Doubting Thomases

I sometimes wonder if I will spend the rest of my life explaining the whys of Chinese Medicine, or if eventually a new revolution of understanding will take place. Most of the time I don't mind; I love educating, and a large piece of what I do is just that. I'm also a skeptic by nature, so I appreciate the idea of exploring every angle before jumping in. Nevertheless, I can't deny the occasionally wave of jealousy I feel toward other health care practitioners, the ones who don't need to spend most of their career convincing the public that what they are doing has validity. I can't imagine calling a physician and grilling him on why and how antibiotics work. When I go to the doctor, I simply accept the fact that what he is doing will make me feel better. The same applies to the majority of healthcare workers and bodyworkers. I have yet to call up a massage therapist and quiz her on the theories behind massage therapy. I just have faith that it will work...and it does.

I know that Chinese medicine is still poorly understood, and that it has not yet mainstreamed enough to be considered a viable alternative for everyone. Still, I am sometimes amazed at the questions and comments that come up when the subject is mentioned. Just last week, I had the following two conversations:

Tuesday: Man #1: "So, what do you do for a living?" Me: "I'm an acupuncturist." Man #1: "Oh...what's that?" Me: "It's Chinese medicine...I use needles to manipulate the energy of the body to treat all kinds of issues....pain, insomnia, allergies, all sorts of things." Man #1: "Hmm...sounds really weird. So this is some kind of energy healing thing? Is it, like, an actual legitimate profession?" Me: "I hope so, or the $100,000 I spent on graduate school was a really cruel joke."

Thursday: Man #2: "So what do you do?" Me: "I'm an acupuncturist; I own a practice in Wayland." Man #2: "I've heard of that. My wife was talking about it a few weeks ago. Personally, I don't buy into any of that stuff. It doesn't really work, does it?" Me: "No, I'm a total fraud. I opened up a practice to take advantage of all those idiots out there who actually believe that Eastern medicine works! Ha, little do they know..."

Perhaps my issue isn't with the lack of understanding I've been dealing with lately, but more so the outright cluelessness of the comments. You don't know what acupuncture is? Fine. I get it. But asking someone if their career is "legitimate" is a bit tactless, don't you think? There are a lot of careers out there that I don't have the slightest clue about, yet I don't automatically write them off as not being "real" just because I have no experience with them. And if you don't believe in what I do, ask questions. Debate me, even. But I have invested years of my life, tons of money, and my blood, sweat, and tears into creating something that I see changing people's lives every day. Asking questions is fine, but telling me that you don't believe in what I do is mildly offensive. Sometimes we all need to step back and think a moment before opening our mouths.