Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cups and Needles
Yesterday we got the opportunity to learn about and experience some traditional Chinese medicine. This included acupuncture and cupping. I LOVED IT! I was pretty nervous for it all, but none of it hurt so I had a good experience.
When you first enter the Chinese Medicine floor, this young man is here to greet you. If you look closely you can see a bunch of lines on him, representing the meridians of the body. The Chinese believe that if you follow these lines it will explain why a person may be having certain symptoms. For example, a person with liver failure will also begin to show signs of jaundice, including yellowing of the eyes. According to the meridians, the eyes are on the same line, or pathway, as the liver, therefore it makes complete sense that the eyes are affected as well. It is interesting to me that the Chinese have had these philosophies for so many years and how it fits into certain parts of our Western medicine.

*You will have to look closely on the following pictures in order to see the acupuncture needles.

I am totally okay with all things needles... that is until they are pointing at me. Hence the fake smile below.
This was one of the main doctors and I was SO glad (and relieved) I had him doing my acupuncture. He was so nice and could tell I was nervous.
Yes, he is putting it in my head and no, it did not hurt. To be honest, I didn't feel it when he put it in or took it out.
Next was the neck:
Look closely at my left shoulder and you will see them

You can see red circles forming around the needles. This indicates tension and means its working (at least that's what I was able to understand from the doctor. The language barrier makes things difficult).

Our time here ended with cupping. Cupping is an ancient Chinese technique where an ointment is placed on the skin, typically in areas of tension, then a suction cup is placed on top. In simple terms, the cup is then suctioned onto the skin via a gun. My goal is to create a hyperemic area (increased blood flow to the area in need), helping to improve symptoms.

This is what it looks like when you take off the cup. Some peoples circles were darker and looked more painful, but this was a completely painless experience for me.
I got it on my lower back. That was my favorite part. It made my back feel SO much better.
Kinda gross I know, but the Chinese are on to something. It has amazing results!
When the cups are fully suctioned, it just feels like your skin is tight but you have no pain. Trust me guys, this is totally worth it! The Chinese have been doing cupping for over 3000 years, and now I understand why. Some people do not find cupping effective, but I was one that did. The end result: 
And this is what my roommate decided to make this out of it. NICK: in case you are reading this... one word: Stegosaurus :)

As I am sure all of you know, I absolutely love Critical Care and working in the Emergency Department. Since this is as close as I can get to it, I figured I should probably take a picture of it. If only I could go learn behind those doors...
 These are what the nursing students wear around here! They were too good of outfits to pass up.

Apparently I have now entered random picture mode, But I just had to include this! Check it out- real Chinese checkers!
And look at this gem that I found. This my friends, would be an old-school ventilator. I could not believe it!
Switching gears again, today was my last day working out in the community. I have become really close to my nurse and am really going to miss her. Her name, "Show-way" (spelled phonetically), has been so kind, sincere, and has taught me so much about Eastern medicine. 

Here we are eating pork liver. It wasn't bad, but I don't think my stomach appreciated it.
This weekend we will be traveling to Taipei and Hualien, so I wont be able to blog for a few days. We will be staying in hostels, which is an experience I am looking forward too!

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