Knee Treatment


A friend introduced me to Dan, a practioner of traditional chinese medicine, and he suggested acupunture for my knee. I decided to go with it.

He shows me to a small guesthouse behind his house. Harris hawks are screeching in a nearby eucalyptus, and the sun is pouring through a window, warming the tiny space. Books line the shelves along the top of the wall, and soft music plays in the background. We discuss my knee, and after I lay down on the table, he moves my legs around while doing "tuina" - chinese physical therapy. He works on my legs for awhile, then he starts the actual needle part. He explains what he's doing in a soothing voice, and I quickly relax.

If I understand this correctly, my pain is located along the gallbladder meridian. Apparently, by taking out my gallbladder, a vacuity formed, which is causing the pain along my leg and in my knee.

He begins with a large needle in my hip/glute area, then moves down to my knee. After two needles are placed there, he moves to my foot. The first three needles felt more like a quick electric shock, followed by warmness. The one in my foot hurts at first, then that fades away to warmth as well.

He leaves the room, and I am left laying on my side in comfort. I am wrapped in peace and warmth and a sense that eveything's okay. My leg is aching, a deep, pleasant ache reminiscent of a massage. I am yielding into the moment, allowing myself the luxury of complete and total relaxation.

After awhile (10 minutes? 30 minutes? I have lost track of time. Time is irrelevant.), Dan comes back and gently removes the needles. After a few more adjustments, he is done. I feel amazing. Calm. Peaceful. Right. We discuss the possibility of one more treatment, and the idea of life-long maintenance, using my foam roller or a tennis ball to place pressure on the area in my hip/glute.

I drive back to work, and as I walk back into the office, I notice it. The mis-alignment, the off-ness, the wrong-ness, of the knee and leg that I've been feeling for months - is gone. The pain comes and goes over the next 24 hours, but that feeling of things being back in place stays.

I haven't run on it yet - my schedule hasn't allowed for it - so we'll see how that goes. I'll report back when I do.

On another note, I have decided that I am no longer pursuing ultrarunning. I am seeking balance and moderation in my life right now, and there is nothing moderate about running 50 miles. I love ultra races and the ultra community, and will still participate as crew or as a volunteer (Jess, I'm still hoping to come out in February! Olga, I still want to crew you for ZG!). And I will DEFINITELY still be running. Just not wicked long distances. That being said, now I need to focus on my nutrition and health regarding food intake (uh, can we say junk food???), and also see what other forms of movement I can bring into my life to keep my mind and soul and body happy.


that's awesome about your knee feeling better after the treatment!
As far as UR goes, I'm in the same boat as you...I've been cleared to run again but have decided to focus on family and health right now...Good luck with everything!

Thats very exciting that it appears to have worked so well for you!!

Angie - so that means you are hoping to volunteer for Twin Peaks? Maybe you can help mark the course the day before to get a taste of it :)

Yeah for knee better!!! Non-traditional medicine is often the way to go.

Please, please come to ZG, because I am registering this weekend! I will die in the mountains without you:)

Great to hear that you are making progress with your knee. Knees are sure funny little things that come and go with no rhyme or reason. I hope your treatment is successful.

As for ultras, don't worry yourself about it one way or the other. Do what you need to do and keep running at some level. The ultras will always be there and you can pick them up again when you are ready. From your posts the last few months you are probably right to take the pressure of training for a specific race off and just run for all of the other reasons we all run. Good luck!

Great report on your therapy Angie. Very happy that your knee is feeling better. I'm also impressed that you are actively working to get your life centered. Going through a divorce and gallbadder surgery in one year was certainly a kick in the head. Most of us (myself included) just sit around and whine, you get up and take action. You are inspirational.

Glad you've found a treatment that works! I've never had a need to try acupuncture, but I have friends who swear by it.

Going after balance is a very good thing Angie. I too have decided to forgo the ultras, for a while at least. It's just too much with two toddlers and fulltime work.

You've got lots on your plate and the goal of seeking balance is perfect. As for other ways to keep your knee healthy and to enhance your running - try yoga. It really helps get the kinks out, at least for me.

Accupuncture is AWESOME! I love it especially when I was rehabing the ankle. The race is getting closer. :D

The best treatment is the one that works for you! Sounds like you've found it so... yaaayyy!!

I appreciate what you said about balance. It's a life quest... and lifestyle, I think.

Very interesting about the acupunture treatment... Hmmm, keep us posted on how it feels.

It sounds like you're in a good place with your running. Balance is key.

yay for balance! many of my runs of late have been without a watch or any idea how far i've gone...just running for me.

