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Day of the Dead - How acupuncture for grief changed my life.

By the time my father passed away I had been through 4 car accidents, fallen down many flights of stairs and had spent the last 5 years of my dad's life being his caretaker. My body, mind and spirit were beyond wrecked. I felt like every fiber of my being had been shorn apart and it manifested in such "odd" symptoms that my doctor, chiropractor and physical therapist didn't know what to do with me. "Go see an acupuncturist", they said... No, I didn't want to. I had done it before, twice, with no results. It felt like a waste of time and I simply didn't have the energy for anything anymore. But the universe wouldn't let me ignore this message and sent my friend to gift me a session with her acupuncturist who she confidently believed would offer me something no one else had so far.

This acupuncturist, Elaine Vozar, shuffled me into her room for intake and all I did was cry. I don't think my eyes came up from my hands the entire time. My heart was broken and it felt like my body had been run over by a truck. Everything hurt, I couldn't sit, stand or walk normally anymore and some days I couldn't move from the pain. My breath was shallow and fatigue draped over me like a cloak. Elaine, having lost her mom, understood my sorrow and assured me that my symptoms weren't as odd as they seemed. Regardless, I laid on the table while Elaine placed needles in my legs, arms and abdomen. She connected them with cables, covered me with a blanket and left me to bake. I felt a bit angry, annoyed, I wanted to leave. Why was a there? How will I tell my friend that it didn't work? I don't have the energy to pretend... but I didn't have to.

Rising from the table, then carefully lowering myself down to stand I realized the severity of my pain was much reduced. The heaviness in my limbs lessened, my mind felt clearer and I could take a breath without feeling stiffled. What just happened? How did it happen? I couldn't comprehend the physical and emotional relief I was feeling and it was in that moment that my life completely changed. My mission was to understand how this magic works and how to get more people to experience this for themselves. Two years later I enrolled for Chinese medicine school at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and now I have the honor of owning my own acupuncture practice.

I was lucky to grow up in a Mexican/Polish household where both cultures had a day of remembrance for our dearly departed - Day of the Dead and All Souls Day. I watched the adults around me process their losses in different ways and saw how important it was for us to have space together for this type of processing. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief acupuncture might be the holistic modality that helps integrate grief without reliving the trauma by speaking or thinking about it. It's a way to receive care and allow the body's wisdom to carry on the healing. If you ever have questions about how acupuncture can benefit your mental emotional health or pain, contact me and we can discuss what this route might look like for you. In good health, Denise Adán LAc

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