Best: Western

One week, a neurological exam, and four x-rays later, it’s safe to say that my anxiety has not been cured. And that I’m grateful for the big guns of western medicine.

Yup, using holistic cures and alternative therapies to remedy clinical anxiety and amenorrhea led me to sacrifice three hours of Valentine’s Day in the yellow-gray waiting room of a nuclear medicine, ultrasound, and x-ray diagnostic imaging office. I was sent there with a prescription from a physician, who inspected my back for signs of internal bleeding and then sent me to get x-rays just to make sure that nothing was fractured.

Seriously. I went from reflexology to radiology within a week. Never take a knife to a gun fight. Never bring your body to a basement massage parlor in Chinatown.

Just to make sure you’re following along at home, shiatsu is considered to be therapeutic by massage aficionados and woo-woo healer types alike. It’s touted by many in the alt med community as a means of stimulating circulation and aiding the secretion of sebaceous glands, alleviating arthritis symptoms, easing migraines, assuaging morning sickness, inducing labor in overdue pregnant women, facilitating digestion, assisting in fat metabolism, and pulverizing small women who previously thought they had a high tolerance for pain. Whether or not any of this is SCIENCE FACT remains murky at best. ¿Cómo se dice “randomized control trial”?

While I’ve had to take a few days off to recover, and I’ve been hitting the Ibuprofen hard after refusing my doctor’s attempts to prescribe me stronger painkillers by citing the fact that I’m part Lohan, the project is still on. Make no mistake. After all, I have CranioSacral Balancing, reiki, a “healing crystal massage,” and a chiropractor’s visit to get through. In the next two weeks there’s also a chance that I’ll get vigorously scratched with a spoon, rubbed with a herbal compress, and venture back to Chinatown for other supposedly salubrious treatments. I may or may not drink my own pee. (Uropathy for the woo!)

Keep in mind that, other than a pretty common mental affliction and a period more intermittent than Halley’s Comet, I started out healthy. And able to walk.

Some treatments I’ve subjected myself to since the last post, not including the examinations and blasting with electromagnetic magic…

Chakra Healing Massage
An energy therapy where the seven energy centers of the body are realigned. Involves chanting, guided visualization, light massage, and feeling awkward.
Quick take: The woman who performed the massage was able to detail my digestive patterns in a way that was a little distressing in its accuracy. But otherwise it was just really hard to put any faith in it. There were crystals involved. Also, my throat chakra “needs work.” She told me that I’m not expressing myself the way I want to, that it’s chronic, and that I should attempt Lion Pose in yoga in order to free it up. Rawr.
Anxiety: Equally as uncomfortable leaving as I was walking in the joint.

Shirodhara
A technique in Ayurvedic medicine where warm oil is poured over the patient’s “third eye” (read: forehead, center between the brows) in order to calm the mind and quell any mental tension.
Quick take: Really oily. You could have thrown me in a fryer and served me with a double-cheeseburger by the end of it. And my hair was so greasy even after shampooing, I could have been considered attractive in a Williamsburg biergarten.
Anxiety: No change. No increase or decrease. Just oily.

Raindrop Technique
A body therapy that incorporates reflexology and something called Vita Flex massage in order to balance the body’s “structural and electrical alignment” with the aid of supposedly antiseptic, immune boosting, and oxygenating essential oils. There may or may not be a connection to the Lakota Indian tribe. But I’m guessing that tribe members probably had better things to do than rub each other by candlelight with essential oils.
Quick take: Annoyingly uncanny. In my experience, it wound up not being bullshit, inexplicably, even in spite of my lack of belief. I lay there scoffing quietly, stood up, and felt fucking incredible.
Anxiety: No. Slept amazing, woke up amazing. Chalk one up for the woo-woo.

Shiatsu
A Japanese therapeutic massage technique that translates into “finger pressure,” shiatsu incorporates stretches, pressure points, and light stretching in order to facilitate the flow of invisible energy and help cope with everything from nausea to depression.
Quick take: Most painful thing I have ever been through without question, exaggeration, or room for debate. I have been in car accidents that were more pleasant.
Anxiety: Worse. Infinitely worse.

Next week could find me going from energy healing to emergency medicine. Stay tuned.