This week, I went to my first acupuncture appointment. It was fabulous. Actually, I was so surprised by the experience that I came home and did some extensive googling on both acupuncture and my specific acupuncturist. I was very satisfied by both results.
I have had asthma since I was young. As I grew older, the number of things I am allergic to seem to increase every year. Dogs, cats, dust mites, some types of trees, cockroaches, shellfish, alcohol... The list goes on and on, and those are only the things that I've tested positive to, officially. I haven't had an updated allergy test now for a while. My asthma got really bad when I was living in New York (with all the cockroaches, I guess); once, I landed in the ER after being sick with a bad cough for a month, when my asthma simply stopped me in my tracks and I lost the ability to breathe in any air. At some point, my skin started to itch really bad all the time, in some variation of eczema (skin allergy). Recently, a whole area of my face swelled up and just cracked open, which is another form of eczema allergies. It's mostly healed now (with very diligent care on my part), but I told myself after this embarrassing ordeal that I'm tired of living like this, and that I would try and fix my allergies at the root.
That's where my opinions differ from that of most Westerners. I believe that allergies can be fixed. You don't have to live with allergies, if you find the right traditional doctor who can suppress your body's unnatural reactions to environmental stimuli. Steroids and antihistamine are just there to cover up the symptoms of your poor health.
I find that Western medicine can be very limiting in issues that deal with internal, non-surgical medicine. In the past, when I had recurrent infections, I went to Western docs and they just kept feeding me antibiotics. I would go on an antibiotic regimen for 2 weeks, feel better, and then my meds would run out and that infection would come back. I'd go back, and this time they'd give me a stronger antibiotic, which would drive the infection away for maybe an additional week before it comes back. The cycle kept repeating itself, which was driving me mad. It was out of sheer desperation that I turned to traditional medicine. The only thing that eventually cured me was when I went to a doctor in China (during a well-timed visit to my parents), and the doc decided to feed me herbs that would make my body an unwelcoming environment for bacteria. After I started taking those herbs, which was about 3 years ago, I've never had any problems since. (I had to take them for about 2 months, let's say. But, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.)
So, this time, I did some research and I found out that there was a great acupuncturist in Berlin, who came highly recommended by everyone for treating a variety of illnesses, from sports pains to allergies to digestion problems to menstruation issues. I went to her today, and it was a great experience. She was super professional and attentive, and asked me many questions -- unlike the recent dermatologist I went to who had only wanted to hand out some steroid cream and push me out the door. We did the needle thing, which was actually totally weird, cool, and relaxing. She also gave me some herbs, that I'll have to pick up from a traditional pharmacy soon. (I am quite amazed that I could even do that here! I cannot be happier!!!) I know it'll take several months for me to see whether this thing really works, but for curing what has been more or less a lifelong allergy/asthma ailment, I am very willing to be patient and experimental.
It probably sounds a bit funny to you, but I hope that you are reading this and finding that there is hope to cure whatever ailment you are having. Don't let the limitations of Western medicine stop you from exploring other possibilities. Very rational, scientifically-minded people that I know are big fans of traditional treatment. The difference is in how open you are to unfamiliar experiences, that's all.
I cannot wait for my next acupuncture appointment. :)