To change the day to day of our lives we have to make decisions. The bigger the change, the bigger the decision needed. Either way, thinking about it isn’t helpful…acting on it is.
So, last week I announced the new Lecture series. It is a coconut I purposefully picked up.
Now one I need to drop.
For almost 15 years I have been doing acupuncture on pets. I love the modality for several reasons…
- It utilizes the body’s natural systems rather than clobbering it with drugs
- It has few if any side effects
- There is no placebo effect in our patients, there is no dog I stick needles into that thinks “yeah, I think this Chinese thing is gonna work on me”
- It acknowledges that our bodies (and by extension our pets’ bodies) have inherent energy.
- Mastery and respect for that energy flow is central to traditional Chinese medicine, and we don’t even have a name for it.
Still, acupuncture is a complex modality and I have basic training. A story I tell frequently is that a good acupuncturist uses acupuncture points to play a symphony with your body. The subtlety and mastery required to move energy to heal, or choose points that have the optimal effect is as difficult as composing and playing a beautiful piece of music. I play a fancy version of Chopsticks, or maybe at best “The Entertainer.”
To go to the next level would require a lot more training and immersion, and I love being a regular vet. What has changed my view on this is the recent addition of a mobile veterinary acupuncturist in our area. I met him a few months ago to discuss his situation, and it seems as though he practiced in a regular practice for awhile and found the stress too much. I can totally respect that. He decided to focus only on acupuncture and add to his complementary medical toolbox with time.
I have a soapbox when it comes to complementary/alternative medicine in the United States. We don’t recognize its value in the western medical model, so it is cast aside and is often thought of in terms of products. We go to the natural health food store and buy supplements and that is what passes in most cases as alternative practice.
First of all, each of the individual healing systems (e.g. acupuncture, western herbs, homeopathy, Bach flower remedies, Reiki) are hugely different, and practice of any of them requires training and commitment. Each health system has its own point of view, and strengths and weaknesses, and true mastery is no easy task. I see pets from well intentioned clients all the time that are “Internet trained” alternative medicine devotees and their poor animal is on 16 different supplements, eating a “Holistic diet” with special attention to making sure the food is Gluten, grain, preservative and dye free.
All these things have their place, but we are targets of marketing without even knowing it. Buying these things for our pets is not the same as going to an alternative medicine practitioner.
Honestly, more than once I have considered throwing away all of the gadgets and focusing my own energy in this area. But that is for another lifetime. I would never give up the things I have learned about healing from our regular old western medical approach. I am the first to say that it can be abused by crappy practitioners. But that is true of homeopathy, or acupuncture, or massage therapy. I have been toawesome massage therapists and I have been to really really bad ones. There is an attitude to healing, regardless of the modality you use.
Anyway, I am stepping out of the acupuncture ring. For those of you who have pets that I am treating, I will see them as long as you want me to. But for everyone else (and I have to encourage you Hanks acupuncturees too) call Dr Munzer at All Creatures Acupuncture
He is experienced, honest, friendly and has better training than I do. I’m pretty sure he can at least play Mozart. In addition, Dr Lee Herzig at Full Circle Vet in Belfast is great with traditional Chinese medicine and did that thing with throwing all the gadgets away. He has perhaps the largest alternative/complementary medicine toolbox of anyone in our area.
Lastly, in my bag of recommendations for well trained alternative/complementary types are:
- Don Hanson: Bach Flower Remedies (Green Acres Kennel shop)
- Dr Judy Herman: Homeopath (Augusta area)
Holistic practice is what you make it. To me it means that you take into account the whole situation that makes up the health of an individual. It is as much about recognizing the baseline stress in the household as it is about using special diets or supplements. We have to acknowledge that we are in a culture where you buy stuff and that puts you in clubs. For instance, you can buy a special meditating pillow because you are interested in meditation. That is not the same as a daily meditation practice. But it feels similar when you order it on Amazon. At least it does to me.
Soapbox complete, stored for the next time.
I can’t help but notice that my soapbox is worn from so much use. I think I’ll order another one on my Amazon Prime Account. Its free shipping….