Dana is 32 years old and describes herself as a “nervous wreck’ and “basket case”. She's a mother of an energetic 2 year old, married to a man she loves who is a good husband and father and has a substance abuse problem. She shared her history with me at our initial evaluation and it was clear that she had been brought up in a high anxiety home with a lot of family dysfunction. Throughout her life, Dana had suffered from anxiety, headaches, severe menstrual cramps and indigestion. With the added pressures of motherhood and marriage and substance abuse, she worried that she was near the snapping point. Like many patients with these patterns, Dana had chosen acupuncture because she didn’t want to go on medication again. She had tried anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications and hated the way she felt and the weight she gained. Her MDs could offer only pain and anti-acid medications for her physical symptoms and she wanted a new approach.
My acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine intake of Dana showed a diagnosis of Liver Qi stagnation and Kidney and Hear Qi deficiency. These weaknesses in her vital energy flow caused anxiety, depression, and anger; indigestion bloating and weight gain; menstrual cramps and low libido; neck pain and headaches. These chronic conditions had severely impacted many of her activities. Dana was caught in an unhappy and unhealthy cycle. She needed an alternative to conventional medical treatment. With the encouragement of a friend and a referral from her doctor who is one of my patients, she came for acupuncture treatment at the Acupuncture Center of new Jersey in Morristown.
Dana enjoyed the acupuncture experience from the beginning. She felt a sense of calm and security when she entered our friendly, welcoming office. After a ½ hour discussion and history, I felt Anna’s pulses and quickly determined that her acupuncture and TCM diagnosis was Deficient Qi of the Heart, Spleen and Kidney with stagnation and heat in the Liver. This led to most of her physical complaints: anxiety, depression, fatigue, menstrual irregularity, indigestion, etc. I carefully explained how acupuncture would help her, reassuring her that the needles were very fine and wouldn’t hurt and that she would feel calm and better after treatment.
There are times when I can predict that my patient will respond to acupuncture after the insertion of just a few needles. Dana’s face relaxed and she became very peaceful. The needles found her qi quickly and she felt the movement in a smooth yet profound way. After the acupuncture treatment Dana felt much better, her anxiety had transformed into a calm feeling of vitality. Subsequent treatments proved equally effective and had the cumulative effect of improving Dana’s menstrual cycle, moods, digestion and relieving much of her pain and stiffness. Anna has been receiving acupuncture at the rate of twice weekly for several weeks and soon it will be time to reduce her to one treatment weekly. I also helped her with dietary changes, put her on the Chinese herbal formula Xiao Yao San that has had a powerful regulatory effect on her digestive and hormonal system and encouraged her to renew her passion for art and design.
We believe that Dana will use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as her primary wellness and health care therapy going forward. She has truly transformed herself and we are all very grateful to be part of her evolution from illness to wellness.