There is a woman in the office next door who refers to me as a witch. I’m not offended by this, because she means it in the nicest way possible. She really believes that I possess magical powers. I’ve told her, time and again, that I am not a witch. I’m just an acupuncturist. She simply can't believe, though, that I can touch her wrist and give her all sorts of information about her digestion, sleep, and stress. Or, that I can press on a spot in her hand and make her back pain disappear. She is convinced that there is some sort of supernatural component to what I do. Maybe she has a point. Since I was a child, I was drawn to the world of the mysterious and magical. I believed in the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny for so long, I think even my own parents had questions about my mental state. As I grew older, my tastes changed, but my fascination with the esoteric never did. I traded tales of fairies and unicorns for books about psychic phenomena and hauntings. I spent a good portion of my childhood victimized by my overactive imagination (there is nothing like reading "true" tales of demonic possession before bed to ensure a night of obsessive closet checks), but I also relished it. People with active imaginations can really scare the hell out of themselves, given the chance, but they are rarely bored. I enjoyed the little mind-movie I usually had going on. It was easy for me to phase out into another world whenever reality got too intense or unpleasant. I sometimes felt as if I was living in two separate worlds, one of which contained infinite possibilities. After all, where is the limit when you are dealing with imagination?
For most of us, our vision narrows down to a small line of whatever is in front of us as we grow older. When we are children, we accept that there are things outside of our direct line of vision that may exist, even though they are not a part of our everyday lives. Then, we start to grow and change. We become infected with the attitude that “if you don’t see it, it isn’t there.” If something is different, or unknown, we tend to write it off because it is not a part of our everyday experience. Slowly, our vision shifts and narrows, and all of those magical things that we once believed in disappear. At this point, we call ourselves adults. Those adults who still revel in that which lies outside the norm are considered “different.” Not dangerous, exactly, but kooky, weird, or new-age nuts. We judge them, and consider them as outsiders. While we are busy judging them, why not also create some stereotypes about what they are like? If someone is into alternative health and such, they are probably pasty vegans who scorn the evils of alcohol and dairy. They surely can’t be any fun to be around, since they are too busy chanting and worshipping the moon to have a good time. And why would you want to pay money to visit someone like this, someone who will berate you for doing all of the things that you enjoy the most?
I started this blog with the intention of normalizing the idea of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Once in a while, I feel the need to reiterate the basic point of the blog. Acupuncture may seem completely different from what you were born and raised with, and that's okay. But don't write off this medicine simply due to a lack of familiarity. Educate yourself. Don't prejudge. Everyday I see people going through enormous physical and emotional changes after visiting my office, and it brings me so much satisfaction...but then I remember how many people are out there who would never even think of coming in, simply because it is outside of their realm of normality. I think of all the patients I have had who lament not coming in earlier, sparing themselves years of pain, simply because they didn't even consider acupuncture an option. And then I am inspired to sit down and write a blog post like this one, hoping like hell that people will actually read it!