It may seem like your acupuncturist asks a lot of questions that are unrelated to your illness or current health concerns. Perhaps you’ve wondered why that is.
Let’s say you get headaches that are troublesome at best and debilitating at times. Naturally, you want relief from the agony so you go to an acupuncturist. Once in the treatment room, the acupuncturist begins to ask about the headaches. How often are they occurring? How long do they last? Where are they located in your head? What is the nature of the pain? All this makes sense to you and you begin to get excited about the possibility that these annoying headaches could potentially be a thing of the past.
Then the acupuncturist begins to ask more and more questions. How is your sleep? How are your bowel movements? What is your diet like? What is your work like? Do you sit at a computer for extended periods of time? Do you have neck and shoulder tension? Do you get hot easily? At this point you may be starting to wonder what all these questions have to do with your headaches.
Since Chinese medicine is a holistic approach to your health, the acupuncturist needs to know how the rest of the body is functioning. Everybody’s headaches are different. some people may get headaches at the front of their head, others at the back of the head. That alone could significantly change the treatment approach. Additionally, the accompanying symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may have cluster headaches that are accompanied with sweating, photosensitivity and fatigue while others might have throbbing headaches accompanied with restlessness, teeth grinding, and nausea. Again, the approach to the treatment will be significantly different in each of these scenarios.
Acupuncturists don’t treat symptoms. They treat the underlying cause of the illness or disease and in so doing, the symptoms go away. Your body falls into a certain pattern of being because of lifestyle habits and preferences. Acupuncture works because the provider is treating the entire pattern. He/she may make lifestyle recommendations, dietary suggestions, and herbal prescriptions based on the individual pattern. Your lifestyle, your tongue, your pulse and ALL of your symptoms are a reflection of the pattern. They’re telling a story about your body and your lifestyle.
We have to honor our bodies as whole organisms. The symptoms are a reflection of a pattern of disharmony. Unless we treat the pattern, the symptoms will return.