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I owe a lot to traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. I wouldn't be writing this article, or very likely, any other articles, if it weren't for my experience with acupuncture in the past four years.
I have had a tendency for 20 years to flareups of inflammation in my arms, which historically would take six weeks off my life when a flare would begin. I have written about the wonders of castor oil recently, which has made life liveable when I'm caught off-guard with an acute flare.
For the chronic tendency to inflammation, however, I depend on monthly maintenance from acupuncture. My naturopath Dr. Kelly Upcott fine-tunes my joints and muscles by her deft wielding of the needles.
She sticks them by the dozen into my face, arms and hands. She also does my legs and feet since in the past decade, I've become prone to inflammation flares and chronic pain in my feet.
Being impaled across the tops and sides of my feet can be quite uncomfortable if I'm in the middle of a flare, but invariably by the next day, things are getting back under control.
As to my arms and hands, what with bad posture (which I'm working on) and a lot of typing every day, not to mention this predilection to inflammation anywhere from my shoulders down to my fingertips, I benefit from a monthly session that eases the stiffness and soreness which often builds throughout the month.
Upcott puts disposable acupuncture needles in my forehead, and the sides of my face, in my arms at specific locations, and from the knees down to my toes. These are specific points that are located on meridian pathways with the purpose of restoring the unhindered flow of my qi.
I will lay on a cot for about half an hour. Sometimes we'll talk, and sometimes she'll leave me in the room with very low light and quiet music or nature sounds in the background.
I've gone in for emergency sessions when a flareup has gone way out of control. Upcott is always gentle but ruthless with the tender, distended limbs and extremities. Hobbling in to her office in that condition has been challenging and painful but it has always been worth it.