By Anne Sack
What was initially a desire to learn about possible options to medical issues has now become a part of my lifestyle and regular regimen. It wasn’t what I expected.
I’m referring to a decision to talk to Sheila Kendro, R.N., L.Ac, who provides acupuncture and craniosacral therapy. Several years back, I had injured the thumb of my right hand. Though not debilitating, the constant pain and some restriction of the thumb brought me to consider an alternative to surgery, an invasive process. I thought, “What if what I had heard from friends and associates might be a possibility for me. They spoke of back pains and other ailments that had been reduced or eliminated by acupuncture treatments. Maybe I should try acupuncture.”
I was pleased to learn that Sheila Kendro, who has an office in Hillcrest, has a strong medical background and has been practicing acupuncture and craniosacral therapy for over 23 years. I liked her demeanor, style of communicating and attention to my physical and personal needs.
During the first session, Kendro asked questions to determine the reason behind my decision or motivation to meet with her and what I hoped to gain from treatments. We discussed my physical goals, the immediate ones, such as eliminating the throbbing thumb pain, and stress and allergy related ailments. My end result, or long term objective, as we discussed, is quality of health and life. So, I asked, “Can I achieve this with acupuncture and craniosacral therapy?”
What Kendro explained to me is that acupuncture is a means to help achieve quality health and life. Acupuncture, which is key component of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) has been in existence for over 23 centuries. She also explained to me that some of her patients prefer acupressure and other forms of treatment. I asked, “Why?”
Acupuncture, as she told me, requires the use of small, hair-thin needles, strategically placed at various points of the body. Some people are uncomfortable with this concept of have a phobia with needles. If that is the case, acupressure, herbology, therapeutic massage and nutrition are also offered.
What I quickly learned is that TOM focuses on getting the body in balance, to make sure there is a healthy flow of energy. I was told there are many factors that may affect the flow of energy in our body, including toxins and blocked passages. Our environment, stress, illness and food are all inhibitors that may affect our state of wellbeing. I was then reminded that exercise, meditation, healthy diets and stress reducers (like reading, gardening, prayer, listening to music, massages and hot bubble baths) are all positive influencers to help create balance in our lives and bodies.
Since that was my first session, I was eager to experience the effects of the acupuncture, especially since I had no aversion to needles. However, before any needles were inserted, Kendro checked my body’s balance through a simple series of tests. At this point, she was able to asses any imbalances of the lungs, kidney and liver.
Upon determining the points of my body that will receive the acupuncture needles, Kendro explained that insertion often goes unnoticed by the patient, or you may feel a mild pinch. For me, the treatment was painless, relaxing, and to some degree, energizing. It’s a very different experience, and, as I’ve learned, each treatment is unique.
I’ve now had four sessions that have required slight alterations in the needles positions and other treatments, including massage therapy, magnets and moxibustion (warming herbs). And though I can’t explain all the benefits of these instruments and treatments, I can say that I have come to appreciate what occurs during and after the sessions with Kendro.
What I’ve come to realize is that you can’t and shouldn’t expect to experience immediate results from the treatments. It’s like exercise and healthy diets, with time, commitment and persistence, the benefits are then realized.
I’ve also learned that TOM is not meant to replace Western medicine. Contrary to some opinion, they can complement each other. As an example, for those of us who have adverse effects to pain medication, acupuncture can be a healthy alternative. TOM has also proven beneficial in speeding up the recovery process from surgery if TOM treatments are introduced prior to, as well as after the fact.
So, how am I feeling?
Well, the pain in my thumb is milder and I’m experiencing some other physical benefits that I hadn’t initially expected.
Is it the acupuncture? It seems possible, especially since it’s given me a new “balanced feeling” about my life and health. And, that’s good.
For more information about acupuncture, acupressure and other Traditional Oriental Medicine options to help treat various illnesses and ailments, including arthritis, anxiety, asthma, back pain, depression, headaches, menopause, PMS, sports injuries, stiff neck and tendonitis, call Sheila Kendro at (619) 948-8590.