Monday, 4 February 2013

CCPR: your 3-in-1 one route to health!

 The brilliant James O'Sullivan at his Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic

The world can live quite happily without another annoying acronym, but CCPR has now become a way of life to me. When dealing with something as unpredictable, individual and vital as my health, I’ve found the best results come from a blend of Conventional and Complementary medicines, alongside Personal Responsibility.

CCPR evolved as the result of my efforts over the last few years to cure the inflammation in my knee while trying to understand what was causing explosive bowel movements and pain in my abdomen.

Conventional medicine started off magnificently when an MRI scan identified a torn meniscus in my knee. Off to the hospital for a quick arthroscopy, back home that night and eight weeks later I was walking without pain.

Full marks to conventional medicine. For years, each time I’d taken a step, the torn meniscus had trapped itself inside the moving parts of my knee. More debilitating than the sharp pain was the way it sapped my confidence. When each step forward hurts, life seems such a struggle.

However, after an ultrasound scan and two colonoscopies, all conventional medicine had come up with vis à vis my gut was that I have IBS, which is conventional medicine’s way of saying:

“We don’t really have a clue!”

Repeatedly I was told by doctors to eat more roughage and drink more water, but as I explained at the clinic, I eat vast quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables and am accompanied all my waking hours by a glass of water, that is drained and refilled regularly. I also love walking and exercising, so I just didn’t fit their IBS model.

Deaf to my protestations, they handed me yet another box of Fybogel sachets and sent me on my way.

Unsatisfied and unwell, I went to see the very excellent James O’Sullivan of Active Health at the Smiling Body Clinic.  Alongside his colleague Eunice, James O'Sullivan is a gem of a man. A calming wise soul and an incredibly skilled practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a session with James is a happy blend of mental and physical therapy, after which you leave feeling optimistic and on the mend.

I first encountered him years ago when my back was in spasm. He insisted I told him about my dreams, listened attentively, and then cured me with a single session of Tuina, Chinese Medical Acupressure.

Having studied Chinese herbs, Acupuncture, Tuina, Qi Gong, and Tai Qi under the legendary Hung Shui Chen, James gained extensive clinical experience whilst studying at many Chinese teaching hospitals, including the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

More than anybody, James inspired CCPR, always insisting that both conventional and complementary medicines were essential ingredients of healthy living, while his own philosophy states:

"Everybody has the right to better health, movement, freedom, and well-being and each one of us has the ability to learn and practice the techniques necessary to sustain this aspiration"

After each session of acupuncture, my knee improved, and his advice to visualise my inflamed gut cooling down really helped. I’d just lie in bed for ten minutes at each end of the day, concentrating on my Qi, my life force, whizzing around my body, from top to toe, and then I’d visualise my hot angry gut cooling down, easing, calming, and yes, it worked. Within minutes I felt the pain ease.

Trouble was, I still didn’t know what was causing it. Everything I’d read about the vague and unsatisfactory diagnosis of IBS suggested sufferers should eat more fibre, but I was living on the stuff.

So I decided to add the PR to CCPR. Taking personal responsibility for my own health, I started to do the opposite of what the conventional medical practitioners told me. I stopped eating all fruit and veg, and two days later passed the first solid stool I’d created for three years.

For fear of sounding fetishistic, I’ll avoid describing the pleasure I felt.

Gradually I reintroduced my beloved fresh ingredients to my diet, so that now I can eat almost all vegetables (although the onion family can give me a tough time), bananas and blueberries. All citrus fruit and apples are out, and I sorely miss them, but I do not miss the pain in my gut, nor the explosions in the loo!

As long as I stay stress-free (nice idea, but unlikely!) and avoid too much strong coffee, my innards now behave themselves pretty well. Added to the thrill of being well is the buzz that I did it myself. Where conventional medicine could only prove there was nothing seriously wrong and complementary could ease my symptoms, it was only by working on my own problem myself that I found the cause of my illness.

However, when complementary and conventional medicine offer the same advice, it’s best to listen and act. A couple of years after my knee surgery, swelling and pain returned, this time at night. Sharp enough to wake me up, the pain hit my weak spot: sleep. I can do anything as long as I get a good night’s kip, but suffer quickly when robbed of my slumber.

My spirits sank, so I visited both my medicine men.

While one talked of blocked Qi and the other of undrained lymphatic systems, both James O'Sullivan and my conventional doctor used the same word to explain the problem: stagnation.

So instead of avoiding exercise in the morning, when my knee hurt, I went straight for a walk after getting up or worked out on the rowing machine and hallelujah, the pain went away!

So thanks to my doctor, to James O’Sullivan and to the sense I was born with, to care about myself, I’m now almost completely pain free, in both the knee and gut.

CCPR is the way for me. Now I need to go for a walk!

Smiling Body Clinic, 4 St. Bridget's Place, Prospect Hill, Galway.
Monday to Saturday 9am to 7pm.
For appointment with James call 087 785 1158. For Eunice call 087 414 9228

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