4th July, 2004  Volume 10, Issue 51

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Acupuncture: A deeper look 

By Shezna Shums  

Acupuncture, the ancient natural and art of healing, can treat many illnesses without causing any side effects. This along with Shiatsu, a Japanese type of massage, provides relief from various physical and mental ailments. Because these methods assist the movement of energy in the body. Acupuncture as well as Shiatsu helps to move energy from where there is excess to places in the body where there is a deficiency.

Dr. Laurel Botsford who has visited Sri Lanka several times, now resides here. She has studied and now practices acupuncture as well as Shiatsu.

She said that though throughout her life she has practiced Shiatsu the Japanese massaging technique, it was only after being treated by acupuncture for a physical ailment, she was convinced that this was an excellent method of healing . "I was told that I would have to live with the pain - however after being treated with acupuncture I was completly cured," emphasised Botsford.

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a therapy of physical and energy rebalancing. This massage is done by using pressure with the thumbs, fingers, and palms which are then applied to areas and points in the human body, in order to evenly redistribute the energy in the body so that there is no excess or shortage of energy.

Advantages of Shiatsu
Increases flexibility of the skin
Improves the circulatory system
Aids digestion
Regulates the functions of the nerves

Shiatsu is an oriental therapy, which is based on principles of oriental medicine where health is a balance of energy in the body.

"Wonderful experience"

"When I went to Dr Anton Jayasuriya's clinic in Kalubowila I saw that the people around me were being healed and so was I, everyone was healing, that was pretty wonderful." she said.

After studying and working with  Dr. Anton Jayasuriya for more than a year, she now practices both these methods on her own. She also feels that acupuncture is complemented by Shiatsu which is the art of balancing the energy levels in the body.

Botsford believes that "acupuncture is a fascinating way to heal people." Acupuncture heals so many different things and many people do not realise how many illnesses can be treated with acupuncture.

The theory behind alternative medicine revolves around the idea of balancing energy levels in the body and providing equal levels of energy.

She noted that in her practice of both acupuncture and Shiatsu she goes to people's homes and treats them, while some people also visit her at her home.

She is also affiliated with Ultramedics at the World Trade Center and The Sanctuary Spa.

One day she hopes to have her own clinic for acupuncture and the other alternative methods she practices.

Reliable alternative

She also explained that people of all income groups seek  acupuncture and that slowly the world is changing towards looking at alternative medicine as being very reliable.

Botsford an American, stated that she only practices alternative healing in Sri Lanka and noted that if she has a patient who she feels needs more attention she takes them to someone with more experience.

She pointed out that alternative medicine is increasingly accepted in the USA, because surveys show that over 50 percent of people seeking treatment first try alternative medicine over conventional medicine, because the practice and acceptance of alternative medicine is growing, around the world.

Describing the practice of acupuncture she says that it is a simple pinprick in different parts of the body, depending on the ailments of the person. After this, the person is made to relax and practice slow rhythmic breathing for about half an hour after which the needles will be taken out. This process will be repeated until the patient is healed of the illness.

However she does acknowledge that many people are afraid of the needle but assures that these are tiny needles that can hardly be felt except at sensitive places.

It is the Chinese, who documented the acupuncture points in the body for illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems and even asthma because acupuncture does not merely control the illness but cures it as well.

She stated that many of her patients who suffered from such illnesses are not even taking medication now because they have been cured by acupuncture. "Because the main thrust of alternative medicine is to balance the energy of the body in order to cure the person, so that the person will not have to go to the pharmacy or visit the doctor for the ailment again.

Many seeking treatment

She also said that she has treated many people with physical problems, even children, people who have been paralysed, people suffering from nerve problems, even cured smokers and obesity. Now she is treating a small boy who has been paralysed in the right side of his face after a brain operation and noted that he has shown tremendous improvement because he has started to smile and blink.  Noting that even if it is only a finger that moves it is a huge achievement and even this is very encouraging for both the patient and doctor.

Botsford certainly speaks with pride and confidence when she refers to her patients whom she has helped with acupuncture.

"Acupuncture is phenomenal for such patients," stressed Botsford who has treated and improved a number of paralysed patients. Even if there are no Western cures for such illnesses, acupuncture can help them.

Botsford not only practices acupuncture and Shiatsu, but she is also qualified in energy healing, colourtherapy, homeopathy, auriculotherapy, reflexology, lasertherapy and physiotherapy.

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