Hey guys! So…anybody have a grapefruit with their meals yesterday? 😉 I’m still enjoying mine! I bring up grapefruits from yesterday’s post, share workouts on the blog and talk about the power of your mindset to affect your habits because more and more I’m learning that being a personal trainer, to me, means opening up my view of health in a more all-encompassing way. The thoughts we think about ourselves, the food (and the way in which ) we eat, the ways we move and what we do with our bodies all encapsulate what it means to be healthy.
It was with this ever-opening view of my own health that I headed down the street to see my friend Amanda for my first ever acupuncture appointment. I had no idea what to expect, especially since I was going in as a “healthy individual” without any aches or pains or major stressors to report. I had an amazing experience and wanted to share with you a few of the facts about this often misinterpreted form of medicine from our time together!
B: Breaking it down to the basics, in simple terms, what is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points (Acupoints) on the body that are part of a complex meridian system (pathway).
These meridians run all along the body and enter and exit into important organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Each Acupoint has a very unique healing function that corresponds to the meridian and organ it is a part of.
For example, if there is a weakness in the digestive system, we can use an Acupoint on the spleen or stomach meridian to help increase the function of digestion.
B: List a few of the (many!) benefits.
A: The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes Acupuncture as beneficial for all kinds of ailments; migraines, depression, insomnia, muscle pain, arthritis, and allergies to name a few.
For the past two years I have specialized in women’s health. I work a lot with adrenal fatigue/stress, anxiety, menopause, PMS, infertility etc.
B: Do you have to have pain or a chronic issue to benefit from acupuncture? What if I’m an apparently “healthy” individual?
A: One of the wonderful aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is that it is a preventative medicine. My goal as a Practitioner is not to treat my clients solely when they are unwell or out of alignment, but to treat them when they are strong and healthy to ensure no future illness occurs.
(I love that! Amanda is all about prevention! Cool to see people working on that end of things!)
B: How did you get into acupuncture (I’m sure it’s a long story but you can just highlight a bit of your journey)?
A: I grew up with a mother that was very into organic living. Gardening and eating organic, recycling, and spirituality were automatic in our home. It was during a trip to Asia that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. It was a no brainer that I followed the alternative medicine path. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, and the more I looked into it, the more I found myself in awe of all that it could treat. I began my studies here in Calgary, in 2009, at the Canadian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
(Super interesting! Your mom sounds cool. 🙂 I bet you have some pretty neat experiences from your time in Asia and also from your work here in Calgary, Amanda.)
B: Do you think Chinese or Western medicine is better for us?
A: The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that it treats every individual in a very unique way. No two illnesses are the same. What may cure one headache, very well could make another’s worse. I pride myself on taking time to get to know my clients and their bodies before I come up with a treatment plan. In the very busy world that we live in, often healthcare is rushed and feels impersonal.
That being said, Western Medicine is incredibly important. I recently had a family member undergo an organ transplant. To witness what can be done with modern medicine was absolutely amazing!
There are many conditions that can be cared for solely using alternative medicine, others that need western medical intervention. My hope is that one day the two medicines can be integrated and work together.
(I had to ask this one as so many people are one-sided! I think Amanda’s perspective is incredibly refreshing! She told me about her time in China where, in the oncology units, they gave chemotherapy in one arm and Chinese herbal medicine in the other arm’s IV! Such a balance and not a dualistic view of medicine.)
B: Why do you love what you do?
A: I love making a difference in other peoples lives. Whether is helping them start a family, or explaining to them why it is they may not be feeling energetic and well.
I get to work in a very intimate and personal setting. I meet people every day who are brave enough to share with me their personal healing journeys. My clients help me understand the importance of the simplest everyday things. It is a very emotional and rewarding profession.
B: That’s so neat, Amanda! So how do people get in touch with you?
I can be reached at the Holistic Institute of Health and Fertility.
(403) 984- 3970
150, 4411-16th Avenue NW
143, 14919 Deer Ridge Drive SE
My First Experience With Acupuncture:
Overall, I loved it! During the entire appointment I felt very well taken care of and cared for by Amanda, and it started with a thorough consultation about my health, habits, nutrition, movement, etc. She even looked at my tongue because a tongue can tell a lot about a person’s insides!
From there she explained to me the difference between acupuncture (as described above) and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS; an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin). This technique, which also uses needles similar to the needles used in acupuncture, is more painful as compared to acu’s relaxing, almost meditative results during the treatment (and while both are effective, they serve different purposes) (source).
After I changed, Amanda walked me through what she was doing, what the needles would feel like, and what Acupoints she would be placing them in. It was barely a prick and didn’t hurt at all; I was surprised they were even going in because I could barely feel it and was bracing for a lot more! I was comfortable and had my needles in and then she left the room, giving me time to relax, breathe deeply, and pray/meditate/relax. I did just that!
The main sensation I got while I lay there was the feeling of lots of energy between my hands, like they were buzzing or vibrating. It was crazy! And a neat experience. I began to feel as if my palms were opening up and turning outward; every now and then I opened my eyes and glanced down to make sure they weren’t moving on their own. They weren’t, but it sure felt like it! I held onto that image of me opening myself up, letting go of stresses and worries (new business, what will the future hold, etc), which was symbolic and neat as I prayed about where God was leading and what would happen.
Other than that, I was relaxed and enjoyed the experience! Thanks so much to Amanda for my first acupuncture experience – I will be repeating it at some point for sure!
Have you tried acupuncture before? What was your experience like? Do needles scare you at all or are they holding you back from trying? I promise it is painless! 🙂
Live well & be well (and go see Amanda and tell her I sent you!),