so you wanna know how I got into acupuncture.

By Chryssa

Do you know what a 'Country Song Phase' is?

If you don't, that's ok. I'm pretty sure I made it up. 

I did my reiki training in early 2008. I needed something because I was lost. Being lost in your mid-twenties is apparently not a huge thing, but when you're in your mid-twenties and you're just trying to be alive, you are unaware of such truisms afforded by hindsight. 

It was the followup to a time in my life that I refer to as my "Country Song" phase: I'd just broken up with my boyfriend and was wildly confused about how I could love someone so much and also know we weren't good for each other; the day after that, I put the dog flea medication on the (way tinier) cat (hint: seizures); around that time I was also rejected from an MFA program at a prestigious school (the only one I applied to - walked right into that one); I worked for the family business (which also housed me) and it was sold - so with that went my home and my job (but lucky to have fallen into that); and finally, my grandmother died (she was 90 and had lived a long and beautiful life). The cherry on top was that on the same day that Yiayia died, my dad's beloved dog was fatally hit by a car after he'd left for the hospital to tend to his mother's death. 

All of this for a gal who already had control issues. 

Cue precocious kid.

Cue precocious kid.

These things are most certainly not the end of the world. I also understood that taken singly, each occurrence was ostensibly super handle-able. But at 25, I didn't have the emotional wherewithal to handle it. I was one of those precocious kids who seemed to have it all under control; I was that kid who helped the adults through the hard times. I was a Peer Mediator, for goodness sake! Within that paradigm, I was also privy to a contentious divorce which, for all intents and purposes, I handled very well. Kids are so resilient, right? Some of them are, definitely. Those are the kids with the longer chromosomal alleles  - I just wasn't one of those kids.

That's actually part of my passion for working with children: we adults can be remiss in the credit we give kids for their level of complex understanding of the life that goes on around them. 

Even if a child's understanding is not registered cognitively, it's oftentimes still taken in on a cellular level.

Cellular memory for events can have significant emotional ramifications later in life. 


Roundabout 15 years later, my body still wasn't equipped to handle even one of these Country Song events. The sum total kinda sank me.

But you know what? Bodies are kind of incredible. You can have diabetes and be hypertensive and you still remain alive, and yet a signal within the heart could misfire in an otherwise healthy person and that individual life could end. Bottom line, energy in the body needs to move, and movement equals life.

Hooray! That sounds pretty great! 

We can just, you know... move. And stuff.

There's a flip-side to that, though, and that is that sometimes energy gets stuck. It's just another part of life: we have energy, it should move, and sometimes it necessarily can't because we impose (most likely emotional) blocks on it. 

Like a river lacking the water or force to move detritus, personal energy, too, gets clogs and stagnates. 

That's really what pain is: stuck energy.

My first reiki treatment was so relaxing that I had the thought that maybe there was a way through this. The relaxation felt like literal, actual, to-my-core healing. I knew I was stressed out and I knew I was depressed, but I didn't figure that engaging in a practice that touched neither mind nor body could actually spur a transformation for both.

Thankfully I was wrong and thankfully, the reiki made me worse. Yeah, that's right: I said thankfully the reiki made me worse! I honestly needed something powerful to make me "believe" (I like to say that Chinese Medicine is not a Faith-Based medicine, and it's not: but how does a skeptic get involved in self-health if they're not forcefully shown, one way or the other, than it has an effect on them?).

Long story short, I had this old college injury that was irritated by the reiki (and by old college injury I mean tendonitis of the elbow, since I was an English major who typed a lot). The writing process is emotionally evocative but it never crossed my mind that the physical and emotional aspects of the tendonitis could be parsed out - what is from physical repetition and what is from emotional repetition? - and suddenly, typing-free but depressed and in a state of heightened emotions, the elbow pain was back. At first it fueled the depressive mindset of "why me?", furthering my self-fulfilling prophesy that I wasn't in control of my life and why oh why. Oh why oh why oh why.

See, I was a victim. 

and See, I was the one victimizing myself.

But it also piqued my interest into something far less solipsistic and something far more interesting: a personal experience of the mind/body connection. Thankfully, I wanted out of my depressed hum-drum and thankfully, the physical pain induced was at a level where I needed to seek professional help. 

I was referred to my first acupuncturist and from there, life changed.

My main pain point was literally an acupuncture point: Heart 3.

It's a point that congests due to unrest and turbulence. It's indicated for exhaustion and when Water doesn't control Fire. The previous few months had blown my Fire element out of control and being out of control and unrooted, my Fire, my zest for life, my animation, extinguished.

Poof. Gone.

Water, generally so calming and rooting, didn't have a chance to be helpful. Water couldn't circulate, Water couldn't be energized, so Water got mucky and boy, did I sit in it. (You know: the whole "why oh why" thing.)

I took it all personally, which is a chicken/egg situation with the Fire element: taking something personally can injure your Fire, but in its weakness an injured Fire element is also prone to playing the victim. 

Taking things personally when they are not personal de-regulates the line between self and other, and not having a clearly delineated self allows the Fire element to run rampant. 

Thankfully, acupuncture put me back in me. Acupuncture reminded me of my sense of self. Acupuncture opened my eyes. Acupuncture allowed me to begin to heal me.

Acupuncture made me more human. 

So, that's the story of how I got into acupuncture. I actually worked in a laboratory that researched the connection between allele length and resilience in children in the time between starting acupuncture treatments and beginning the masters program to become a licensed acupuncturist.
I am so grateful for the ability to combine my academic and professional backgrounds; doing so has further reinforced the power of positivity in creating a worthwhile life. I think, just maybe, my alleles are growing :)