By Maryanne Pope
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that you're already in possession of everything you need to be well. Rather than focusing on what's missing, and adding something to fill the gap, acupuncture takes what's already there and rearranges it to restore balance. Acupuncture engages the body's own healing mechanisms to address underlying problems." - AcuTake Website
Have you ever gone for an acupuncture treatment?
If not, you might find the experience surprisingly... enjoyable.
I have been going for acupuncture treatments for more than three years now and love it. The original reason I wanted to try acupuncture was for the tendinitis in my wrists (due to writing).
But like many people, I suspect, I didn't get around to trying acupuncture until my mid-forties because I was wary of the needles. Okay, truthfully, the needles freaked me right out! I couldn't figure out how all those needles - I don't care what size they are - going into my skin couldn't hurt.
But they don't. Honest.
Instead, what the needles do, for me at least, is create an incredible sense of well-being and relaxation. Within minutes of the first needles being inserted, I begin to drift into a deeper level of consciousness.
My acupuncturist usually begins with my ears, for overall re-balancing, and then moves on to whatever area - often my forearms or shoulder - that needs attention.
After all the needles have been inserted, she waves some sort of nicely scented oil (such as lavender) near my face, then puts on the ocean-waves-lapping-against-the-shore music and leaves the room.
And for the next 40 minutes, that's pretty much how I feel: like I'm floating on my back in the ocean.
So my acupuncturist sees two very different versions of yours truly on treatment day. There's the bouncy, arms-waving-while-talking-a-mile-a-minute me who arrives for her appointment (with seconds to spare) and then there's the quiet, relaxed, Zen-like (rarely sighted in public) version who drifts out an hour later.
As for my tendinitis? It is significantly better now that I am managing it in multiple ways: daily stretches, wearing wrist guards whenever I am typing, regular massage therapy and acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work?
According to my handy little "Acupuncture in a Nutshell" booklet, this traditional Chinese medicine practice has been around for 5000 years.
Basically, practitioners of acupuncture are able to tap into the intelligent, energetic system that is inside each of us. Known as Qi (pronounced "chee"), this intelligent energy apparently maintains health and balance in the body.
When Qi is balanced and flowing freely through "meridians," the body's natural self-healing abilities are activated, enabling internal stability and harmony to occur.
Meridians are like rivers inside the body and Qi flows through meridians as an invisible current, energizing, nourishing and supporting every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland.
But a blockage in meridians will restrict the supply of Qi - and this blockage can manifest into various signs and symptoms. Over time, the body as a whole becomes weakened and its self-healing abilities are compromised.
An acupuncturist develops the skills to evaluate the quality, quantity and balance of Qi flowing within the body - and then gently places tiny, disposable, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points.
Acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where there is a deficiency and away from an area where there is an excess.
Benefits of acupuncture
1. It can strengthen the body and provide a strong foundation for the body to prevent future illness and disease - if a person has consistent treatments i.e. once per week, month, or 6 weeks. Consistency is the key. One or two visits 6 months apart will not do this - but can help to strengthen the body.
2. It activates the natural self-healing abilities of the body.
3. It is an ideal way to get well and maintain wellbeing at any age.
4. It is customized to the person being treated i.e. not the same treatment for everyone.
5. It can be an extremely relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Be Sure to Get a Registered Acupuncturist
The training for acupuncturists is either a 3 or 4 year program. So be sure to find a practitioner that is registered in the country in which they are practicing.
“It must be frustrating to survive the gauntlet that is our western medical schooling system only to one day come to the realization that you have been taught only to manage illness and disease instead of curing it.”
― Gary Hopkins