The Unexpected Benefits of Acupuncture
When inquiring about acupuncture, there are three main questions that patients ask, “Can it help?”, “Will it hurt?”, and “How does it work?” The answer to the second question, “Will it hurt?” is you may feel a light prick or you may feel nothing at all. Different areas of the body have different levels of sensitivity. The answer to the third question, “How does it work?” can also be explained simply by describing the concept of Qi and how acupuncture facilitates healing by opening channels of blocked energy in the body. The third question, “Can it help?” is the most important question that patients ask. The answer is always, “Yes”, but it may help in ways neither the patient nor the practitioner were expecting.
The Needle Facilitates Change
Early in my practice, I was working with a gentleman in his mid-fifties who sought acupuncture for general body pain. He was very dedicated to coming to his treatments and scheduled every week for about 7 weeks. He had pain in his back, pain in his rib cage, jaw
pain, headaches, and elbow pain. As the weeks went by, he was talking less about his body pain and more about his dissatisfaction with work. His job was very stressful and he had worked there too long. At one of his acupuncture visits, he told me he started the paperwork for retirement. He was retiring about 10 years early, but he felt his health was not worth the sacrifice. So, he retired. I was stunned and amazed that he had the courage to follow through and make a life altering change like this. His pain was still there and with acupuncture, it was at
a manageable level. It was following through with the plan to retire that was the unexpected benefit of acupuncture treatments.
The Liver and Gallbladder: Making Plans and Putting Them to Action
The unplanned and unexpected effects that occur as a result of acupuncture treatment are many. What I have observed is that the most extraordinary of the effects are related to patients putting to action a thought to make a life change. According to Chinese Medicine theory, the two organs associated with planning and executing the plan are the Liver and Gallbladder.
Coincidentally, these are also the two organs that are greatly affected by frustration and anger.
It is not uncommon to find that many Americans experience some type of Liver and Gallbladder disharmony and when the stuck and pent up energy are encouraged to flow freely with acupuncture treatment, the patient often experiences the drive to make significant change in his/her life. Since my first year in practice, I have worked with people who have gone back to school in their 40’s, put their homes on the market and move across the country, get divorced, and even enter back into the workforce. Big life changes!
Window of the Sky
Another symptom associated with stuck energy is the slow clouding of the orifices. Imagine a window in a house; depending on the internal and external environment, it will get dirty and less
clear to view through with the passing of time. The same thing can happen to our orifices and the senses associated with our eyes, ears and nose. A female in her early fifties had come in for
treatment associated with a repetitive stress injury to her wrist and elbow. She returned the following week to report there was some change in her pain levels, but the more significant change she experienced was on the drive home after treatment. She noticed that all the colors of the trees seemed brighter, smells were more enticing, and music sounded prettier. She asked me if her experience was related to the acupuncture treatment. It was, but the subjective experience of heightened sensory perception was not the goal of our treatment. Our treatment plan opened the Window of the Sky points and moved energy that had clouded her senses. Opening these points can also have the benefit of restoring sleep and giving mental clarity. Very few patients would consider asking to have acupuncture treatment for heightened senses, but it is a likely benefit when the treatment plan includes using Window of the Sky points.
The Benefits Await
The human body is wonderfully complex and beautifully constructed. Our bodies are designed to always move in the direction of healing. When Qi gets blocked, the body has a difficult time doing the healing on its own. Acupuncture is one way in which to facilitate the body’s healing process. And since the body is complex and different bodily functions are intermingled, when one area of disharmony is addressed, other areas of the body find their balance too. This is why patients experience benefits beyond the main complaint. Try acupuncture and discover the surprising benefits!
Jessica Peck-Lindsey is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Integrative Health and owner of Peck’s Family Acupuncture, LLC. in Waterboro, ME. Dr. Peck-Lindsey holds a Master’s of Science in Pain Research, Education, and Policy from Tufts School of Medicine and is Certified in Traumatic Stress Studies from the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute. With the aim of being able to better provide for patients living with pain and traumatic stress, Dr. Peck-Lindsey opened the Wellness Center at Peck’s Family Acupuncture integrating therapeutic movement, trauma-informed yoga, Reiki, Emotion Code, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and wellness coaching along with individualized acupuncture and massage therapy sessions.
Dr. Peck-Lindsey can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.