(Beautiful Inside Out: a column by Elina V. Ramo)
Some Baguio residents were treated to a unique experience in acupuncture on October 23 and 24 when a group of budding acupuncturists in the Cordillera joined those from La Consolacion College - Manila. There were 35 acupuncturists in all, besides acupuncture mentors from the Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC).
They called the day Acupuncture Day. The venue was at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, and on the second day, the public market administrator's office right at the heart of the city market.
The acupuncturists had in mind the poor patients of Baguio General Hospital out-patient department. For them to experience the instant benefits they would derive from acupuncture, moxibustion and ventosa.
Of the 100 or so patients who availed of acupuncture, moxibustion and ventosa treatments, only a handful belonged to the so-called poorest of the poor. Even at the market place, where the acupuncturists expected vendors and ordinary housewives, the bulk of the patients who availed of free Chinese medicine treatment were government employees, some public order and safety and peace enforcers at the city market.
What is worthy of appreciation is the cooperation of health professionals like nurses, doctors and personnel of the BGHMC who showed up early in the day to assist the visiting acupuncturists from Manila and suburbs. There are also at least 10 medical students, mostly clerks, who were at first interested to observe how traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) would be done with, and how it would benefit, Baguio residents.
These medical professionals ended up as patients because they wanted their learning to be experiential. They learned how the meridians responded to puncturing of needles, stimulation by physical and heat exertion.
Among the celebrated patients is Mr. Arthur Mina, a guitarist seen in popular night joints in the city in the last three decades. In 2009, he had a schemic stroke that affected his left foot and left arm, until on a Sunday morning before the Acupuncture Day at BGHMC, two acupuncturists stumbled upon Mr. Rob Ocampo, who used to be Mina's employer.
Ocampo brought the acupuncturists to Mina's residence and the treatment resulted in Mina going to the Acupuncture Day alone. A team of acupuncturists did body and ear acupuncture with 20 to 40 minutes of deep sleep and meditation while the needles were at work.
Everyone was happy to hear him say "Goodbye and take care," with nary a slur in his speech as he has been all three years since the stroke.
Also, a woman in her 50's with a multi-cystic kidney condition had the chance to talk with Dr. Manuel Quirino, one of two Western doctor, practicing TCM in Baguio City. The other is Dr. Charles Cheng of the Filipino-Chinese General Hospital along M. Roxas Road in Trancoville. Doc Q, as Quirino fondly responds to, talked to her intensively about her condition with the acupuncturist needling to address some deficiency in some meridians.
She informs the acupuncturist one week after that her creatinin has lowered a lot after she had further TCM treatment at a Baguio City hospital.
Among the market vendors who saw the acupuncturists for treatment had treatments for low-back pain, numb fingers and toes, stiff neck, frozen shoulders and back injuries. These might be job-related because these tend to carry heavy loads, are not goin to the CR often and tend to have sweets, fatty anf salty food at work.
Health professionals and students in medicine also showed up during the Acupuncture Day in BGHMC. There were nurses from the Philippine Nurses Association who were there to assist the acupuncturists in taking vital signs and main complaints of patients. They too, received hands-on experiential learnings on TCM as they were encouraged to try the treatment for their own ailments.
Instantly some lingering pain seemed to move away after TCM. As they say, no more pain lingered but the experience stays behind.
It was a day to remember. It was a day to forge a unity with health-care providers in the region.
The first Acupuncture Day deserves a second, and a third and these will surely move locals to support and be part of this endeavor to bring TCM within the reach of the poor segments of the Bagio society. #