Just One Person … from Chiang Mai

Blogger Caddy Luck Leedy from That Travel Lady In Her Shoes has a challenge called Just One Person from Around the World. In it we are invited to profile one person met during our travels. It’s a great concept. Many times, it’s the people that I meet that make my trip memorable.

Like the acupuncturist I met in a hill top village in rural Chiang Mai.


We were visiting the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand when our guide Pat twisted his ankle. Most of the villages were built on rocky hillsides and by the second day Pat’s ankle was painfully swollen. Nonetheless, he was determined to take us around, both to the government sponsored villages as well as private households. In particular, there was one home that he was keen to visit.

The Acupuncturist (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

It was the home of the local acupuncturist. While Pat carefully eased himself down on the porch bench, the gentleman retrieved a dusty old biscuit tin. Inside were needles, wrappers and a butane lighter. With great precision he tapped the needles into Pat’s ankle.

When it comes to medicine, I am a firm believer in Western style treatments with its science based, hyper-hygienic and pharmaceutical blasting techniques. As I watched the acupuncturist, I tried to not think about the dusty surroundings and non-sterile needles.

All the same, in this part of Thailand there was very little available in terms of proper health care. In all the villages that we saw, not one was big enough for a health clinic. Having access to a local TCM practitioner must have been a godsend for those having no medical access at all.

And the treatment worked. Pat declared his ankle feeling much better and he completed the tour in relative comfort.


I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of a person from another part of the world. Every Wednesday Caddy updates her website with Just One Person stories posted by her and other contributors. They are fun to read. You can check them out here.

15 Comments

  1. I have read other folk’s experience with acupuncture (with a setting such as this one) and from their experience they did get quite a bit of relief. My BIL has a rare genetic bone disorder, in which the bones have fused together at the top of his spine and he is unable to turn his neck from side to side…….After many years of pain killers and all kinds of treatments it was recommended to him that he see an acupuncture specialist to see if he could get any pain relief……he went…… the insurance pays for it and it does work to relieve his pain…….it does not take it away……but I think for a couple of hours it gets HIS mind off it and he feels better. Thank you for sharing! This is so fun each week reading these stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t knock acupuncture. It’s become more & more accessible here in very reputable settings. I feel for your BIL. Chronic pain is bad and I’m glad he can find relief any way he can get it.
      As I said to Sarah earlier, I do like this challenge. It gives me a chance to share photos & anecdotes … while not feeling too guilty about re-hashing old news 🙂

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  2. Hi, Sandy – I’ve had acupuncture in Beijing (for my frozen shoulder). The jury is out for me as well. Like you, I like the comforts (and the hygiene) of Western Medicine. But, I have seen alternative medical treatments work for others again and again.

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    1. I know the pain of frozen shoulder very well. Acupuncture was recommended to me too but I went for a hydro-cortisone treatment which had miraculous results. I am so glad that I was in Toronto for this particular treatment, as it’s not so wildly available. How did you get rid of yours?

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  3. I’m loving this challenge – so many interesting encounters around the world! I’ve had acupuncture myself (in the safe sterile atmosphere of a registered physiotherapist’s treatment room!) and for me the jury is out. I think it may have helped me a little with the ankle pain I was suffering from, but it could also have been the massages and ultrasound treatments that accompanied the acupuncture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a good challenge isn’t it. I’ve been able to dust out photos that we so-so in terms of picture quality but had a little story behind them. I’m glad that you”ve enjoyed reading them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you asked Teresa. I was thinking of saying something but decided against it for brevity.
      As I recall, this gentleman was Hmong. One of their beliefs is that one’s spirit (soul) can be separated from body, which in turn causes despair and sickness. Wearing the knotted string bracelet is a way of tying the spirit to the body.

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    1. There is science that supports the theory behind acupuncture. In fact, there are professional doctors who are trained in both Western medicine as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine.
      However, I’d think acupuncture needles would have to go well below the skin level to be effective & the potential for infection must be real.

      Liked by 1 person

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