Tuesday, May 22, 2012


In a further attempt to deal with my skin rash, I made an appointment at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, which provides acupuncture, massage, and herbal treatments. For 45 bucks you can be seen by an intern, which seemed to be a good option for the uninsured (me). I also preferred to consult with a person who understood natural remedies, since many Western doctors are ignorant about even nutrition (I've had doctors tell me vitamins were pointless. No lie.)

I was seen by an intern and an assistant, who interviewed me on my medical history for over an hour, very patiently and thoroughly. The intern then scrupulously inspected my tongue, took my pulse several times, took my blood pressure, and probed my abdomen. They shared their findings with their supervisor, an actual doctor, who came by to briefly inspect me, and recommended an acupuncture treatment. If you've never done acupuncture, expect to have about 10-20 needles inserted. They hurt a bit going in, but they are inserted very superficially, and don't generally continue to hurt once inserted. Sometimes you will feel a nerve pain elsewhere, this is sort of the point, because the purpose of acupuncture is to use pressure points to realign systems in your body. They then leave the needles in for about 20 min while you lie still, and then remove them. The main challenge is to stay very, very still, or they will hurt as your muscles tense to move.

I didn't fully understand what they told me they thought was wrong, and they also warned me that acupuncture is not always an instantaneous fix. I was advised to return in a week for a follow-up, where they might prescribe herbs, and decided due to the reasonable rates I would do so.

I don't especially feel any different having done the acupuncture, but I appreciated the thoroughness of the exam and am willing to try a few more sessions to see how it goes. At the very least, the worst case scenario is that the acupuncture doesn't improve my skin issue, but at least it will not hurt me and I am not ingesting any potentially harmful drugs.

As a side note, I should mention that I have, in the past, used acupuncture to heal muscular injuries and found it almost instantaneously effective.

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