Say "Qi!"

I just wanted to share an amusing incident that happened to me the other day. I should preface this by saying that there is a particular method some acupuncturists use when inserting needles. When I am ready to needle, I have my patient take a deep breath in, and then I insert on the inhale or exhale, depending on the situation. Most people think this is to either prepare them for the insertion, or to distract them from the needle. They are partially right, but there is more to it than that. When we decide which points to needle, we also have to figure out how to treat those points. If the points are deficient (which means that we need to build the energy), we needle on the inhale. If the points are excess (which means that we need to drain the qi from that area), we needle on the exhale. The reverse also applies with needle removal; for tonifying (or building) the point, we remove on the exhale. For dispersing (or draining) the point, we remove on the exhale. Apparently all this qi manipulation has seeped into my subconscious mind. The other day several strangers asked me to snap a few photos of them. As I had them rearrange themselves into various poses, I noticed some odd looks. It wasn't until taking the last photo that I realized why: when I was preparing them for the photos, instead of saying "smile!" or "say cheese!", I had been telling them, "okay, now take a deeeep breath in...and breathe out."