Life is Messy

Acupuncture treatment refocuses energy on positivity and love

Recently, I married and began the transition process from being one to being a couple trying to operate as one unit. As my new husband and I navigated the holidays, where to go, when, do we travel and all that entails, I found myself in a place that became slightly challenging, maybe even uncomfortable. I slipped out of the sweetness that was ever-so-present during our wedding period into confusion, uncertainty, and hurt.

I’ve been ardently working these past few years to be present, loving, and at peace. I’ve tasted the presence of calm, peace, and love and, even in its smallest dose, I know it’s attainable, possible, and driven solely by my volition, desire, and energy. So when the hurt and confusion settled in, I knew it was a strong signal to seek simplicity, to unwind and rebuild again.

When I visited Amber Collins, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the timing was a perfect collision in my world.  “Life is messy,” she said. “I say that a lot. When you think you have any firm grasp, you don’t. Practicing acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has been a deeply humbling experience, to sit across from people who open to you, sharing their greatest sorrows and joys.”

Her mission? “I want everyone to experience acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine if they want to,” she said. “I want everyone to see its beauty and the depth to which it can help each person. I want everyone to feel balanced and well; not only survive but thrive.”

Amber received a master’s and doctorate degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. Her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin was in psychology and sociology. She is a certified yoga instructor and is licensed by the State of Tennessee Health Department and board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

As we talked, the relationship of complexity and simplicity continued to be at play.  When we stop to think about acupuncture, it makes perfect sense. Amber’s definition of the practice: “It is very complex, nuanced, dynamic, ever-changing, always evolving, very specific and unique to the person, the season, the time, the day, even to the practitioner. It is a system that supports energy, the body, and mind.”

It felt good to hear about this medicine system that seems to ebb and flow with life.  As I learned more about Oriental Medicine (historically known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM), the fundamental pillar of yin and yang became apparent. The opposable forces really piqued my interest, that we have two opposing sides contained within one unit and existing together. Each of these parts is needed as we continually live life, which is indeed a moving and volatile force.

I asked Amber how she found acupuncture. “I started getting repeating migraines that continued to get worse each time they came around,” she said. “I was working as a trainer for a large corporation in my home state of Texas, highly stressed, not eating well, with bad habits outside of work. When the migraines kept getting worse, I started seeing a chiropractor, massage therapist, and rolfer in addition to my family doctor. One day, my chiropractor suggested acupuncture as a way to reduce the frequency and intensity of my migraines.” After about five visits, she began to see results. She said now she only experiences headaches sporadically, mainly when she is overstressed, dehydrated, or not addressing an emotion.  “Honestly, though, I am really grateful to those migraines, because during one of my treatments, I realized ‘this is it. This is what I am meant to do.’ ”

During my visit with Amber for acupuncture, she asked me a thousand questions, checked my pulse, looked at my tongue and paid attention to my words, body language, and emotions that cropped up as I was speaking. She wanted to know about any pain, symptoms, recurrences, when and what I eat, how much I drink, how much I move, sleep, and even when I have bowel movements. She wanted to know what and how my body is doing so she can be aware of how the energy of the body is functioning.  Where are the blocks? Where may disharmony be showing up?  “Most people have heard of chi, our vital life force,” she said. “It runs the course of your body on meridians, which can be thought of as highways throughout your body.  Any blockages, excesses, deficiencies or combination of these in one of your meridians will result in disease or disharmony.”

“Acupuncture is going to help you with whatever it is you are ready to heal, address, or change,” she said. “It will support digestion, metabolism, sleep, stress, any addictive eating behaviors … the list really goes on and on!  When you are ready to make a change and implement new and different actions and thoughts to support that change, a new space is created by you for you.”

By me, for me … in this moment I knew I desired change! I was very interested to see what acupuncture could do for my body. Amber had informed me that since acupuncture impacts a person on many and subtle levels, it can bring things up and out for people that have been packed away, ignored, or pushed down. This didn’t scare me since I’m always wanting to improve, and so Amber inserted about 3 or 4 needles along my spine, which assists with relaxation and stress release.  Aside from a quick prick, I felt no pain.  After a bit of time, it felt like relief and peace were oozing down my back and through my body.  Given the contortions my brain had just put me through navigating the holidays, my body was happy to be able to release the tension. I also got to experience fire cupping, which unwinds and releases the connective tissues and assists with blood flow and circulation to the area. It’s good for tension also. The most painful part of fire cupping, truly, was hearing the metal forceps bang against the glass cup.  (In fire cupping, a cotton ball is soaked in alcohol, held by forceps, lit on fire and then swirled around a glass cup that is then placed onto the skin.)   I could feel my skin being sucked into the glass a bit, and yet this new sensation was intriguing to me; not painful. After lying there for many minutes, Amber softly checked in.  It was time for the needles and cups to be removed. I felt some slight sadness because I was relaxed and completely lulled into the relief of the treatment. And yet, the next moment called!

Supporting my body in this way contributed to the overall clarity I was seeking. It calmed my nerves and eased my tension so I was able to process what was happening instead of staying in the confused state I had worked myself into. When my body released the stress, it created the space for me to return to that sweetness of newly married life, addressing our decisions with kindness and love, which is so much a part of why I chose to marry this wonderful man. It returned me to a state of presence in which I can be a true observer of all that is happening in and around me. I am able to see the various forces at play, able to learn, grow, and continue living as fully as I can.  Even with my dedication to presence, life does happen, and as Amber wisely and kindly said, “The beauty of life is just that … messy. When you come in, we’ll figure it out together.”  And in this one example I’ve shared, she did, with her insights, wisdom, and practice of Oriental Medicine.   

For information on Amber, go to www.Wildelementsacu.com, email wildelementsacu@gmail.com, or call 865-934-9394.

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