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Monday, February 3, 2003


[HAWAII AT WORK]

art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM



Acupuncturist gets to the point

Melissa Yee uses herbs,
electricity and other means
to boost health



As an acupuncturist, I have a wide range of diagnostic tools and treatment methods available to assist people in identifying the root causes of their health problems. Acupressure, nutrition, herbs and food supplements, change of lifestyle and diet, needles, heat or electrical stimulation can be prescribed separately or combined to customize a patient's treatment in each session.

In my initial assessment of a patient's health concerns, I will ask more than the standard "20 questions" to learn about medical history, accidents and injuries. The information becomes the foundation for my observations, bringing together the puzzle pieces to form an overview of his or her condition. Checking pulses, tongue, skin and tone of voice are means of gathering impressions about a person's health.

By examining different parts of the body -- eyes, head and body shape, hands, feet, nails, and teeth -- I can get a good sense of a person's constitutional, or congenital, strengths and weaknesses. The oral cavity -- being intimately related to the inner condition of the body -- and each tooth, having an energetic connection to organs, glands sinuses and vertebrae, have a profound effect on our overall health. Even the attitude of the individual about his prospects in health, life and death can play a tremendous role in his motivation to get better.

I grew up in Honolulu and have always enjoyed traveling, reading and learning. I completed my education in Oriental medicine at a school here after years of self-study living in Europe, where there aren't too many schools specializing in acupuncture.

Acupuncture training takes at least four years of study and includes biomedical sciences, Chinese philosophy and terminology, physiology according to Oriental medical principles, herbology, point location and indications, and clinical practice.

It is helpful to have a rich background of life experience as one meets patients with a variety of aches, addictions and phobias. I have been able to apply my knowledge as a licensed massage therapist to work with the person holistically, addressing spiritual, mental and physical disturbances and uncovering several layers at a time. One acupuncture point can influence both physical and mental states because of the relaxation of each of the five elements of the organs. It is exciting to work with a patient to recall seemingly insignificant events and perspectives that have hindered him from realizing his full potential for health and happiness.

Establishing trust between the patient and myself is most important of all, so that we can work together to comprehend the reasons for disharmony and illness in his life. Things as simple as smiling, positive thoughts, drinking more water and eating more vegetables can make a world of difference for a patient who is willing to make adjustments in his daily habits on a permanent basis.

The patient must stick with the process and take responsibility for his condition rather than becoming dependent on me to figure out every aspect of his life. I encourage patients to become self-empowered and self-sufficient; to begin to research and question and so they will use their common sense, experience and intuition to discern what is right for them.

After years of visiting exotic countries and seeking purpose and a fulfilling career, I am extremely please with my profession. It is always satisfying to meet my patients month or years after treatment and hear them say my advice made their lives easier and healthier.


Hawaii At Work features tells what people do for a living in their own words. Send submissions to: business@starbulletin.com



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