Accupuncture! Brilliant -- and covered by my insurance -- wuhu!

Makes sense about the ultra running. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Enjoy some of your extra time!

Love that you had a good acupuncture experience! I'm about to end my first semester and have already enrolled in the second. It's a wonderful alternative/accompaniment to western medicine and I swear by it too. Cool!

Angie, acupuncture has been shown to work so calling that sort of pain therapy alternative medicine is actually not strictly correct.

But whenever I hear a story like yours, I cringe a little. The gall bladder meridian?!? I bet if he had put his needles in the "spleen meridian" or whatever, you would have felt the same result.

Lots of doctors do acupuncture and they have appreciable success. This whole soothing-voice-some-hokey-story-about-toxins-and-meridians is better fit for late night TV. It kinda sounds like that guy talking about cleaning out colons (and selling his book, of course).

I often wonder what I, as a "normal" doctor, could achieve if I was allowed to come up with crazy stories about how drugs worked. And if I could do all this in a sunlit house with a peregrin falcon singing from a treetop, there would be no need for "alternative" medicine.

I bet he charges out of pocket, too.

Sorry about the rant. I am frustrated by our broken medical system and people's needs to seek alternatives.

Great writing as always, by the way.

sounds like an interesting and fulfilling experience! thanks for sharing

That's so amazing, Angie. I'm not surprised, though - i have huge trust in chinese medicine, and have had great results with other forms of 'alternative medicine. I've just never heard an account so descriptive of what it did for a runner - both physically and emotionally. Cooling down on the utlra running might be a good thing for you - take the time to focus on what you need right now in your life. (And keeping it in your life still, will feed your soul in its own way)

Cool on your knee therapy! As far as the ultrarunning goes, it takes a lot of time, so you have to have balance in order to continue to pursue this. Take the time and sort your life out. I have a feeling you will be back!

I hate biting on this one, but in response to runningdoctor, don't consider TCM a threat. It shouldn't be. And why would you try to discount a practice that has proven it's ability to heal and remove pain, even if you think it's due to " sunlit house with a peregrin falcon singing from a treetop". If that works instead of drugs or surgery, does it matter?

As it is, there are 5000 years of history behind the medicine and it's still around for a reason. And most acupuncturists believe that "Western" medicine is invaluable. There are things that it offers that Chinese medicine cannot. However, do not think it is all hocus pocus and is not extremely effective in it's own way.

It is "different" in it's approach than what we "westerners" are used to. And that in itself makes it easy to dismiss as useless voodoo. But keep an open mind, research what it can and has done, and you might change your mind. Or not. :)

All acupuncturists are also required to take a national exam, if not by state, to be able to practice as a licensed practictioner. As for "out of pocket". Is there something wrong with charging day or service for services rendered if that is what you mean. But, as it is, many insurance companies are now covering these services so they are not so "out of pocket" as they may have been in the past.

Anyways, the whole point is, acupuncturists are not quacks who are trying to scam money out of unsuspecting fools. It is a healing practice that has been around for many many years.

Sooo sorry. I did my own rant. I will shut up now.

Whoa now, miki. I think we basically agree. I never said acupuncture didn't work. In fact, acupuncture is probably close to being mainstream medicine by now.

I just don't see the fascination with "energy lines" and meridians that probably don't exist. That's all part of a midevil Chinese view of the world.

Western medicine was at a stage a thousand years ago where talked about the humors of the body etc. That stuff is now disregarded; however, many of the actual modes of therapy persist. I wish Chinese medicine would do the same.

However, I have great respect for acupuncture and would like to learn to do it, myself.

And don't forget that we are bound by restrictive rules and regulations in "normal" medicine. I am not allowed to prescribe someone placebo, although I know it would often work wonderfully.

I am just so incredibly frustrated with our broken "traditional" system. It is so easy to be a great alternative to us and I don't blame people for seeking care outside the established health care system.

Take care.

Acupuncturists are trained medical professionals who are also bound by medical ethics. We do not believe we are prescribing placebos. Great dialog though!

Happy running.

on to more important things: love the new hair!! It looks fantastic, especially with that green top!

and yay on getting knee fixed! whatever works. You don't have to decide what race distance you want to run right now. and you can always change your mind.

I opine that to receive the home loans from banks you must present a good motivation. However, once I have received a commercial loan, because I wanted to buy a house.

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This page contains a single entry by Angie's Pink Fuzzy published on December 7, 2006 6:54 PM.

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