I can still remember those cold, dark nights - mid-Winter in Toronto heading on the subway and then transferring to the bus and then another bus until I reached my destination - Harald's place. As I would get closer my memory of the last visit would start to unthaw and energize my cold and tired student body. No, this was no lover I was making the arduous trek for, this was Harald - Dr. Dienes - my Chinese Medicine Teacher at CCNM (ND school) and I treated myself on my student budget to regular treatment at his clinic - it was about an hour transit journey from the flat I shared with some other NDs in training.
I loved the smell of the oils and herbs and the warmth of the healing TDP lamp that he positioned over my belly as soon as I got there. He would feel my pulses, look at my tongue, ask a couple questions and put in the needles indicated by his assessment . I liked studying Chinese Medicine from the start - I appreciated that it could really help me see the individuality of a client and I liked acupuncture because it felt good and relaxing and nourishing. I remember heading up to the Yukon that first summer after school finished and asking Harald before I left if he would mark the points I needed needling so I could continue treating myself through the Summer - I had digestive issues from my trip to India and was keen on getting well. The first time I did acupuncture on myself was a bit unnerving but I was so grateful to have this tool - sometimes I didn't have needles and would massage the points - I think that helped too.
Sometimes I have to admit, that when I see the needles in my client or myself I see the process as if for the first time and marvel - I am so grateful for the enlightened souls that figured this all out for us to enjoy and benefit from. It is a bit of mystery how this all came together in such detail - with every point having a unique function in restoring balance and health.
When people ask me how it works I find that the best way is to explain that there are meridians that run through the body which are like highways of energy (Qi is what the chinese call it) - there's a meridian for every organ in the body and you can affect that organ by stimulating a point on that meridian line - if the energy is flowing well on that highway (meridian) then the organ gets all it needs to function optimally. You don't need to be "sick" or have symptoms to get acupuncture - in China it is not uncommon for people to go several times a week and to go preventatively - the pulses and tongue can show imbalance before symptoms appear.
"An acupuncture needle is like a traffic cop that comes onto the highways of the body and clears any traffic jams, helping the traffic flow easier." is a favourite analogy of mine.
Eventhough I'm grateful to be able to do acupuncture on myself to speed up a cold, a belly ache or help with stress/sleep, there's nothing like getting a treatment from someone else - acupuncture on yourself is empowering but can be a little like giving yourself a massage - so I do both.
I have had treatment from most practitioners in my town and each practitioner has there own gift to share with it that makes their practice unique to them. One colleague Dr. Knox has started up a business Embrace Community Acupuncture in my town with weekly group acupuncture in a yoga studio. This is a great option for individuals as acupuncture benefits from multiple sessions and this keeps the cost down. Group consults is a concept I am also drawn to and have experienced the extra benefit that can come from coming together for healing and rejuvenation.
So, why do I enjoy having acupuncture as part of my clinic work? It helps people tap into their body's powerful healing forces and to truly start remembering how to relax. So many illnesses are due to or are certainly exacerbated by stress and this is a great stress buster . Acupuncture is a great adjunct to the other naturopathic lifestyle measures and brings people into a state of deep relaxation that is very conducive to healing, to bringing clarity, to building resilience. To book an acupuncture appointment at the clinic, call Jill/Joyce 403 609-8385.