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Acupuncture is like gardening

Acupuncture is like gardening

Acupuncture is like gardening

If you’ve been around an acupuncturist or any other holistic practitioner, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “treating the whole person”.  Have you ever thought about what this means?

It means that acupuncture is more like gardening than it is like car repair.  We can’t just take in our hurt shoulder, leave it for a few days and pick it up as good as new.  And we can’t expect someone to treat just our labels.  Every symptom is existing within a particular person, which is why there is no set treatment protocol for low back pain or migraines or anything else.  Everyone coming in with low back pain is going to experience it slightly differently.  Does it ache or does it throb?  What do you eat?  How do you sleep?  Do you experience a lot of fear?  All of these questions help round out the diagnosis and help your acupuncturist pick the best points that will help bring your body into balance and resolve symptoms.

It also means that we are not drawing an artificial line between what’s “physical” and what’s “emotional”.  At times this distinction is useful, but in reality there is no clear separation.  We can all experience this.  When you say you are feeling worried, or sad, or stressed, are you aware of where you are actually feeling that in your body?  There’s always a physical component, we’re just not always aware of it.  See if for the next week you can tune into your body sensations when you notice yourself using the word “feel” to describe your experience.  What do you notice?  Health exists on a spectrum – repressed anger doesn’t turn into acid reflux overnight, and yet that’s usually the direction it’s heading.  How soon can we tune into these messages that our bodies are giving us?  If we can learn to hear the whispers, the body won’t have to end up screaming at us that something is wrong.

Acutake, a wonderful blog on Chinese medicine, has a great post exploring this mind-body connection as it relates to chronic fatigue syndrome.  This is a controversial issue, with some folks claiming it’s caused by a virus, and others that it’s psychological and stress-related.  The truth is it can be both, and in fact, almost all chronic diseases have both a physical and psychological component.  This is where acupuncture excels because it works with qi, which could be described as the intersection between the physical and the emotional.  A recent study on CFS found that psychotherapy and a moderate increase in exercise were helpful.  They also pointed out that having patients become more aware of earlier signs of fatigue and learning what adjustments to make was very helpful.  If we just take away the pain or illness with a pill we’re not actually improving anything.  We’re just shutting down the messenger service and the body will have to find a new way to express its distress.  Most patients find that acupuncture helps increase awareness, leading to empowerment and long-lasting healing.

Image source: Balji B.

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The Nuin Center
5655 Bryant St
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
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Tue 10-7
Wed 10-7
Thu 10-7
Mon, Fri, Sat hours twice a month
Closed Sun
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Returning patients can schedule online with the button below. New patients please call to schedule. (FYI I have about a 6-8 week waitlist.)
Phone: 412.927.4768