As I mentioned on May 2nd, I have this niggling problem of over-producing catarrh, particularly annoying when I have to keep clearing my throat. My doctor felt there was nothing that he could advise about getting rid of it, so I thought alternative medicine was perhaps worth a try. I am sceptical about that whole area because it is so open to charlatans, but then I am also critical of the medical profession’s reliance on drugs for every ailment. The idea of holistic medicine as an alternative to a departmental view of the body – each hospital specialist dealing with one bit of the body instead of all of it, is an interesting proposition which I take seriously. So today I have been to the local Chinese Medical Centre.
The first thing I noticed in the consultation was that I was asked many questions that were not – it seemed to me – related to the problem that had brought me there. ‘Holistic’ in practice, it seemed, which was encouraging. The blank piece of A4 the doctor was writing on – in Chinese- was soon full of information and analysis.
I was then advised that a four week course of acupuncture and herbal capsules might do the trick. It might not, and perhaps a further course would be helpful. Treatment could be started now if I wished. That was unexpected – I had thought I would leave with some herbs and that would be that. But now here I was, lying on a bed with various bits of me exposed, about to be punctured.
It wouldn’t hurt, I was told, but if it did I should say so and he would stop. He was using smaller needles than the ones in China, he told me, which I suppose was a sort of comfort – things could be worse. Thereupon he began to swab various bits of me with an antiseptic. Feet, lower legs, arms, even stomach I could cope with but then became a little anxious when he began to do the same on my head, face and neck.
It wasn’t too bad, and I remembered that many people who have had this treatment say that the needles are more prick than stab. The twenty minutes ‘relaxation’ that followed was not very pleasant however, though the face massage that followed was.
I am back in a week’s time. Meanwhile I am told to watch my diet. One glass of wine only each day and no garlic or ginger and plenty of oranges and pears, turnips and radishes. Apparently I am over-heated and all of this is hopefully going to cool me down. I shall wait and see, and for this month suspend my natural scepticism.