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Returning to my practice soon. Or, who is that masked man?

Dear Friends:

I hope this note finds you, your family and all of your loved ones safe, well, thriving and even happy. It has been a stressful period. As we move toward reopening our society, the stresses don’t diminish, they only change shape.

Almost everyone on this mailing list knows that the Mid-Hudson Valley Region of Governor Cuomo’s New York PAUSE has reached Phase One. This means that construction, agriculture, manufacturing and other large-scale industries can begin to reopen. I’ll open again when we reach Phase Two. Barring reverses, this should be within a week or two.

The outer shape of how we work together will change a little. For the time being, for instance, we’ll both need to wear facial coverings. I’ll also ask you to fill out a brief health questionnaire prior to each visit. But the essence of what we do will not change. Over the years, I’ve learned that we work collaboratively, creating a space for movement and change. The collaboration with each of you is different, each in its own way. Shoulder pain isn’t necessarily less complicated than headache pain. Everyone is different. Masks and questionnaires should not change the shape of the core aspects of our work.

I was in a hardware store the other day. As I went to check out, the person in front of me was telling the clerk how he didn’t think masks made a whit of difference. Smiling through my mask in the friendliest way possible, I told him I thought masks were really important. I explained that during the 1918 Flu Pandemic more people died the second wave of infection than in the first and third waves combined. He looked surprised, and so did the store clerk. I then (smilingly) observed that the reason his own mask was hanging off his face was because it was missing the upper elastic band. He conceded this. I explained that I’m an acupuncturist and was concerned about safety because I would be back in my small treatment room soon. It turns out that he used to see an acupuncturist, “trained in China,” (ergo, an especially able practitioner) who explained that people who are depressed are more likely to get ill. The implication was that since he wasn’t depressed himself, he was less likely to contract Covid-19. Suppressing my irritation about this simplification of infectious disease, I countered with a story about a non-depressed acquaintance of indomitable spirit who contracted the illness despite months of isolation in a Catskills cabin. Doing his own mental contact tracing, the only person he could have caught it from was an unmasked staffer at the town dump, his one excursion from the cabin, who handled his credit card. (He's since recovered.) Believe it or not, the gentleman in the store and I parted as friends! But I think I made my point: we wear masks to express our concern for each other, to keep each other as safe as possible, against odds.

Here’s a link to a radio interview about the importance of breathing. This show has deepened my thinking about breathing.

How will we breathe together when we’re at the work of acupuncture, wearing masks?

I’ve obtained a contactless credit card system. I look forward to seeing you when I’m able to reopen!

As always, please call, text or email if you have questions.

Bill Weinstein


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