Many acupuncturists assert that the ritual of needling specific points is primarily a way of making therapeutic suggestions to the body. It is like offering the body some new input to work with so it can disentangle itself from the feedback loop and habit of chronic pain, imbalance, or weakness. Our bodies are miraculous self-healing organisms. When prompted and guided in the right way, the body has the amazing ability to heal itself. This is what all forms of holistic medicine intend to induce: A non-invasive, gentle, yet potent method of intervention that naturally offers to the body what it needs to heal itself.
Inserting a needle into an acupuncture point is a way of communicating with the patient's body. It is like saying to the body, "WAKE UP! " or "relax..." In fact, there are a number of intentions and suggestions that a skilled acupuncturist can utilize when working on a patient. Acupuncture is much more powerful when the intention of the practitioner is transmitted through the needles. In this sense, the needles can absorb this intention and penetrate the barrier of the patients’ skin. This is one of the most fascinating dimensions of this form of treatment. There are numerous occasions where patients directly feel energy shift in their body and seem to awaken to the intention that has been created prior to insertion of the needles.
As with all forms of holistic treatment, Chinese medicine begins with the theory that every human being has an innate resource of wisdom, strength, and health that can be tapped into at any moment. Acupuncture is a way of making contact with this incredible resource. In this sense, it emphasizes the truth that each of us must be held accountable for our health and quality of life. If life circumstances have caused us to feel alienated from this inner wisdom, then we can certainly turn to acupuncture as a way to reconnect with ourselves and awaken to our full potential. But acupuncture is not intended to be a cure-all for our health problems nor is it a magic bullet that will make all of our pain go away. A skilled acupuncturist will engage in a therapeutic relationship with the patient to help educate them about how they can take responsibility for their symptoms or imbalances.
By Brian Musial
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