By Deborah Rothman
Whether by lecturing or by writing articles, I enjoy educating people on the amazing benefits of acupuncture. I occasionally write from interesting locations while on vacation or traveling for medical conferences. The logistics this time were a little more complicated.
I am drafting this article aboard a cruise ship currently floating in the middle of the ocean. I am in my room using a wireless keyboard attached to my iPhone. This is a step up from the last time I typed an article on my phone–without a keyboard–and I was looking forward to the added convenience. However, the idea that I am connected via Bluetooth to my phone, with a Wi-Fi Internet connection in the middle of the ocean, makes me pause and reflect.
Looking out over the balcony at the beauty and vastness of the ocean makes me feel powerless. The waters seem to go on forever, as far as the eye can see. Yet here I am in today’s modern world, connected via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and able to draft a message that will hopefully reach many people. It is a great representation of yin and yang within our world and how they coexist and work together in all areas. One can feel small and inward in some respects, and endless and outward in others. They are codependent on each other, and exist because of each other. Comparatively, we would not have darkness without light, or know good if not for evil.
When I woke up this morning, I was surprised by the unsteadiness of the ship. It is only my first full day aboard my first cruise. Many patients were excited for me that this is what I had planned my winter break. They love cruises, have gone on numerous passages, and told me amazing things to look forward to. They did not predict the Nor’easter and how that would create such a degree of turbulence aboard the ship. Let’s just say that on my first day, I was quite eager to get off the ship! Many people looked green in the face and were walking around wobbling and veering side to side. Some of them may have taken too much advantage of the unlimited-drinking package, but most are simply trying to adjust to the rockiness of the ship.
I always travel with needles; an acupuncturist never leaves home without being prepared. Early this morning, I used a press-on needle that many of my patients are familiar with. It is a great way to continue coverage for patients between treatments. It can best be described as a little round bandage with a minuscule needle on the underside. I inserted the stay-in needles into Pericardium 6, otherwise known as Pc6. It is a point located approximately three finger-breadths above the medial aspect of the inner wrist.
This point is widely known for its incredible effect on motion sickness and nausea. It is the same point many people use with sea bands, a band that has a pressure ball meant to rest on and apply pressure to that same point. People often wonder why those bands work for some and not others; I am pretty sure it’s because of inaccurate placement. It must be placed directly on the acupuncture point in order for the anti-nausea benefits to kick in. Luckily for me, the press-on needles did the trick, and here I am able to formulate an article while looking out at the turbulent waters.
I enjoy expanding my knowledge of acupuncture, including learning and observing how other colleagues practice, even while aboard a cruise ship. I believe it is important for one to never stop learning and to keep an open mind, including observation as well as new research and clinical trials. The evolution and acceptance of acupuncture in the U.S. has been incredible over the last decade. The randomized clinical trials that prove the science behind acupuncture and its reach are inspiring.
I was happy to see that acupuncture was included in the services offered in the spa aboard the ship. I set up a consultation and treatment with the acupuncturist immediately after embarking. She is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in India. She is spending a few months on the cruise ship to enhance her practice in the types of patients and treatments she gives. My session was a working treatment–relaxing, as well–as we talked shop the whole time.
I was eager to learn about her practice and what she mostly treats in India. Her husband is a practitioner as well. They schedule time between patients to include treatments for each other every other day. I wish I had such an incredible setup, although I am not sure I trust my husband to stick me with needles! Instead, I often treat myself, and at times have a colleague come to my office and we swap treatments. It is much more relaxing to be the patient on the table as opposed to needling myself while behind my computer and catching up on paperwork!
As far as the stay-in needles I described earlier, the incredible acupuncture Pc6 point has many benefits for seasickness and nausea during pregnancy or chemotherapy, as well as being beneficial for carpal-tunnel syndrome. It has been cited in many medical journals, including the Journal of Autonomic Neuroscience, for its far-reaching merits. It is a point I use often in my practice, and one I am most grateful for today.
I am looking forward to a relaxing vacation, and hopefully calmer seas. However, I am prepared for whatever lies ahead. Acupuncture to the rescue!
Deborah Rothman is a licensed acupuncturist and a Diplomate of Acupuncture with a private practice in Woodmere. Comments and questions are welcome. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit www.AcuZen.com and follow Acuâ€‘Zen on Facebook.