See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me

Nisi Shawl here to say why I’m saying things.  And who I am.  And why acupuncture matters.

First point:  Why am I saying things?  Because I want to, and also because I can.  Because Monica Legatt, this blog’s owner, is letting me

Third point:  Why does acupuncture matter?  Because it will probably change your life.  For the better.

Second point: Who am I?  That’s complicated.  To start, let’s summarize: I’m an award-winning author who makes most of my living writing science fiction, fantasy, essays, and book reviews (Google me, or visit my website  for details on that stuff.)  I’m an African American woman, 57 years old.  I’m 5’ 8”, 280 pounds, and a deep-down acupuncture enthusiast.

For most of my life I’ve been a proponent of natural foods and holistic medicine.  As a right and proper hippy in the 70s I worked at a food co-op, then at a natural foods warehouse.  That’s where I got interested in acupressure and shiatsu, the East Asian systems using pressure points along energy meridians to treat medical conditions, which is much like acupuncture’s use of extremely fine needles to stimulate these same points.  I also began consulting the I Ching via the yarrow stalk oracle.   These sorts of interests harmonized well with my growing exploration of the roots of West African spirituality (more about that another time).  Also with my homeopathic doctor’s practice–homeopathy is all about balance and energy, too (more about that, as well, another time).

 But my adventures in acupuncture were bootless till I moved to Seattle and met Monica Legatt.

Twelve years ago I added acupuncture to my health regimen, which included exercise, diet, massage, supplements, and meditation.  Monica seems young to me for a medical practitioner, and of course she was even younger then than now.  But her methods got immediate results.  She did something no one else working on me had done before: she confirmed correct placement of the stimulating needles.  I could feel the unmistakable difference.

She asked for my feedback, and she got it.  The high quality of the treatment she has been giving me in response to that feedback is testament to her expertise.  She sees me–she doesn’t just look, she _sees_.  She makes sure she feels what I’m feeling, touches the points that need touching, heals what must be healed: my migraines, exhaustion, weight issues, and chronic pain.

In part it’s because of her that I am who I am.  Complicated.  Creative.  And enthusiastic when it comes to acupuncture.

I have a bunch more I want to say.  In future posts I plan to write about how an acupuncture session feels to me, and about the correlation between invisible disabilities and non-pharmaceutical modes of treatment, and about balance as a concept in East Asian medicine and West African spirituality.  I have questions to explore: What drew Monica to this particular discipline?  What sort of research validates its usefulness?  Are we truly made of light?

Come back and there’ll be more.  Another time.

Nisi Shawl


 Nisi with her neighbor cat Olive, photo courtesy of Caren Corley, 2010


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