles are placed, which in themselves are almost imperceptible. I came to understand that acupuncture tries to ensure that the circulation of energy within our bloodstream does not stagnate and results in pain —a cultural concept we have not learned to accept as an innate element of our human nature.
The acupuncture session came after a very pleasant conversation. Carlos placed a few drops of an herbal elixir under my tongue in order to alleviate my stress and tension. While I laid down in darkness on a hot bed of jade stones, an image simulating the universe was projected on the ceiling. A black velvet drape provided the backdrop in which particles of green neon light met and collided with each other. As I began to relax, I came to the conclusion that life itself maneuvers in the same manner. Meanwhile, Philip Wesley’s The Approaching Night played in the background.
Twenty important and incredible minutes peacefully passed by. Twenty minutes to forget about this cumbersome world and allow my soul to find respite in this haven. An aromatherapy massage consisting of the most delicious floral oils helped me quickly release the earth-bound tension in my neck and back. I was getting prepared for the Chinese cupping therapy massage, in which glass spheres are placed on your back, to suction the skin and stimulate the blood flow to the surface of the body.
I must admit that I felt transformed and renewed by this therapeutic session. These integrated practices do not simply rely only on faith. A successful healing outcome also requires the willingness to accept that there is a range of medicinal possibilities which begin with the soothing of our own mind and the important acknowledgment of our own humanity.
Given the multiple approaches this center gives to healing, this is an experience worth having. Soon, I look forward to joining the Integrated Holistic Medicine’s mediation sessions in order to create important spaces in my search for greater tranquility and silence.
Image by: http://www.zastavki.com.