From all reports I have seen, I have come to understand that there is a crisis in the medical abuse of pain relievers. I think Florida is one of the states where people come to get their drugs on the street. People get their pain medication, stay on for a while, and then are taken off them, with no alternative. I can't believe it. Not that I don't believe this is happening, but that people can think of no alternative.
I lived in Japan and was introduced to Shiatsu by my supervisor. She was one of the rare foreigners, and a women no less, who was accepted and trained by practitioners of acupuncture and Shiatsu. She needed to practice and chose me as her subject. I was so intrigued, that when I went to live in Israel, I studied there and received a certificate.
It was in the 1980s when I returned to the US. Massage was still illegal in most places and the only Shiatsu school I could find was in NYC. So acupuncture was not widely available. I had broken my arm and was lucky to be taken to a well-known and respected acupuncturist in Chinatown. She worked out of her home, with all the family there. Her bedroom was her treatment room. She spoke no English and I spoke no Chinese. To this day I have no trouble with my arm. And, it only cost $10.
I became a licensed massage therapist in Florida in the 1990s. I occasionally used my Shiatsu in addition to regular western massage techniques. I helped relieve headaches, toothaches and other kinds of pain.
Fast forward to 2019. Both massage and acupuncture are now legal in Florida and have been for many years. While I was a massage therapist, one of my co-workers had sprained her hand. Not a good thing if you are a massage therapist. She went to a regular physician and was off work for over two weeks. And in a brace! Had she gone to an acupuncturist, she would have been back to work the next day.
It's heartening that insurance now covers acupuncture and massage. I go to a practitioner locally. She is not only an acupuncturist, but a regular MD as well as a nutritionist. I love her. When I see my regular physician, who is a very nice man, I feel I am going to a mechanic. He relies on his machines to give me my reports. Although I am grateful to be able to go to the doctor, I feel somehow I am going to a body mechanic.
I recently had a slip and fall and really hurt my foot. It was Saturday and neither of my acupuncturists were available. I had to do something or I would not be able to go to work on Monday on a job I just started. So I went to a new therapist in the next town over. OMG! What a wonderful as well as helpful experience. What a beautiful office. The front room was spacious and well appointed. The treatment room was filled with ergonomically designed chairs, calming big screens with relaxing scenes and music. The therapist was competent enough, and I am better enough to go to work. The pain is gone and my foot, though tender, is not swollen.
In contrast to this magnificent office, I remember another Chinese acupuncturist in NYC Chinatown. The front room was where all the wonderful smelling herbs were, and the treatment room was in the back. There were quite a few beds there, all separated by only curtains. Of course, you could hear everything. One women vocalized so much I wasn't sure if she was having sex or a treatment.
How far we have come! I really wish all those who are suffering in pain would open their minds to the alternative of acupuncture and replace their dependence on chemicals.