"The pain is coming from an increase of energy in your gall bladder meridian."
I nodded as though that sentence made any sense at all. Sitting in the tiny room, futon mattress on the floor, candles burning and relaxing music playing, I have to admit it sounded kind of normal and rational. Still, I had a sense that after this hour, back in my real life, I'd laugh about the ridiculousness of it. Clearly I was in pain because I have a baby putting pressure on various parts of my body - end of story. However.
She had checked my pulses to find this information: slightly too much energy in one meridian, not enough in another, and a vague request from me for help with pain and swelling. At worst, though, these sessions were giving me time to feel I was looking after myself - and sometimes that's enough to make you feel better.
I've had a few people helping me out with pain during this pregnancy: my Pilates instructor has been amazing in tailoring every session to how I'm feeling, and I was seeing a wonderful massage therapist. Only the latter abandoned me recently. (She left her place of employment, but I got all dramatic about it.) I thought maybe I could manage without the massages - turns out I couldn't. Not very well, anyway.
I defy anyone to be at their best and most positive when they're in pain.
I was about to ring another massage place when an update popped up on Facebook: a place I used to go to has a new Shiatsu therapist. Shiatsu, an ancient Japanese pressure point therapy, is one of my favourite things in the world. It's about all over wellbeing - body, mind, diet - and I love the idea that a problem with one part of the body is looked at holistically, rather than the modern medicine theory of 'here's a cream to put on that spot'. (The two can work well hand-in-hand; I'm not suggesting turning my back on modern medicine.)
So I rang this lady, booked in for the next day, and felt a bit spooked that the universe - or the internet - had timed it all so well.
Over two weeks and two sessions, the most amazing results.
Eczema, gone. Psoriasis, better than it's been since it started affecting me years ago. I didn't go there for my skin conditions, but it shows how much these things stem from other issues.
Swelling and fluid retention in my legs: gone. By this stage of my pregnancy with Abbey I had to buy wider shoes to fit my feet, I no longer really had ankles and my legs were restless, semi-numb, swollen and uncomfortable. It was heading that way again - but this treatment has absolutely shown my body that it can put its fluid retention in its pipe and smoke it. (So NER.)
Pain: barely appearing since the second session. I couldn't tell her where the pain really was - just a vague pointing around my lower back, hips and legs - but after the 'gall bladder meridian' thing, her first touch was in the exact spot that it all stemmed from. And the relief I feel is indescribable.
Whatever it is, however strange it sounds, it's working for me in ways I couldn't have believed. I did laugh about it afterwards and poke a little fun at it all. But secretly, maybe I have to believe the weirdness - or at least just enjoy that it's making me feel so good.