The following is the first article in Chinosity’s series about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We follow writer Maya Ono’s journey of TCM rediscovery through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is 2016 and I am deep into my acupuncture haze. Friends and family who dare to let me in on their aches, pains, or slight discomfort, open the door to my knee-jerk TCM monologue response. 

“Why don’t you give Dr. Canfield a call, it can’t hurt to try . . .” (Note: I am taking this space to apologize to friends and family on the receiving end of my unsolicited advice. I still think you should give Dr. Canfield a call.) 

I undergo treatment for my gall bladder, TMJ, and yes – the thin annoying lines forming across my forehead. For years, I go to acupuncture weekly.

That is until the COVID-19 pandemic hits. The world shuts down, and acupuncture appointments are superseded by the fight for survival. 

It is only when I take refuge in my hometown of Chappaqua, New York and get vaccinated, that I can exhale. I can finally garner the mind-space to assess my body. 

A body that carried me through a pandemic. A body that has been anxiety-ridden for nearly 15 months straight. A body that has been fighting disease. A body that has been carrying the weight of my world. 

I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with for as long as I can remember. As an act of appreciation for my body, I began to search for a local acupuncturist.

After much research, I find Wei Yuan. Dr. Wei is an acupuncturist with a Western medical background based in Chappaqua. 

I walk up the carpeted steps to Dr. Wei’s second-floor office.  After nearly two years of isolation it all comes tumbling out. My pandemic weight gain, high levels of anxiety, depressive tendencies, tense jaw, and those wrinkles. 

Dr. Wei has me lay down on a medical bed and checks my pulse and my tongue. On the left wrist, she checks for heart, liver, and current condition of the kidney. 

“Your kidney!” Dr. Wei exclaims. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you better,” she comforts. On the right wrist, she checks for the lungs, spleen, and the “essence” of your kidney, or your constitution at birth. 

She checks my tongue for “dampness,” which I have. The good news – my lungs and heart are healthy and strong. 



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Maya Ono

Maya Ono is a food and lifestyle writer whose work can be found in publications including EaterLA and Westchester Magazine. When she’s not writing, Maya is spending time with her dog Sweet Pea and checking out her new favorite wellness ritual or tasty eatery.