The space that acupuncture provides for the modern patient involves using different sources of medical care to fulfill particular needs. Rather than a retreat from conventional forms of medicine, using non-Western systems to complement care seems to be the driving force for American patients. As non-conventional standards begin to emerge, such as acupuncture, reikhi, naturopathy, and yoga, it becomes necessary to manage illness and work on healing through more than one system of medicine. While these forms of medicine are not natural to the American patient, they provide relief by approaching the human body in different ways.
For me, I grew up with a great reverence for Western medicine, but the concepts of Indian systems of medicine, specifically Ayurveda, as a part of how I think about healing. My mom would tell me not to eat too many dates in the summer time because they have a heating effect in the body. Sometimes, I would just respond with an adolescent mah-oooom! But as I grew older, I learned to take her advice in stride with other ideas I had about health and healing.
Every time I have left a doctor’s office feeling like a hypochondriac and not feeling much better about my health, I find value in this sea of different medical practices that can keep me afloat. The sense of hopelessness itself can block healing and make the body respond poorly to treatments. I think de-mystifying acupuncture is something that will help patients gain confidence and reject fear.
Tanvi Avasthi is an GWU grad OurSpace's first summer intern. Read more about her here.