Regulating Qi

I never really knew much about Chinese medicine. What I do know is I’m all about prevention and trying my best to stay healthy rather than having to seek medical attention when I get sick. I know proper sleep coupled with proper nutrition and exercise is the formula that typically keeps me feeling my best.

One thing that I have had difficulty managing in my life is endometriosis. I won’t go into a long drawn out explanation of the disease- that’s what Google is for- but it causes significant pain and inflammation from time to time. It can be physically and emotionally draining to deal with a chronic condition, especially when I feel like I try hard to make the right choices to stay healthy.

One of my favorite things about living on St John is that it has inspired me to try new things that I believe I never would have considered if I still lived in the states. There are so many examples, but one interesting (and somewhat unexpected) experience I’ve had that is that I started acupuncture.


I say deciding to begin acupuncture therapy is unexpected mostly due to the fact that I am terrified of needles. When I say terrified, that doesn’t begin to tell the story. I nearly pass out during my yearly physicals when I have to have blood drawn, and don’t get me started about getting a flu shot! Needles are not my friend.


In Chinese medicine, a diagnosis of endometriosis actually does not exist. Acupuncture is all about regulating qi (pronounced chee). It’s about moving energy around to correct the imbalances in the flow of qi. To do so, your acupuncturist administers needles at specific points throughout your body.


As with any alternative medicine, some research shows that acupuncture can be very effective in alleviating pain, while other evidence suggests that any benefits are due mainly to a placebo effect. The research is neither here nor there, in my opinion. Placebo effect or otherwise, I believe I am feeling better, the pain is significantly less, and I am extremely happy that I’ve added acupuncture to my list of healthy choices.

So, I’m taking back what I said about needles. I’m actually looking forward to my acupuncture appointment today. It turns out that needles are my new friends. Clearly I’ll make sure not to say that on the street if someone’s looking to sell me illicit substances!


I’d love to hear from you. Do you suffer from any chronic conditions that involve pain and inflammation? What have you found helpful?

If you’re on St. John and are curious, my acupuncturist is Dr. Julie Hatch. She has locations in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay.

St John USVI acupuncture

Julie took all of the pictures in this article that involve me lying down with needles in my body. You’ve got to love a doctor of acupuncture that is also a photographer. Thanks Dr. Julie!

St John USVI acupuncture

Ashley Cates, St. John USVI Blogger

1 Comment
  • Ashley
    May 8, 2015

    Angie, it truly is amazing, isn’t it? I am a big advocate of “alternative methods” of dealing with pain and illness. I feel like Chinese medicine treats the body as a whole, not just parts. Everything is connected- our physical and emotional selves. I am learning so much! Cheers to feeling great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *