As an acupuncturist, I play many roles. Past patients have referred to me as a doctor, a therapist, a mystical healer, and a guide.* Regardless of where my responsibilities begin and end, it is clear that different people see me as different things, depending on what their current needs are. Lately, I've seen my perceived role expand into something else altogether: I now seem to be the good, swift kick in the ass that some people seem to need to get going. Here's the thing: whether you are seeing a doctor, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, or anyone else in the healing profession, the first step to healing is you. You have to want to get better. You are the one who needs to take some responsibility to get healthier. We all want a magic bullet, but even the best medicine only goes so far; if you don't have the desire to heal, then you won't.

In my experience, most people really do want to get better. They honestly want to thrive. They just don't know where to begin. They need a catalyst, a kick in the ass to get motivated and to start their journey. And that kick in the ass is me.

I'm happy to play this role, and often surprised at how often I need to. I'm also constantly surprised that, for some clients, this is all that is necessary. There are so many people out there who want to create a healthier path for themselves, but they just don't know how. For these clients, all it takes is a little explanation and some cheerleading, and they are on their way.

Now that I have started incorporating hypnotherapy into my practice, it has become even clearer to me that we should take as much responsibility for our well-being as possible. Each and every one of us has the ability to create powerful changes in our lives, and it isn't even that hard. And here is how to begin: through self-hypnosis.

Let me first say that getting hypnotized by a certified hypnotherapist is an incredible experience, and I suggest that you all try it at some point. During self-hypnosis, you are not going to enter the same level of hypnosis that you reach with a certified professional, but it still works...and it works shockingly well.

Here is the first step to self-hypnosis: Think of one thing that you want for yourself. It doesn't matter whether it is quitting smoking, losing weight, or falling in love. Just visualize what you want, and then put it into a sentence in present tense. For example, you wouldn't say, "I will quit smoking." Your affirmation would be, "I am a non-smoker." Make sure that every suggestion you give yourself in firmly in the present.

After you come up with your affirmation, you will say it in bed, before you go to sleep, and as soon as you wake up, ten times to yourself. When you are at that point halfway between sleep and waking, you are in the closest state there is to a state of hypnosis. This is the point where the subconscious sucks in positive suggestions like a sponge.

*This being said, I should add that this is the wording that patients have used in the past when discussing what I do. I have never dispensed any sort of medical advice or therapy-when a patient does need help outside of my realm of expertise, I make sure to point them in the right direction: someone licensed to deal with their issue.