Detox from alcohol, drugs, smoking or even sugar is a matter of will. It’s a matter of strength. It’s a matter of emotions. And largely it’s a matter of body chemistry. When people are addicted, there’s an imbalance. It could be from an “addictive personality,” an emotional-based trauma, a means of escape or a physical issue. As a member of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, part of my job is helping patients get from addiction through withdrawal symptoms to balance and freedom.
Quite frequently, people come to Eastern Medical Center looking for help with getting off “lifelong” Western medications. Often I hear about symptoms such as sluggishness and tingling in the fingers and toes, which are common side effects of many drugs. Fortunately, acupuncture is a powerful tool for getting off of medications while balancing the body so that it doesn’t “need” the pills to sustain stable health. We can use acupuncture to taper off medications in a safe, gradual way and balance the chemicals in the brain so that the patient doesn’t suffer withdrawl symptoms.
I recently treated a patient who had been diagnosed with Wegner’s granulomatosis (inflammation of the blood vessels affecting the kidneys, lungs and other organs). He was on immunosuppressants, steroids and in horrifying joint pain. Everything was inflamed, from his knees to his arms to his wrists to his ankles. He had been told that he’d be dealing with this forever, and this person who you could tell had once been bursting with energy and zest for life was now a shell of himself. He loved to travel and felt that part of his life was over. He loved an active lifestyle and thought that part of his life was over. All this, based on the idea that he’ll never change. I would argue that there is change from day to day, hour to hour, albeit subtle and small. There is always change.
Sometimes doctors tell their patients things that are difficult or unsettling to hear during a diagnosis: “I don’t know … We can’t do anything for you … Wait and see …” These types of conversations leave the patients feeling powerless to affect their own health and are especially common with autoimmune diseases or other “lifetime illnesses.” These aren’t mean or vindictive physicians; they’re just speaking the truth from the Western medical perspective. But from the Eastern medical perspective, the picture looks very different.