About Billy Zachary
"My goal is to fix the world." - Confucius
No person is an island, and the health of every individual is affected by and affects the health of their family, social groups and greater society. To be completely healthy would require that our home, our neighborhood, our country and our world were completely healthy too. Though this is something that may never be fully realized, I believe that each of us has a moral obligation to pursue our greatest health for the good of the whole. If I let a poet speak for me...
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
-Blake, Augries of Innocence
I believe the idea expressed here is fundamental to the wisdom of acupuncture, where the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm. Every action, even thought and emotion, has consequences on ourselves, our health and then ripples out into the rest of our world. We all have an intuitive knowledge of how to live a deeply rewarding, meaningful life, in which our optimal conditions of health would flourish. We get distracted from this sense, and then we instead create patterns that lead to internal suffering. Stress, worry, dread and self-judgment can create debilitating and internally oppressive thoughts and habits. The pace and cadence of modern life often works, then strains us to the limits of health. Our lifestyle choices, diet and exercise are integral to this system as well. Illness of the body and illness of the spirit are connected, overtly and subtly. Also, illness and health are not mutually exclusive, but on a spectrum; they are not black and white, but instead there are many shades of grey. Chronic conditions and illness cannot stay us from achieving our fullest enjoyment of life. Chinese Medicine gives us a map to understand these connections.
My first experience with Chinese Medicine was during my adolescence, when I began to read and study about diet, hoping to find a way to cure the symptoms of depression that ran in my family and were beginning to set in for myself. This first piece of study changed the way I thought about food and health, pushing me to consider the relationship between the foods that I ate and my mood and energy afterwards.
The disciplined exercise and meditation of martial arts training, combined with the shifts in my diet resulted in changes in my mood, my spirit and energy that were beyond what I could have hoped for. I named my practice Acupuncture Changes Lives because it is what happened for me and it is what I work toward with every patient who comes through my door.
My first acupuncture treatment was for a shoulder injury, but after the first session my shoulder was no better. To my surprise, it helped my stomach with symptoms that doctors had told me were stress related, but not treatable. This blew me away. It seemed magical.
My second acupuncture treatment left my shoulder feeling worse than when it started, but despite the discomfort, it soothed insomnia. After the third treatment, the shoulder pain finally went away.
Years later, in acupuncture school, I learned the details of what connects the acupuncture points on the shoulder to the digestive system, and to the parts of our nervous system that allow us to sleep. What was once magic is now often routine, and this lens of Chinese Medicine that guides my understanding of these connections is no more mysterious than a map for a traveler. And at times the effects of acupuncture still can amaze me.
I find it difficult to explain that benefits acupuncture provides. Sometimes patients come in seeking relief from one symptom, but then get relief for greater stresses and worries that they had long since given up on ever improving. Sometimes patients come in for a physical symptom, and it is their awareness that grows to see how their emotional life is contributing and effecting their body.