Dr Haller: Remarks on My Journey
For as long as I can remember I have been an interpreter, engaged in the work of bringing together and finding connections between apparently disparate elements. I have been devoted to art and to science, find myself at home in contrasting cultures, and am inspired by Western and Eastern medical traditions. It has not, however, always seemed this clear. There were times I felt torn by the need to choose between what seemed like opposing paths, but I learned to maintain my focus by concentrating on those things that connect rather than separate us. I believe that this yearning to navigate amidst different worlds springs from a fundamental understanding that we are all part of a greater whole.
I am extremely fortunate to have found, through acupuncture, a way to practice medicine that is consistent with who I am and what I hold dear. In my medical acupuncture practice, I allow myself to move rather shamelessly between a Western, anatomically-based, concrete, and linear system of understanding and the energetic, holistic, and sometimes circular paradigm that characterize Asian (Oriental to those living in the west) medicine. I have chosen to organize my practice in such a way that I can spend the time I need with my patients, with hands on and heart engaged.
My journey to acupuncture began with my own health issues. Since I was graced with neck pain and migraines, those same conditions, encountered daily in my family medicine practice, held a particular interest for me. To treat them effectively, I learned about trigger points and myofascial pain, and was stunned by the dramatic response of my patients to trigger point injections. The results went way beyond the physical; while it is natural to feel happy after pain relief, it was clear that the emotional shifts I was witnessing went deeper that.
I knew there was a strong connection between trigger points and acupuncture, and this helped inspire me to train in medical acupuncture. Given my penchant for multicultural translation, it should come as no surprise that I am drawn to the treatment approach I call myofascial acupuncture, which emphasizes the role of fascia, a form of connective tissue. As the name connective tissue implies, its job is connection—holding the body’s parts together, and facilitating their harmonious interaction.
In this journey, I have found that there is no contradiction in theory or practice between the energetic and physical realms. They both exist, and what you search for is what you find. The phenomena of the natural world, the experiences and sensations of health and illness are the same, whether you look through a Chinese or a European prism. They are just organized and categorized differently, which leads to different approaches to treatment……..and makes it all so interesting.
Won’t you join me on the journey?
—Marsha Haller, MD