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Most of the people I work with come to me looking for help around a specific problem. Some challenge in their life or in their health has been holding them back from living a life that they love.
I am always so happy, and indeed feel lucky, to help people find a solution, feel good again, and start to take steps towards fully engaging with their health, their friends and neighbors, and (most crucially) themself.
I was recently working with someone who left their first session saying, “I feel like myself again!” What a blessing it is to reconnect again!
But I want to share a secret today about a missed opportunity that all of us are likely to miss.
That secret is PREVENTION.
There’s a saying, from 2,500 years ago, in Chinese Medicine, that has a (rough) translation of: “The superior physician treats that which is not yet ill. The inferior physician treats that which is ill.”
There are several ways to read this passage.
The first way is one of the principles that deeply informs my practice: “Treat the person, not the illness.” Acupuncture works beautifully to strengthen your system so that your body can heal itself. Your body knows what to do, and it naturally wants to be well. It just might need a nudge to mobilize its amazing healing potential. (More on this in a future newsletter edition!)
The second way to read this statement, and the one I want to focus on today, is this understanding (which I feel is missing from our current healthcare system) of the power of prevention. Of staying healthy and not getting sick (or not getting terribly sick) in the first place.
The physician’s role, in this context, is to help you maintain your health and wellbeing!
Because of so many social and economic factors, as well as issues related to race, gender, the family you grew up in, what beliefs and genetics were passed down from your parents etc., most of us wait until we feel sick to get help with our health.
I totally get this and I’ve been there before myself.
But it’s actually much more cost-effective and caring towards ourselves to get support for our health periodically before we have that “uh-oh” feeling in our gut.
I’m not saying that you will never get sick again if you get acupuncture, but I do know, from my own experience and that of my patients, that you can build your internal reserves to stay stronger and healthier throughout your life by receiving ongoing care.
Just in the past few weeks I’ve watched patients stop taking heavy pharmaceuticals (with the guidance of their physicians as I am not able to safely help people taper their dosage) and not experience the grogginess or unpleasant side effects of withdrawal that they had in the past, before receiving acupuncture.
I’ve also watched people bounce back more quickly than they expected to from colds and flus.
And I’ve witnessed people reporting a sense of ease and calm and the capacity to weather stressful situations that would have sent them reeling before they started working with me. This is a huge benefit to me, as so many of us are chronically stressed out, which really takes a toll on your whole system.
I’ve been receiving regular acupuncture myself since 2004. “Regular” has sometimes meant weekly, sometimes seasonally (every 2-3 months), and, most often, it has meant that I go receive care from my acupuncturist once every 4-6 or 8 weeks.
This has been the rhythm that best supports my life.
Now I don’t have a time machine, so I can’t really prove that I’m healthier with receiving regular acupuncture treatments, but I can tell you that I feel well, have fallen into a deeper and more beautiful relationship with myself (which has allowed me to deepen my relationship with other people in a really beautiful way), and when I get the rare cold or flu or pain in the ass (literally, as I recently had a twinge of sciatica) I’m able to tune into my body and figure out what I need to do to bounce back.
The deepening of my relationship with myself, and with nature, has been one of the most beautiful (that word keeps coming up) effects of acupuncture that I’ve received. People I work with often experience better awareness of their internal experience--bodily sensations, thought patterns, habits and beliefs. This helps them learn to see the markers of stress or wear-and-tear much more quickly so that they can catch these and adjust.
If deepening your relationship with yourself and with your health sounds appealing to you, I would love to invite you to reach out to me to setup a time to talk. You don’t have to feel not good to get some real support! My acupuncturist once told me that sometimes the best time to receive a treatment is when you don’t feel like you need one! Those times, for me, have been juicy restoration which feels great.