Do You Believe In Magic?

Multiple semi precious gemstones on board

Do you believe in magic? I never have. It’s hard to believe when you live with a chronic medical condition.

I went to a summer camp for 11 years when I was a kid and there was a magician who came to visit every summer. My first summer he made a playing card stick to the ceiling of our Rec Hall. It stayed there for all 11 summers. I bet its still there to this day. Every summer I would check to see if it was still there, and even when I’ve been back for reunions. Not because I’m in awe of his magic, but because I’m skeptically trying to figure out what the trick is that’s keeping it stuck up there or whose job it is to reapply it before each summer.

I’ve recently gotten to the point where I’m willing to try anything and everything under the sun to feel better. I’ve turned to alternative therapies in the past, but I admit I didn’t give them a fair chance. Lately I’ve been adding in a lot more supplemental yoga, physical therapy and meditation to my routine which I’m finding helpful to what I’m already doing. I’ve heard of crystals and their healing abilities before and I’ve been intrigued but also skeptical because after all, can a rock really possess the power to heal? Or is it just a scheme that celebrities buy into because they need something to make them feel connected to the Earth so they can claim that they’re “grounded”?

I was in Upstate New York recently for a friend’s birthday and while I was there we came across this really cute store that was selling crystals. The store owner was talking about what each of them do. They were really pretty and I thought I could use something like that in my life, but I just wasn’t sold on the legitimacy of it all. Plus, it seemed expensive for a rock. But after we left I couldn’t stop thinking about that store and its crystals, which is usually how I determine if something is worth buying. Unfortunately, we weren’t going back to that area for the rest of the weekend.

Then this past week I got an email from a yoga studio I went to once inviting me to an event they were having called “CRYSTAL JOURNEYING WORKSHOP + REIKI CIRCLE”. It felt like a sign. In the description they were going to teach you all about crystals, their meaning, how to tell the real ones from the fake, how to use, clean and store your crystals, they were giving away a free crystal gift and then there would be a reiki circle at the end. I wasn’t too sure about the reiki circle but I felt like I needed to be at this workshop in order to get all of my questions answered.

I asked my sister and a friend to go with me but neither could make it. I was nervous to go alone but decided to be brave and do this for myself. There were only 5 people that attended the workshop which allowed for each of us to get a lot of personal attention. I went in there really curious and with an open mind. I learned a lot. Everyone there was so kind and friendly. I felt comfortable opening up about why I was there and asking any questions I had.

We did a crystal meditation with the clear crystal that was gifted to us and during the meditation I could feel its energy. It may sound unbelievable to some but the crystal which is naturally cold turned extremely hot in my hand and I saw visions during my mediation that have some very personal meanings to me.

We ended the workshop with the woman who led it performing reiki on each of us. I was nervous about this part only because I had reiki done to me once and I didn’t feel anything. If you don’t know what reiki is its a type of massage but the person performing it never touches you, they use energy and go over each of your 7 chakras to open up any blockages. I had a mask over my eyes so I could never tell where she was except for the fact that I could tell when she was over my crown chakra, or my head, because it was tingling. It felt like intense pins and needles. And then when she was at my throat chakra I felt pressure in my throat and then the same thing happened with my chest, which is the heart chakra. I didn’t feel any other sensations anywhere else but I saw Chip, my dog who passed away 3 years ago. I’m aware it sounds crazy but I believe he was coming to say hello after she opened up my crown chakra.

I entered the workshop with a migraine and left feeling amazing. I did, however, wake up with a migraine again the next morning. I’m not saying I’m going to forego my medication and only do crystal meditation and reiki from now on but I think supplementing the Western medicine with the Eastern can’t hurt. Egyptians and lots of cultures have been using gems and stones for thousands of years so if its good enough for them, why not me?

I think everyone should do whatever makes them feel good because at the end of the day that’s what matters — getting to a place where you feel well, even if its just for a few minutes. I bought a few different crystals since — amethyst, fluorite and blue citrine are particularly good for what I need right now — and I set my intentions and have them around my room and plan to use them as I see fit. I currently have a lot of doctor appointments and don’t know if I can fit reiki into my schedule at the moment but the yoga studio did say they plan to have reiki circle events coming up so I will definitely plan to attend those.

These are all words I never thought would be coming out of my mouth but I guess a skeptic with a chronic migraine condition can believe in magic after all.

Holistic Bliss

I don’t know about you, but until recently whenever I heard the word “holistic” before the word medicine. . . I thought it was a bunch of nonsense. It sounded like a big ploy to get people to pay money for some magical cure for rare ailments and illnesses… The organic cleaners of medicine if you will.

Last summer my Pilates teacher recommended me to a chiropractor to help with my migraines. She occasionally gets migraines as well, mostly when the weather shifts and the air pressure changes. She gave me the card to her doctor and while admittedly I was skeptical, the thought of trying something new intrigued me. Still, I put the card in my wallet and never got around to making an appointment.

Then about a month later I had an appointment with my neurologist. He rushed me in and out of his office like he usually does, barely listening to a word I said and completely disregarded the headache diary I had kept since the last time I saw him. He prescribed me more medicine, increased my doses and told me that if this doesn’t work the next option is Botox. I’ve heard of Botox being approved by the FDA for migraines but at 24 years old I never thought I’d be getting Botox injections. I was hoping I could at least wait until my late forties or fifties. I have tried so many different medications and seen just about every type of doctor you could find but I still believed in the bottom of my heart that there had to be another option besides Botox.

So I decided to give Dr. Margolin a call. I had only been to a chiropractor one other time in my life. I was told that I had scoliosis in high school and since back then I was trying to figure out anything that could have possibly contributed to my migraines, I went but like usual found no answers.

The only thing I knew about chiropractors was that they cracked backs. Since cracking knuckles has always given me the heebie jeebies and is on my list of Top Ten Pet Peeves, I was nervous for what was in store for me.

After meeting with Dr. Margolin I felt optimistic for the first time in a very long time. I felt that he was listening to me and genuinely cared about my history and wanted to help me manage my pain. He offered a fresh perspective on how to go about treatment and deciphering my migraines in a way that no neurologist has ever done before.

In addition to being a chiropractor Dr. Margolin is a certified nutritionist. A strange combination I know, but this allows him to better understand the body and how you can affect a lot of how you feel with what you put into your body. He runs a practice that includes but is not limited to acupuncturists, massage therapists, personal trainers, hypnotists and psychologists. Talk about your well-rounded doctors’ office! After leaving Dr. Margolin’s office and doing my own research at home, I realized much of what he said made more sense than any neurologist ever has.

After going to Dr. Margolin for a little less than a year now, I have been able to better manage my migraines. I went from seeing him once a week to once every two weeks now. Over time I have also tried to couple acupuncture and massage therapy with my chiropractic appointments. I stopped seeing the acupuncturist because I didn’t see any real change.  Now after taking a blood test and finding lots of imbalances, I’m dabbling with my diet and keeping a food and headache diary.

I am happy to say that I feel better today than I’ve felt in a long time. I am not 100% better, but I don’t know that I ever will be. I have come to appreciate any small changes, victories and breaks that I can get. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for Dr. Margolin and of course, my Pilates instructor. Though I may have doubted her at first I am now a believer. Magic really does exist. And I am proof.