The Unexpected Benefits of Acupuncture By Jessica Peck-Lindsey, DAIH

“Can it help?”, “Will it hurt?”, and “How does it work?” The answer to the second question, “Will it hurt?” is you may feel a light prick or you may feel nothing at all. Different areas of the body have differ- ent levels of sensitivity. The answer to the third question, “How does it work?” can also be explained simply by describing the concept of Qi and how acupuncture facilitates healing by opening chan- nels of blocked energy in the body. The third question, “Can it help?” is the most important question that patients ask. The answer is always, “Yes”, but it may help in ways neither the patient nor the practi- tioner were expecting.

W The Needle Facilitates Change

Early in my practice, I was working with a gentleman in his mid-fifties who sought acupuncture for general body pain. He was very dedicated to coming to his treatments and scheduled every week for about 7 weeks. He had pain in his back, pain in his rib cage, jaw pain, headaches, and elbow pain. As the weeks went by, he was talking less about his body pain and more about his dissatisfaction with work. His job was very stressful and he had worked there too long.

hen inquiring about acupunc- ture, there are three main questions that patients ask,

At one of his acupuncture visits, he told me he started the paperwork for retirement. He was retiring about 10 years early, but he felt his health was worth the sacrifice. So, he re- tired. I was stunned and amazed that he had the courage to follow through and make a life altering change like this. His pain was still there and with acupuncture, it was at a manageable level. It was following through with the plan to retire that was the unex- pected benefit of acupuncture treatments.

The Liver and Gallbladder: Making Plans and Putting Them to Action

The unplanned and unexpected effects that occur as a result of acupuncture treat- ment are many. What I have observed is that the most extraordinary of the effects are re- lated to patients putting to action a thought to make a life change. According to Chinese Medicine theory, the two organs associated with planning and executing the plan are the Liver and Gallbladder.

Coincidentally, these are also the two organs that are greatly affected by frustration and anger.

It is not uncommon to find that many Americans experience some type of Liver and Gallbladder disharmony and when the stuck and pent up energy are encouraged to flow freely with acupuncture treatment, the patient often experiences the drive to make

significant change in his/her life. Since my first year in practice, I have worked with people who have gone back to school in their 40’s, put their homes on the market and move across the country, get divorced, and even enter back into the workforce. Big life changes!

Window of the Sky

Another symptom associated with stuck energy is the slow clouding of the orifices. Imagine a window in a house; depending on the internal and external environment, it will get dirty and less clear to view through with the passing of time. The same thing can happen to our orifices and the senses associated with our eyes, ears and nose. A female in her early fifties had come in for treatment associated with a repetitive stress injury to her wrist and elbow. She returned the following week to report there was some change in her pain levels, but the more significant change she experienced was on the drive home after treatment. She noticed that all the colors of the trees seemed brighter, smells were more enticing, and music sounded prettier. She asked me if her experience was related to the acupunc- ture treatment. It was, but the subjective experience of heightened sensory percep- tion was not the goal of our treatment. Our treatment plan opened the Window of 9

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