When people attend their initial acupuncture session, we will not surprisingly have a long conversation about their health. Although there will be a list of questions to ask, with experience these can be used to give structure to the session and not to hinder the flow of the dialogue. The chat may meander from bowel habits to ‘get up and go’, from dry skin to the death of a parent. Often when I pause to ask how things are proceeding the answer is something like “I’ve never really thought about it in that context before”. The point here is that we are encouraged to think of our health as manifesting in small unconnected parcels. We are unused to considering such issues as being joined up, one to another.
To take an example:-
“I have a back problem which has nagged me on and off for three years. My GP says it is just wear and tear and offers me painkillers. These simply mask the problem. Osteopathic treatment is helpful for a while but I have to keep going back for more. My acupuncturist asked me when it all started and I immediately went back to the time when I lost my job three and a half years ago. I was sick with worry for several months afterwards and that is when it started I think. Although I eventually got another job, I haven’t slept well since. I’m beginning to think these things are all connected”.
This patient had never thought of joining up the dots, and no other health professional had encouraged her to do this. As a result of our discussion acupuncture treatment was given to address the sleeping issues, calm her mind and strengthen her back. Her symptoms began to ease and she felt like the woman she thought she had lost.
So what are the keys to connecting with your inner Sherlock Holmes? My suggestion would be to construct a timeline and write down the key experiences in your life. Include health challenges, life changing moments such as getting divorced or having children, and anything else you can think of. If appropriate draw arrows to show things may be connected. Does anything new jump out at you?
Then focus on some of your current symptoms – for example PMS or fatigue. Do you know what makes it worse or what eases it? Are your headaches improved or worsened when you massage the affected area? What do you think you need to do to change things? Not only will this help your GP, acupuncturist or other health professional to accurately diagnose and treat your condition, it will help you to feel more in tune with the workings of your body.
Why not get talking to your inner Sherlock right now?