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12.6.11

Adventures In Acupuncture IV

This is part 4 of an on-going series of articles about the use of acupuncture in treating the effects of multiple sclerosis, especially blindness.  See Part 1 herePart 2 herePart 3 here.  The standard Western medical approach gave no hope for recovery, and the use of life-long drugs (with distasteful side-effects) offered a ‘possible’ protection from further attacks.


This week covers only one session, since I went to the farm yesterday, instead of getting a treatment.  I'll chalk it up to an adjuvant treatment, since fresh air, peace and quiet are always rejuvenating.  


At any rate, last Wednesday, I reported to the sin she that I was starting to get good color, but my central vision was still quite cloudy.  Indeed, my peripheral vision is coming back nicely, but I'm still having issues with my central vision, which is the part of the retina that actually focuses on things clearly.


Prior to treatment, I had tunnel vision.  I could see very sharply in a small area of my central vision of the left eye, but there was no color and everything around that one spot was foggy.  Then in the peripheral vision, things cleared a bit and colors were still visible, though muted.  It appears the red cones were most affected, since I have been able to see blue fairly clearly, but red has been missing, and so has green for that matter, which is a combination of red and blue.


Immediately following last Wednesday's treatment, I had rather vivid colors in the peripherals, and I was regaining colors in the central vision, as well.  I could see certain saturated reds and could detect green in trees and grass.  The green wasn't strong, but if you haven't seen it in two years, any amount is pretty startling.


Using my trusty SMPTE color bars, I could clearly see the blue and yellow bars.  The cyan was a bit weak, but I could detect it.  The red and magenta were a little more problematic, but that i could see them at all was a major milestone.  I can clearly see the green bar in my peripheral vision, but if I look directly at it, it becomes light gray again, as does the magenta.  The cyan is pale but visible in my cental vision, as is the blue.  The red is pale, but detectable.


As far as resolution, this is a mixed blessing.  I seem to be losing the tunnel vision effect, but in a way that is somewhat maddening.  Instead of one clear, sharp area in my central vision, I now have several, like balloons of clarity in a sea of fog.  As I had spent two years adjusting to the old way of seeing, which allowed me to see about half a word at a time using 12-point font at arm's length (so sharp in fact, that I could see individual pixels without my glasses).


Turning to my SMPTE alignment chart, I am able to resolve more detail overall, but it is broken up into different sectors.  If I squint just right, I can kind of blend all the sharp areas together to get a larger picture.  In the clear areas, I can easily see the smallest lines of resolution with clear separation.  In the foggy areas, they just blur together so that I can tell there are black and white lines, but I can't clearly make out the distinct lines.  In other words, it's like being out of focus so that everything kind of blurs together.


The last treatment varied from the previous ones, in that the sin she poked a needle into the nerve on the center-line at the rear of my head, and again at the base of my skull, right at C1.  She didn't leave the needles in, just poked several times, as if sensitizing the nerve.  She also put two needles on either side of the bridge of my nose just in front of the eye socket.  She also added two new ones just above each ear on the sides of my head.  In my legs, she moves the ones that had been in my feet to a point outside the shin bone about three inches below the knees.  I had the usual ones in the web between the thumb and forefinger.  


As for the electric pulse, which is always wired to the needles in my head and neck, the dose was a bit lower, but the rhythm of the pulse was much faster this time.  The session lasted about 30 minutes, as usual.


Overall, it's a bit uncomfortable, but not overly painful.  As I've explained before, I can tell when the sin she hits the nerve, because there's a sort of electric pinch feeling.  If she just hits muscle, there is a little bit of pain, which is how she knows she missed.  The ones I find most annoying are directly under my eyes and in my temples.  They are both a bit painful and annoying if any of those muscles twitch while the needles are in.  Which, of course, means that this is the time when everyone wants to ask questions.  Kind of like when the dentist has his hands in your mouth and wants to make small talk.  Smiling is especially undesirable.  


I am starting to see a pattern with acupuncture.  There is a kind of time release aspect in which the overall benefit of each session takes about 24 hours to kick in, although there is usually an immediate difference, as well.  There's also a slow fade over several days, so that it's like blowing up a balloon and then slowly letting the air out. Another way to think of it is three-steps-forward-two-back.  The baseline keeps advancing, but it's incremental with a hyper-state immediately after a session and for the following day, then a slow slide back, though not all the way back.


Some of the definite benefits so far (six treatments) are that the twitching muscles in my legs have stopped (blessedly), more color vision and across my whole field of view, brighter and less foggy vision, and increased night-vision.  The incidental complaint about stuffy sinuses was completely remedied and I have a very acute sense of smell now.  The tinnitus comes and goes, though the volume seems to be dropping a little over time.


I've added ginko biloba to my vitamin regimen, at 60 mg two times a day.  I've identified a good manufacturer of goji extract, called Master Goji, which I will start taking soon, as well.


There are a few things I must avoid.  I can not eat cassava root, called singkong locally.  I must avoid MSG, especially in large doses.  This morning, my wife bought bubur ayam, rice porridge with chicken, from one of the street vendors this morning.  It was delicious, but turns out it had loads of MSG, which is playing havoc with my eyes today.  Finally, I must avoid aspartame like the plague.  I'm convinced that aspartame was the trigger that led to the initial attack two years ago, and if I even smell the stuff, I get headaches and my eyes go dark.  That crap is banned from my house.  Wine also seems to case minor prolems, though beer and booze are OK, thank God.  Could be the sulfites.


One interesting side note: health insurance here covers acupuncture, reflexology and herbal treatment.  Guess when you are outside the influence of Big Pharma, you are allowed to take advantage of any form of health care you want.  Try that with Obamacare or any of the Euro versions of socialized health care.


Until next week, keep your needles sharp!

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