WE’RE ALL ON SCREENS these days. Seeing a doctor, acupuncturist, or yoga teacher through a digital connection is the new kind-of-normal—whether or not we’re on board with the change.
Julia Metraux is an editorial fellow for The Mighty, an online community for people dealing with chronic health challenges and disabilities. Many in the community have been skeptical of receiving care online, which Metraux gets. “When you’ve been taking care of your own health for so long in a certain way ... it’s hard with the sudden change. I can see why people are reluctant to grasp it.”
“It’s very new to me,” she says. “I never really thought about it as a possibility before coronavirus.” Metraux was pleasantly surprised she could still talk to her doctor digitally, go over symptoms, and get blood work done at a lab. Basically, it was like any appointment minus the inconvenience to get there. “It’s a lot less time overall,” she says. Virtual sessions also save Metraux the hourlong commute that was a nightmare on days when her chronic pain was at its worst.
Some practitioners are overcoming an initial reluctance. Licensed acupuncturist and certified health coach Andrea Henkels explains, “The most surprising thing to me at the beginning was that it works. I understand why it’s so hard for people to believe.”
Even without needles, she is able to heal someone emotionally, spiritually, and physically. She attributes this to online sessions having greater presence and focus. “My attention is on them 100 percent the whole time, whereas when I’m doing acupuncture in person, I’m running around. It’s a different connection.” An additional plus is that the patients are in their home. Some of her patients want to have a session right before bed, and virtual sessions give Henkels the ability to do that. “They have the best sleep,” she says.
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