To tell you the truth, I haven’t had much experience with acupuncture myself. While this is something that is commonly practiced in Asia and I hear relatives and friends talking about different food properties following the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, I always had some reservation.
I tried acupuncture once when there was a Groupon offering, just to experience it. The doctor explained that my chronic, low grade lower back pain was related to the spleen. This was before I started studying TCVM and understood the inter- connection of the whole body. I wasn’t afraid of the needles with that session. Did I feel immediate relief ? No. But I was intrigued. For the next few weeks, instead of applying heat compress to my lower back, I applied it on my belly close to the spleen. Perhaps it was placebo effect, or perhaps it was also in combination of stretching. My lower back pain was gone.
I have friends who swear by acupuncture. Their chronic insomnia was cured and muscle spasm gone. They said that perhaps I didn’t feel the miraculous effects of acupuncture because I didn’t have any dramatic pain to begin with. Also, I never went back for consistent treatments.
Placebo or not, Western medicine also has many documents on this and not all pharmaceutical medicine work on everyone. I believe that every system has its pro and cons and it could just be a matter of more research for us to unlock the final mystery.
Gross Self Experimentation
2 weeks into my course, I was just learning the principles of TCVM. We haven’t learned how to locate acu- points yet. In one of the case studies, 2 points were mentioned for treating constipation. I was curious and decided to give it a go.
I applied gentle pressure for about 1 minute on what I thought were the acu- points based on the pictures I found on google. I thought just for fun I’d try it on my cat too. He was not too pleased but he put up with me, as he always does. Then we went back to our own business.
10 minutes later, nature called. I went into the bathroom and found my cat busy covering up his track. When he saw me he let out a scolding “Maw~~~~” as if saying, “Excuse me, I was here first. How dare you disrupt me.” then left his litter box in a huff.
Was this a coincidence? I do not know. I have not used any needles but needles are not the only ways to stimulate an acu- point. Plus, could one minute of pressure really make a difference?
I tried it again a few weeks later and again both of us went to relieve ourselves about the same time. Now this can be a gross topic for some so I am just going to leave it here for now. I just thought it’s an interesting tidbit. It’s easy to say that human can get placebo effect but it’s a bit hard to argue that it works for animals too. All I know is that I cannot wait to learn more about this particular branch of medicine and practice it on myself and my pets.