Acupuncture and Adventures in Bizarroland

In this day and age, we’ve wandered far from our preconceived notions of acupuncturists as patchouli-drenched nudists who invoke spirits to heal their hapless clientele. At least, I hope that most of you have.

When you go in for an acupuncture appointment, you're more likely to feel as if you’ve wandered into a cross between a medical office and a massage therapist’s establishment. We keep things sterile and might have medical-looking tools, but we’ve usually got a little relaxing, cushy vibe to our environs…at least, as far as I have seen.

There are still acupuncturists out there who are…well, WAY out there: healers who practice this medicine with an esoteric flair. Many of these practitioners do incredible work, but I find that they tend to be terrible at marketing, mainly because marketing is all about delivering a clear message. And if you can’t properly explain what you do, it’s unlikely that you have a clear message to deliver.

Then you’ve got your very science-based practitioners, the ones who will never mention the word “energy” when it comes to their work. They are all about the biochemical reactions that occur within the body with the insertion of a needle.

There is someone for everyone, and no right or wrong way to practice.

I myself tend to be middle-of-the-road, as I am with so many things. I’m very interested in the science behind acupuncture, yet I honestly believe that there’s a little sprinkle of magic thrown in there, as well. Someone told me recently that magic is just science that hasn’t been sufficiently understood yet, and he has a point. But is it so wrong to want to believe that magic exists? That there will always be pieces of this medicine that work for no discernible reason other than our desire to create beautiful, positive changes in the lives of others?

Yeah, I sound like a freaking Pollyanna. But there’s worse things to be, right?

So this takes me back to my story.

We have this theory in TCM about the energy of the mother affecting the child. And yes, in Scienceland this completely makes sense. If you have a stressed-out, anxious mom, you are likely to see the same patterns getting passed on to the child. An angry parent creates an angry child. It’s basic psychology.

But what if this could relate to healing, as well?

In this medicine, we believe that treating the mother with the same points that we would use to treat the child can heal the child’s affliction. Oh yes, I already know how wacky it sounds. That’s why I don’t normally talk about it with patients.

But the other day, I had a regular client come in who is very open to everything. We have a great relationship, so I can speak freely with her. She mentioned being very anxious about her daughter, who had been running a high fever for five days straight. She had been to the doctor, and they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Although I was hesitant to bring it up, I felt compelled to say something.

“Ok, so you’re gonna think I’m nuts. I know it sounds crazy. But in this medicine, we have this theory about treating the mom to heal the kid. I don’t usually tell people this but…”

“Go for it,” she said. “You know I’m open to it. And I was thinking, before I even came in, that I was going to focus on her throughout my treatment and send her healing vibes. So this isn’t much different, right?”

I agreed, and then felt something in my hands. Within a few seconds, they were SO hot that they were uncomfortable. I put my hand over her face, not touching her, to see if she felt the heat radiating from them. She did.

I focused on her daughter as I used all the points on her mother that I would have used on her, if she had been lying there.

A few hours later, I received this text: “So…took her temp when I got home, and it was normal for the first time since Thursday! Coincidence??”