Acupuncture works. I’ve had only good results with it, and today I’m introducing you to a very good acupuncturist — one who has faced her own  challenges with chronic illness. Angie Love, LAc brings first-hand experience to her patient care and understands the priceless value of reclaiming both physiological and emotional health and well-being. She sees the two as linked, and today she shares her unique view of finding meaning in chronic illness and pain. 

Finding meaning in chronic illness & pain

by Angie K. Love, LAc

Many of the patients who come to our practice are dealing with complex health issues. Often, they have seen all kinds of doctors and specialists with little to no relief from their symptoms. It’s not uncommon for all their test results to come back “normal,” and for the doctors to tell them there is nothing wrong with them and possibly suggest they seek out a therapist.

While I am a big proponent of therapy and believe strongly in the inherent connection of mind and body, this kind of suggestion can feel like a blow to patients who know their issues are not “just in their heads.” Their symptoms are real. They feel poorly, day after day. And they are frustrated that their doctors aren’t offering them anything helpful.

The doctors are not to blame. They simply do not have the tools in their repertoire to help these patients.

Many of the people who come to me yearn for an explanation of why they are feeling as they are. They want concrete answers, so they can come up with a concrete plan of action.

I understand them. I, too, have been “battling” chronic health issues for years, searching for answers, hoping to understand what exactly is going on inside my body that is causing me to feel so often unwell. It’s a “functional un-wellness.” For the most part, I am able to show up to my life, do what needs to be done, and contribute to the world around me, just as do my patients. But there are many days when that requires a tremendous amount of effort, and it can be tiring and take a toll on one’s spirit.

I deeply believe that a major reason for my own health challenges in this lifetime has been to learn things on my own journey that I can then share with my patients to help them in their healing. More than anything, my personal challenges have taught me empathy for others. When patients tell me about their frustrations of feeling poorly day after day and the defeat that comes from that, I understand, because I, too, have been there. Many have told me how much it means just to be heard and seen for what they are going through. To be understood and not dismissed.

More than anything, I wish I could give my patients concrete answers to all of their questions and offer them the tools to make all their woes go away. Wave a magic wand that will ensure they will feel great for all the days of their lives. But that is not how it works. (Trust me, I wish it did, for my own sake as much as my patients’.)

I may not be able to provide all the answers, but I do have some answers. And I am able to frame my patients’ issues in a different context and shed a light on them that can many times help to make more sense of the situation. Very often, patients do feel significantly better with regular acupuncture treatments and sometimes various herbs or supplements. What I wish to offer my patients, which may be ultimately more valuable than any physical relief they gain from their treatments, is a shift in perspective.

We spend so much time in battle, with our bodies, with our circumstances, with what is. While I never would encourage resignation and defeat, there is another approach that can work hand in hand with a continuous exploration of what will help us to achieve greater wellbeing, and that is acceptance of what is. Healing happens when we stop fighting. The healing may not always come in the form of completely restored physical health. But the healing comes in the form of being at peace with what is. With wherever we are on our journey.

I encourage my patients to ask themselves the following question:

“Why is this happening FOR me?”

This question instantly takes us out of victim mode (“Why is this happening TO me?”) and empowers us to see a different perspective. To create an opening for what might be possible as a result of our experiencing exactly what we are going through at this very moment.

I leave you with the following thought to ponder (a quote I have posted in my home as a daily reminder):

“Your greatest healing remains your deepest surrender.”

Wishing you peace on your healing journey.

Learn more about Angie or book an appointment with her in San Jose, Calif. here:

Hypnotherapy is yet another alternative avenue of treatment. If you’d like to explore if hypnotherapy might be helpful to your chronic pain, yes, even by Skype, contact me at Carol (at) ahealingspirit (dot) org

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