“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.”
Pont du Gard, the 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct in the south of France, is held in place without mortar.
It’s dazzling, and a outstanding representation of balance.
Balance feels best. Complementary energies produce and sustain life, a subtle balance of yin and yang.
Yet maintaining balance is not simply learning how to stay grounded.
As humans, that’s impossible. We all loose our footing.
It’s about finding the depth to let life meet you halfway, and roll with the punches. It’s unlocking the strength to get back up after you plummet, and to try again. Encore une fois.
In July 2010, I was catapulted out of balance, falling flat on my face. Imbalance was seeping everywhere, leaving me in a constant state of anxiety. My litany: I was sleep deprived. I was nursing a five-month old. I was dairy free due to S’s milk protein allergy. I was a new mother of two. I was creeping on week nine of living in a hotel due to a massive damage caused by a washing machine mishap in our condo building.
I had nothing in reserves, and frankly, I was unhealthy.
When balance is lacking, unpleasant surprises – disease, discord – pop up in the neglected areas.
For me, it was a nasty intestinal infection.
I desperately wanted an uninterrupted night of sleep. As my 34th birthday present, my husband dropped me off at another hotel. Buh bye, see you maybe. Just leave me in peace, I ached.
The how and why are in true Rudey fashion, but the take away is I left a wet swimming suit in a sealed plastic ziplock in our scorching car for two days. This was a recipe ripe for a bacteria feeding frenzy.
Without a second thought, I plunked on the suit and took a dip with my family on the fourth of July.
A mere two hours later – pow, bam, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya! – red, raised pimples broke out all over my core.
In walked the powerful broad-sprectrum antibiotic, Clindamycin.
Two weeks later, his evil cousin, clostridium difficile (or C. diff), wracked havoc on my system.
It was no discotheque.
I was desperate to restore balance.
I came to acupuncture when Western medicine was in dire need of a boost. I was on round three of antibiotics to kill off the C. diff. The unwanted bacteria was laying dormant, but only for a spell before it pounced again. I called on acupuncture to augment my body’s natural healing process.
I committed to eating clean (in reality, about 85 percent of the time) and seeing Natalia for a weekly super shot of acupuncture.
Long after the infection cleared, I stuck with acupuncture. I trek to Oak Park monthly for a tune up.
The Fears Dispelled
- It’s safe. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles requiring that needles are sterile, nontoxic and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners. The highlighted point being qualified: Find someone you trust.
- It is not without sensation, but acupuncture is relatively painless. If Natalia inserts a needle and the aching or pinging is unbearable, I let her know. She adjusts (and sometimes removes) the needle.
- It is relaxing and restorative. I’ve been acu-stoned, due the pointed movement of Qi, and it’s quite blissful. A handful of times I’ve left with my head in clouds, my edge way off. This led to amazing sleep, awareness, and productivity.
- It unblocks stagnation in my body. How do I know that? I feel little zaps or pulses. I’ll tell Natalia that I feel a zinging vibration on a set point on my calf and she’ll say, Oh there. Right. Have you had a lot of dairy this week? She will then needle that point to move the Qi (pronounced ‘chee’).
- It balances wellness and reduces stress. Acupuncture helped me find my center again. It slows me down to accept the moment I am living in now.
- It’s natural. The Chinese have been at it for thousands of years. Left to its own devices, our body will eventually heal from most ailments on its own.
- It’s inexpensive. That is, if you frequent a practitioner that accepts your insurance. Natalia does, so my treatments cost my $25 co-pay. My insurance picks up the rest.
Do you do acupuncture? Would you ever try it?
Below is an interview with Natalia if you’re hungry for more.
Ciao for now.
Q: What are the benefits of acupuncture?
There are so many! From alleviating pain to stress reduction, acupuncture allows the body to heal itself. It helps to rebalance things that are out of whack and causing dysfunction in the body: physically, mentally and emotionally.
Q: What is Qi?
Vital Force. It’s the drive behind everything that functions and allows movement in your body. It’s your spirit and will power in action. It pumps your blood and keeping you breathing without consciousness.
Q: What should one expect from their session with you?
A session typically lasts 30 minutes to one hour. After an in-depth intake on your first visit, a diagnosis is formulated. I look at your tongue and feel your pulse to help me come to that conclusion. From there, points are picked to “needle” on your body. Acupuncture needles are hair thin and virtually painless. Once you lie down, the needles are inserted. As they stimulate the points they signal your brain and healing begins. One typically lies down and “zones” out (a deep relaxation).
Q: How did you become interested in being a practitioner?
I was studying to take hte MCAT (Western med school) and I stumbled upon Chinese medicine – which assimilated more with my principles in life: treat the root of an issue or problem and it won’t return.
Q: What aiments do you treat?
What don’t I treat is probably a better question. Acupuncture treats EVERYTHING. From pain, headaches, digestive disorders, emotional instabilities, fertility, sinus congestion … The list goes on and on.
Q: How does one prepare for a session and what should one expect from their session with you?
It is important to have an open mind for any new experience. Preparation is limited, just bring yourself. Have a little food in your system before you come. When you movie Qi without food, it might cause dizziness.
Q: What is the most common misconception you hear about acupuncture?
That acupuncture is hocus pocus and doesn’t work. I used to get so defensive about it, but now I know that the community who uses this medicine is far more healthy physically and spiritually. I just feel bad for those that reject it. In the back of my head, I know those people probably need it more. Another thing that ticks my anger bomb is when chiropractors say that they do acupuncture, but they only have a certification – a three-weekend course. I went to school for four years – fulltime, which was after four years of undergrad. they are not qualified and no one is who does’t get their Master’s in Chinese Medicine.
Q: Do you have an additional comments or thoughts?
I hope the Midwest (in particular) starts to accept this field because of the massive amount of benefits it can give a patient. I studied in California and everybody just seems to “get it.” Out there all insurances cover treatment. I worked at Children’s Hospital out there and every medical facility has a practitioner on staff. It’s so good for the patients and family who are dealing with a loved one who is injured or sick in some way.
Merci beaucoup, Natalia!
Find her at Elite Rehab Institute.