Private Practice

 By Michael Turk

Michael Turk-Private PracticeIn 1980 I made a leap of faith, quit my job as an electronic engineer, and took a position teaching shiatsu at a San Diego massage school so I could follow my heart’s desire to help people. I rented a room at the school so I could start a private practice. I also had a treatment room at the front of my house so I could see trusted clients at home.

One beautiful sunny day in my home near the beach in Encinitas, I answered the door to find two scrubbed-bright and polite people—a smiling, young couple with firm handshakes who asked me if I would like to talk about the Bible for a while.

I, being somewhat bored having quit my job, said, “Sure.”

I invited the couple to sit at my small, all-purpose dining room table. I told them about my love of reading and researching many things, including the Bible, and how I enjoyed discussions with friends on various religious subjects. I listened to them, they listened to me, and we talked about Jesus.

They shared about their recent marriage and I about being a “Mr. Mom” raising my son. I explained that I was home in the middle of the day because I had just resigned from a highly paid position as an electronic engineer and was now beginning an acupressure massage practice. To help me through this difficult transition, I studied the Bible and prayed for guidance. I had recently been rewarded with a teaching position at a San Diego massage school.

After we prayed for the success of my massage practice, the husband mentioned they were also interested in alternative medicine because of his wife’s chronic elbow pain. I suggested that I look at her elbow and offered a free acupressure treatment.

A sunroom at the front with a separate entrance served as my home office. At that time, I gave shiatsu treatments the traditional way, on a futon on the floor. We went to the office, decorated with living green plants in front of the windows. I had the wife lie on the futon face up as I massaged around the elbow and traced out tender muscles from the thumb to the shoulder.

She was surprised when I found more tender spots above and below the elbow. As I massaged up the arm, she reported a sore area beneath the collarbone in the muscles above the breast. She acted more surprised that the most tender spot was the shoulder muscle and shocked when I pointed to a painful lump about the size of an almond; however, I was familiar with hidden pain and its implications.

This was a free treatment. I had not performed a standard workup. I did not know her history so, I thought, why not guess at her health problems?

“Would you mind if I asked you some questions about your health?” She agreed. “Do you have problems breathing?”

“Yes, asthma. When I was a teenager it came on all of a sudden. It baffled the doctors.”

That inspired me to ask, “Did you lose someone close to you before the asthma started?”

Her husband asked, completely shocked, “How did you know?”

Michael TurkI explained, “Because Chinese medicine teaches that internal disorders of the vital organs are mapped in the muscles along meridians at acupoints. When I massaged your wife’s arm, I noticed the lung muscle pathway was the only sore muscle group, so I figured the pain was not a musculoskeletal problem.

“Then I found the painful lump at the first acupoint on the lung meridian, which is directly associated with lung disease. I naturally asked about breathing problems.

“When your wife said that her asthma came on suddenly, I figured it was not a physical problem. I guessed it was a strong emotional experience that injured the lung; because the emotion associated with the lung is grief I asked about a personal loss.”

While we were talking, I continued to massage the lump below the collarbone. It had completely dissolved with a little more massage and acupressure, and she reported her arm felt much better and the pain was gone.

We talked a little more about Jesus and the power of prayer for healing.

We parted ways and I never saw those missionaries again, but that encounter was a blessing to me and my practice flourished.

This treatment was a beautiful confirmation of all my studies. There is more to the human condition than meridians and acupoints. There are events and traumas both physical and emotional; there are injuries and the aftermath of those injuries. That is why we treat the whole person—body, mind, and spirit.

Call Michael Turk at 530-213-3332 for an appointment