Friday, January 12, 2007
Ode to the Acupuncturist
If I could marry my acupuncturist, I would. Aside from the fact that he's the only man on the planet whom I willingly pay to poke me (with needles), he's also an individual who never fails to impress me with his work ethic, intelligence, depth and caring manner. He's the white guy who travels to remote villages in China in order to speak (in fluent Chinese) with random old guys who are rumored to have knowledge of ancient and esoteric remedies. He sees the world through a lens that the rest of the world casts aside as myth. "Everything is everything, Namaste", he's been telling me for the past four years. He always elaborates on this as if it's the first time we had this talk. Like a child, I play along while bombarding him with questions about everything from the Taoist interpretation of global warming, to how the DNA really works, to issues of mind over matter, to the science of reversing the aging process, to the exploring the fundamental difference between "dis-ease" and "disease". He then volleys back with a discussion of physics and chemistry, partially grounded in science and equally coded in metaphor and myth. He likes the fact that I follow along. I like the fact that he even engages me.
I like to think that he finds me equally amusing. I'm sure most of his patients prefer to keep silent while he works. Instead, I'm the one that asks, "What are you doing now? And now? And now? Oh cool! And why are you doing that?" I prefer to think of myself as my own science experiment. I always ask him how my liver is doing, despite the fact the he has no problem telling me that my spleen is overactive. It's a constant issue that seems to worry him, and he tediously sticks me at various "spleen" points in my body that make me nearly leap off the table at first. "But how's my liver?," I ask repetitively, like an old woman, once my body settles down into the rhythm of my redirected-chi. He laughs. Sometimes he tells me. Sometimes he just changes the subject. I laughingly refer to my acupunture points as my "g-spots", which also brings a good deal of laughter into the room. One time I boldly asked him if there was an acupuncture point on the body for such a thing. In his usual Taoist fashion, he patiently reminded me that "everything is everything..." and continued to focus on the task of redirecting the flow of my blocked chi.
I need him for the "big" stuff, but sometimes he does things for me that aren't necessarily on that list. Like, a few years ago, I rolled my ankle the day before an appointment with him. When I hobbled into his office, it was swollen and a little blue from the initial bruising. In 5 minutes, the swelling and pain was gone. The next day, the bruise had completely disappeared. Another time, I had a migraine on the day of my appointment. Within 30 seconds, the migraine no longer existed. And finally, the other day, I developed a stuffy nose while on the table. He noticed this and told me that he was going to perform a magic trick. In rapid time, the congestion disappeared. He laughed out loud when he saw my face change at the sudden realization of what he had done. "That's so freaking cool!," I told him. Again, he laughed.
We also like to exchange our secret Sudoku strategies. And favorite Thai curry recipes.
Acupuncture is awesome. I would love to recommend my acupunturist to all of you, but, unfortunately, I'm not willing to share. But I do recommend finding a good one. Make sure he or she is honest with you. And that you can also have a good laugh while enduring the somewhat barbaric process of having needles stuck into your skin. It's a little unusual, but it works wonders for the chi.