While sitting in my LA apartment one evening during quarantine, a rioter tried to light the building next to mine on fire. I saw a neighbor chase this man down with what looked like a gun. He ran away just before police arrived at the scene. At the time, I didn’t realize that what seemed like a fleeting unsettling moment, developed into trauma and opened the floodgates for all of the negative life experiences I haven’t fully dealt with.
Since this day, I have been finding any way possible to reduce my PTSD and anxiety that was caused from multiple life situations. I knew therapy would help and that pills like Xanax were not for me. I also knew that my body was not right and I needed all the resources I could find to get back to a healthy mental state. In my opinion, mental health is one of the most important things in life. People that look within and take care of themselves first for certain things have this level of healthy narcissism. People with this “are aware of their strengths as well as their shortcomings, and view both as essential to their wholeness. They know they are not perfect, and have no expectations or intentions to be so.” (entrepreneur.com) Healthy narcissism can be a very powerful force for bettering ourselves.
During my search, someone in my family mentioned how acupuncture and eastern medicine has done wonders for her. Acupuncture can help with all types of different issues. Really, you name it and acupuncture can probably help. That day I decided to call a trusted, licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM), Dr. Marco DiBonaventura at Complementary Healthcare. That week I was in my first appointment and I have been feeling the benefits of Chinese medicine ever since.
What is Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture?
For some background, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Marco about his practice. He stated “Eastern and Chinese medicine is a scientific, well documented medical system that treats the body holistically by creating a very specific diagnosis and treatment for each individual. Eastern Medicine is the oldest recorded medical system in the world and the fastest growing alternative medicine in the United States. Chinese medicine employs acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion (heat therapy) and other adjective therapies to restore health.”
Essentially, western medicine works phenomenally for people during an emergency crisis like a car accident to treat injuries. And, eastern medicine works great for those looking for optimal health without the use of drugs or medications. Both types of care have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. If you put them both together that is a powerful and comprehensive medical system, which is how Dr. Marco came up with his practice’s name, Complementary Healthcare.
How does it work?
He explained that “acupuncture, specifically, works on parts of the brain that have become ‘sluggish’. Each part of the brain works with certain parts of the body (ie. heart, foot, toe, bone). Acupuncture instantly activates that part of the brain that the body is in need of help.” I knew this was just what my body and brain needed.
From the very beginning Dr. Marco let me know that he wasn’t interested in providing me with solely management care. This is considered a more temporary solution. In order to join his practice I needed to be all in and, I needed to follow the steps necessary to achieve my optimal health using corrective care for a long lasting, lifetime solution. I was ready and waiting for the challenge that my body and brain was in such desperate need for. In order to see how my body would react to acupuncture, we tested it with a few needles to start. Though acupuncture doesn’t work for everyone, we found that I was a viable candidate.
From here, we started my treatment. I began with 2x per week acupuncture appointments. Accompanied by dietary adjustments, herbal medicines and at-home meditation, we worked with my body to reduce my immediate stress and anxiety. After about a month we stabilized my overwhelming stress and reduced the pain I was feeling from dairy. Once this pain subsided we found that my jaw was no longer hurting for this reason. It was actually my weakened immune system from all the unrealistic pressure I was putting on myself. He prescribed me with a tea that helped build my body back up while also providing me with more mental and physical endurance. It was a tea that didn’t fight your body, but worked with it to solve the problem. My jaw pain and headaches really started to subside from this point forward.
I couldn’t believe that what seemed like such simple adjustments in my life could make such a profound impact. From removing dairy that was causing sinus, tummy and back issues to meditation 2-3 times per day to cope with and adjust my state of mind, I was quickly on my way to a full recovery.
What can you do?
For anyone looking to try acupuncture or eastern medicine, I could not suggest it more. Find a local, licensed acupuncturist and begin your journey today — what is stopping you? Dr. Marco was nice enough to provide payment plan options making it very affordable over time and my insurance covered a certain part of my visits as well!
For more of an at-home approach, meditation could be a great option for you! Meditation can be considered a system of self discovery and is known to aid in reducing stress levels. I really like to use the calm app while I am meditating as it gives me more of a guided session and helps me learn new breathing techniques and life outlooks. Someone with average stress levels should normally meditate for about 15-20 minutes daily. But, if you are experiencing elevated stress levels, it might be a good idea to consider this for 2-3 times per day. This is what I did and it seemed to help me more than I can even describe.
What do you find helpful to manage your stress levels? I would love to hear your suggestions!
Please note this article is not medical advice, but an article regarding my experience and personal findings of how eastern medicine and acupuncture has benefited me.