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My Career As An Acupuncturist: How It All Began

The number one question I am always asked is about what inspired me to enter the field of acupuncture. Well, here is the answer...

I could be any one of you.  I’m not some sort of witch, or saint, or mystical healer.  I am successful at what I do due to years of schooling and a desire to learn more and constantly improve myself, not because I have some sort of magical powers. I was drawn into the field of acupuncture not by divine intervention, but by getting really, really angry at what happened to my mother. 

My mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer back when I was in high school.  She had her thyroid removed (twice, actually: the first time they went in, they didn’t get the entire thyroid out. They has to recut her freshly cut throat and get out what they had missed the first time.)  The cancer was removed.  However, they wanted to test her every few years for cancer, and these tests could not be done without taking her off her Synthroid.  Let me explain.  Synthroid is the hormone that replaces the hormone when it is removed.  Without this hormone, your body basically grinds to a halt. You have no metabolism, so your heart rate slows, your breathing becomes difficult, and whatever food you eat simply sits there. You become so exhausted that you can barely walk. It’s not pretty. These medications she is on are necessary for her survival, but the cancer tests needed to be done. So, every few years the doctors would force her to go off the pills she could not survive without and she would get deathly ill.

Taking her off the Synthroid enlarged her heart and led to sleep apnea, which led to narcolepsy. For years, my mother would nod off everywhere -- while she was standing up, eating or driving.  Looking back, it was a miracle she never killed anyone. She would fall asleep mid-conversation. She could be standing up and walking around, and suddenly her eyes would close and she would start to slump over.  Her doctors decided that she needed a wider airway, so they cut the entire inside of her throat, nose and palate out.  It didn’t help, but the excruciating pain did help to keep her awake. Finally, the doctors put her on an air machine only after slicing her entire palate open.  Guess what? It worked. 


My mom is still around, and now has an unhealthy phobia about doctors, for which I cannot blame her. What infuriated me the most about the situation was they treated my mother in pieces. Rather than examining the whole, they would treat part by part, never taking a look at what else in her body they were affecting.  They took care of her thyroid, at the expense of her throat. They took care of her throat, at the expense of her heart. They just kept moving from issue to issue, rather than standing back and observing her as an entire person, a human being who was more than the sum of her parts.   

What I do today is the opposite of all this. Everything we do is based on patterns that are echoed throughout the entire body. There is no such thing as just treating a piece of someone, because every single thing is interconnected in some way.  This is why I can treat your shoulder pain and the constipation that you were too embarrassed to tell me about starts to resolve. Or why, after working on your back pain, you suddenly feel better about the breakup you’ve been lamenting over the past six months.  In my medicine, there is no differentiation between the physical, mental, and emotional-they are all linked. Treat the mind, and the body will follow … and vice versa.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Andrew Greene March 10, 2012 at 05:48 AM
I do not understand why Patch continues to allow these endless pieces about acupuncture to be published. It is of very limited interest to Patch readers, and is basically just advertising content for the services of the author. It should be treated as advertising copy. Enough.
x March 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Think of what we can look forward to... "My Career as a Toll Taker on the Mass Pike". It can only get better. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Ryan Grannan-Doll March 11, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Hi Andrew, The blog posts on this subject are not meant as free advertising. Waltham Patch blogging is meant to give voice to Waltham residents and business owners who have various perspectives on life to share with the community. Marisa Fanelli's posts are not just about acupuncture, but also about healthy living, a topic I'm sure we can all agree is worthy of discussion.
Kristine Munroe March 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I concur. These posts feel like a series of advertisements and I don't think they have a place on the homepage of a legitimate news website.

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