Acupuncture chart from Hua Shou (fl. 1340s, Ming Dynasty). This image from Shi si jing fa hui (Expression of the Fourteen Meridians). (Tokyo : Suharaya Heisuke kanko, Kyoho gan 1716). Courtesy of Wikipedia.
My knee bothered me more each day as the week went on. Ibuprofen has become an essential intake several times a day. Last week, I could still feel capable of taking a yoga class. This week, it’s out of the question because of the increased pain and the sensation of instability. I was lucky to already have a Friday appointment with my acupuncturist, Kelly Welch, only three blocks from my office. Kelly also practices Ashtanga yoga and had two bad knees so he has first-hand experience about dealing with the problem.
I gave him the background on the injury, which I have already laid out here in excruciating detail. He asked about where the pain was felt, zeroing in on medial side of the knee. He really did not give me a “diagnosis” in a medical sense, leaving that for a Western physician who could use MRIs and other tools to rule out things like arthritis, torn ligaments and other nasties. He gave me some pointers about how to keep up with my yoga while not injuring it further by using a rolled-up towel or blanket between my thigh and calve behind my knee whenever I have to go into hero’s pose or similar poses that put pressure on the joint. He gave me the name and phone number of his orthopedist, who handles a lot of sports related cases. He also gave me the name of his massage therapist who has worked with people with knee issues, too.
Kelly did acupuncture on my right knee and left elbow (China medicine is into the yin-yang thing so a Chinese doctor would always treat the opposites to restore balance). He also applied some electrical stimulus, a slight sensation of being shocked. He adjusted it so that it did not reach discomfort or pain. And then he left me to simmer for 20 minutes. The treatment seemed to release a lot of muscular tension that had built up by the pain — and the anticipation of pain. As always with acupuncture, the treatment seems to wash me clean of tension and compressed energy. I feel lighter, more clearheaded.
Finally, Kelly set me up for three more weekly appointments for follow-ups on the initial treatment.
As soon as I made it back to the office, I shot off an e-mail to the optometrist’s office assistant and set up an appointment for next Wednesday afternoon, the soonest that he could see me.