I have come to believe that our brain is like a three pound, mushy battery or the power generator for a city block. Our brain determines whether we are a colorful, blaring neon sign illuminating our surrounding area or whether we are a barely noticeable sign flickering dimly on and off. Like a battery and thank goodness for me, I’ve found that the brain can be recharged.
After a brain injury resulting from a suicide attempt, my brain was impaired with poor connectivity and s-l-o-w processing and in bad need of recharging, One way I accomplished was through acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been practiced for 2,500 years and is based on energy channels called meridians in the body. Qi or chi or life energy flows throughout the body and between the skin’s surface and the internal organs along these meridians. Illness or pain occur when the healthy flow of energy becomes imbalanced or blocked along these pathways. Acupuncture facilitates health by restoring the natural flow of energy.
Acupuncture has been medically proven to speed healing, improve circulation, and increase nerve growth. Research is further validating this ancient art by showing that painkilling endorphins and important mood-regulating transmitters are released when acupuncture points are stimulated. Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat allergies, depression, arthritis, back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, infertility, insomnia, post-polio syndrome, sciatica, smoking cessation, weight loss, and more.
I started doing acupuncture about three years after my suicide attempt and brain injury. In the beginning, I did as much as three treatments a week but reduced over time to once a week or more infrequently. The first time I did acupuncture, the difference in my perception was so drastic afterward that the drive home was scary. My perception – it was more than just my vision – was so much sharper and clearer with edges being more defined and colors being more vivid. It was as if someone had focused the lens through which I was viewing the world. However, I did not even know it had been out of focus prior.
In retrospect, this makes sense to me because vision is mostly in how the brain processes the input from the eyes. In testing, my vision was normal– no worse, no better than before the brain injury. My perception was impaired though, because, for example, when I put the dog’s leash down in the leaves I couldn’t pick it out of the collage of shapes and color. My Dad walked right up and immediately spotted it.
I could tell a big difference in more than just my vision. It was as if I had taken a smart pill and my whole brain had become more efficient and focused. My thinking was faster and clearer, and I felt revitalized, more alive, and stronger.
Mostly, I did cranial acupuncture where needles were stuck in my head, but I’ve had needles put almost every place imaginable. With needles sticking out of my jaw joints, I had visions of Frankenstein. While the needles don’t hurt once in place, I am aware of them when they go in. The needles in my head were hooked up to a machine which sent electrical impulses into them to provide constant stimulation. Amazingly, I never did glow in the dark yet.
Once I was stuck and hooked up to my electrical stimulator, I would lie there trying really hard not to move for an hour listening to music or educational CDs and napping. I got really good at ignoring the little urges to scratch my nose.
I also took a daily herb granular mixture and a liquid tincture that the acupuncturist mixed just for me taking into account my brain injury and whatever else may be going on with my body and in my life at that time. She looked at my tongue and read several different pulses to determine what was needed in the supplements and treatment that day.
Unlike Western medicine, the goal of an acupuncturist is to keep the person well not to treat symptoms of sickness.
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