Radical self-care can be expressed in many forms. For me, it has been through experimenting with different healing modalities. One of which has been acupuncture, and let me express to you, I LOVE it. My acupuncture clinic was one of the first of my sacred self-care rituals that opened back up for business after the mandated quarantine during the pandemic. Although bodywork is a large part of my essential self-care modalities, I haven’t been able to see my massage therapist nearly as often as my acupuncturist and chiropractor. Being that both of them are medical Doctors, they are considered an essential business. Let me tell you—they’ve been a HUGE help. I attribute so much of my current creativity, joyful mood, calm essence and energetic flow to receiving acupuncture regularly (every 2-4 weeks).
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.”
Traditional Chinese medicine is a well of deep wisdom. It is holistic medicine at its finest and the belief in the mind/body connection (spiritual, mental, physical and emotional). My acupuncturist, Dr. Tom Etges offers me the attention that every patient deserves but doesn’t typically receive from a typical primary care provider. He took a lot of time to learn my family history, my work, what I am working on in my own personal growth, and any ailments that I experience emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. When doctors talk about treating the patient’s “body, mind, and spirit,” it can sound like a feel-good catchphrase. But in fact, there may be no other way to treat diseases that take years to develop and are intimately tied to the ways people think, feel, and live their everyday lives.
Acupuncture, for instance, has been shown to help with problems like back, neck, and knee pain. But it’s very hard for science to figure out how it works, since it involves so many components that are mental as well as physical. The technique of inserting the needles, the attitude of the practitioner, the patient’s own attention—all of these are built into the treatment itself. In Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Developing an Evidence Base, researchers note that ancient Chinese physicians saw the mind and body as “necessarily connected and inseparable” (Gritz, 2015).
It is challenging for me to put into words the benefits that I have received from acupuncture, so I will first tell you about our dog’s experience working with a veterinary acupuncturist. He is currently a 9-year-old pit bull who had surgery on his right knee (torn cruciate ligament) at only one year of age. He has slowly developed arthritis and became an ‘old man’ early on in life due to his major knee surgery. This year (2020) he was really struggling to move his body, eat, play, and even make it outside to go to the bathroom. We hired our friend and intuitive energy healer, Elise Ann Moore to have a session with Newman. Lots of information came through and she suggested that Newman start receiving acupuncture.
Fast-forward to today, Newman has received nearly 10 sessions of acupuncture. Working with the veterinary acupuncturist, we have adjusted his diet, supplements, and activity a great deal. Newman is now a completely different dog than he was a year ago. He is energetic, playful, has a strong appetite and can easily jump up and off of our couch and bed. Most of all, he can keep up with our 3-year-old Staffordshire terrier and that brings us so much joy. Needless to say, we HIGHLY recommend acupuncture for pets.
Newman ready for his acupuncture appointment. Beef lung treats help persuade him throughout the treatment…
Regarding my experience, I primarily began my acupuncture journey as a means to experience more alternative healing. I have experienced energy work, chiropractic, talk therapy, Akashic record readings, plant medicine, yoga, Western Medicine– the list goes on. There is a lot to my upbringing and family history that has required an upleveled approach to healing that I have been on a mission of for many years. In 2020, I was finally ready to incorporate acupuncture into my regime. I currently do not have any physical ailments (other than occasional back and neck pain from sleeping wrong or excessive weight training, etc), so I didn’t begin my treatments for a physical need. It was merely mental, emotional and spiritual.
Each session, the doctor sits with me and we discuss what is happening in my reality and what is on the horizon. He will then assess the method of treatment, apply needles to different areas of the body, and offer music to play while he leaves me alone for about 20-30 minutes (with an optional call button if I need him). Some days he offers heat lamps to apply far-infrared heat to my body and the needles. Now, what happens during the 20-30 minutes is often indescribable. I drop into the deepest, dream-like, liminal state that is challenging to describe. Sometimes I feel like I’m floating, and every time it’s like I just took the most refreshing nap (without actually falling asleep). My deepest meditations have been during acupuncture and they are profound. I always leave feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and most of all JOYFUL.
Although at times the needles can feel slightly uncomfortable when they are being inserted, once they are in, my body fully receives the treatment. The benefits I have personally experienced from acupuncture (and these are different for everyone) are:
-more restful sleep
-uplifted mood and daily attitude
-ability to think clearly
-ability to execute mundane tasks
-increased mobility and reduced inflammation in my body
-reduced mood swings
-alleviated depressive symptoms
The list goes on!
I know these results aren’t what everyone experiences, however, I did inquire with some friends on instagram and here is what they shared about their experience:
“Just had acupuncture today. I also can’t really describe how it makes me feel, but always makes me feel better. I love how acupuncture aligns with chakra work and often where I feel blocked I get a release/relief. I have been having tightness in my chest and heart lately and today my acupuncturist felt my pulse, rubbed my sternum and immediately could explain what I was feeling. It resonates with me so much more than western medicine practices.”
“Acupuncture has literally stopped panic attacks for me! I praise acupuncture 100% with you.”
“Acupuncture helps me drop into the parasympathetic state, which is where a lot of healing takes place. Depending on what Dr. Etges is working on, I notice significant improvements in my energy and mood.” -Jonah Boersma
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