Many years ago I was walking my dog and I slipped on some wet grass on a slope and my feet actually flew up above my head. I landed squarely on my neck and slid all the way down the hill, landing in a heap. It knocked the wind out of me. Once I could breathe again I hobbled back to the house, fell asleep, and when I woke up I was in the most excruciating pain I’d ever experienced in my life. And that pain lasted for 3 solid months. I had an MRI and learned I had herniated a disc. I went to a neurologist who basically tranquilized me to the gills. I tried physical therapy and pain management, and nothing was helping. Nothing. That kind of pain turns you into an animal. Nothing else matters. I used to just sit and cry.
Finally the neurologist said I needed surgery. He’d remove the disc and fuse the two vertebrae. I had a visceral reaction to that. No turning back. Sharp instruments. Cutting. Right next to my spinal cord. No. No, no, no! I decided that before I make that drastic, life-changing decision, I’d try one more thing. Acupuncture. The neurologist laughed and said, “You’ll be back.”
So I went to the Acupuncture and Holistic Health Center here in Jacksonville, Florida and saw Dr. Michael Kowalski. I didn’t know what to expect, but I definitely wasn’t expecting a 6’9” white guy! But he put me right at ease. Using both acupuncture (he is from the Five Elements school) and plant spirit medicine, he had me pain free on the first visit. I was crying tears of joy all the way home. But he said it was important to come back, and he was right, because the pain came back in less than 24 hours. And here’s where most people who are skeptical make their biggest mistake: I could have given up on acupuncture right then and been one of its naysayers for the rest of my life. But instead I went back, and at the end of the second visit I was pain free again, and this time the pain never returned. When I had my follow up MRI, the disc was no longer herniated. The Neurologist was speechless. I never saw that man again.
But I went back to see Dr. Kowalski many times, for years. He helped me with my back issues, my headaches, my energy level, my immune system…and I’ve talked to many people in his waiting room who say he’s helped them with their fibromyalgia, HIV symptoms, fertility issues, and a whole host of other health issues. I think the only thing that acupuncture can’t do anything about is broken bones. I carry a stack of his business cards in my purse, and give them out regularly. For some reason people are resistant to the concept though. They have no idea what they’re missing. During my time in Dr. Kowalski’s care, I never felt better in my entire life. I’d still be seeing him now except I can’t afford it.
But as I mentioned in my blog entry Reveling in the Red Tent, I won a door prize, and it was one session of Rhythm Acupuncture. Yeah baby! I was really looking forward to this. So I went there today and met Selena Wooley. Her office is in Orange Park, Florida, which is a little out of my way, but it was well worth the trip. I assumed I knew what I was in for, but she trained in TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is an entirely different school than that of Five Elements. She uses needles, yes, but she also used tuning forks, and that was intense. I could feel it throughout my body. She also incorporates her experience as a massage therapist, Reiki master, doula, and aromatherapist (just to name a few of her many talents) to really give you a well-rounded and in-depth treatment. I left there feeling so relaxed that you could have carried me out in a wheel barrow.
So do I recommend acupuncture? Always. Enthusiastically and without hesitation.
Don’t just stand there. Go!
(Image credit: holistichealthchicago.com)