Friday, August 28, 2009

We've Got Another Storm Approaching? Really? I Can't Feel a Thing...

I have been a form of weather vane since I realized the correlation between my migraines and the approach of a low pressure system. I put two and two together when I was in my late-20's, when I lived in Toronto.

Then I discovered that there is such a thing as a barometric pressure triggered migraine.

I became a sort of Doppler radar as far as the weather was concerned. I felt an oncoming low pressure system, even when it was a few days away. The really bad storms are just giant low pressure systems, and my degree of pain was unrelenting for up to 10 days at a time.

For some reason earlier this year, I began thinking to myself: I resign from my weather vane job. The Weather Network can do it.

You've probably heard of rewriting subconscious 'tapes' that perpetuate negative life cycles. I just began doing this spontaneously earlier this year.

Then a pregnant coworker who is originally from Taiwan went to an acupuncturist to treat a throat infection, rather than take antibiotics while in her late-term pregnancy. My friend and close team member inquired as to whether our pregnant colleague's acupuncture treatment was covered under our health plan.

It was.

I made an appointment.

You can see my initial reaction to my acupuncture treatment, as well as the story of my knee injury by CLICKING HERE.

The pain levels and weakness for my knee went down immediately. The pain levels for the migraine have gradually decreased since I began treatment in mid-June. My practitioner, Vivian Yuan, works in partnership with her husband, Dr. Tem, an herbalist. I've been given two different types of Chinese herbal pills. The first was to 'dry up my damp'. The second focused particularly on my head pain. I've had two treatments with the second one and have improved significantly.

Last week, however, Hurricane Bill approached. I was in far more pain when I came to the appointment than she'd see me in before. After she had placed all the needles, she asked, "You okay?" I nodded and she left me to 'cook', as I think of it.

After I was done and she'd removed the needles, she asked if I was willing to try something different. Of course I said yes. If she thinks I would benefit from something, I'm there, baby.

She came back with a long rock with grip grooves in it. She said it was for a massage. I sat on a stool and she worked on my neck, back and shoulders with the stone. It felt great. The right side of my neck was sore because of the migraine, but otherwise it was marvey.

She told me I would have red marks for a few days. I headed home and then saw what she meant by red marks.

Totally freaky.

First of all, these red spots didn't hurt in the least. Not to touch them, nor deep down in the tissue. The next day, my back was a bit tender if I swivelled. But that went away by the third day. Today, six days later, there are no marks at all.

What she'd done is called Gua Sha.

It's a form of Bodywork Therapy that has been practised in China for nearly 4000 years. It focuses on realigning Qi or chi energy within the body.

What's so amazing to me is the fact that she rubbed all over my neck, shoulders and back - yet the red marks traced a line along my spine and across my cervical vertebrae.

And what are the effects of my first Gua Sha treatment?


There's another big storm coming up along the eastern seaboard toward Nova Scotia this weekend. Tropical Storm Danny. I first heard about it on the news in the middle of the week.

I stared at the TV screen in confusion. Whenever a storm system appears on the weather report, I'm already feeling it. But this was actual news to me.

Today, my coworker mentioned that the storm had changed trajectory. I figured that meant it was veering away from us, because I had so few pain signals about it. No - it's heading directly for us.

Ha! Ha!


I can't tell.

Nikki says My mom's frozen shoulder got cured through the same treatment and that massage is good too!

Susan Helene Gottfried says SWEET. I did acupuncture after #2 was born. It really helped.

Heather says Happy to hear you are no longer a Doppler radar.


Ire said...

Whoa you can feel the storm coming? I am glad you went to the accupuncturist! My mom's frozen shoulder got cured through the same treatment and that massage is good too!

Hope you are good now! :)

Akelamalu said...

That is SO interesting Julia. Will the effects of the treatment last indefinitely or will you have to have more treatments?

I too get headaches when there's a storm on the horizon. :(

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

SWEET. I did acupuncture after #2 was born. It really helped.

And yes, I do believe that Chinese medicine knows more than we give it credit for. Good thing your health insurance folk know it, too!

Heather D said...

Happy to hear you are no longer a Doppler radar, the satellite views on the NOAA site for the Northeast Atlantic are so much more colorful, unless one looks at your back shortly after therapy.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Nikki - Actually, today as the storm settled in here, it also settled in as a migraine for me. But it's SO late compared to when it normally happens. And the symptoms are much milder.

Akelamalu - I've been having treatments since mid-June. At first I went twice a week. Now I'm going once a week. Because it's a very long-standing problem, I'll need ongoing treatment for awhile yet. By the middle of the week, I can feel the effects of the previous treatment succumbing to my chronic pain levels. But this week, after that massage, the relief went far past the mid-week time frame. I had to cancel today's session to go to a luncheon. We'll see how I do in the coming week.

Sorry to hear about your own weather headaches. Maybe you could tell your head 'I resign' like I did? You never know what might present itself.

Susan - I've already used up the heath coverage allotted to me for the year. So now I'm paying out-of-pocket. Very expensive for me, but now I can't live without it. It'll be more than worth it in the long run.

Heather - LOL!

poefusion said...

Sounds like your acupuncture and Tui Na treatments are working on your migraines. I'm so pleased you've been able to find something that gives you relief.

Travis Cody said...

I've been considering acupuncture for my chronic back pain. I should probably stop considering and start actually making appointments.