A Love Letter To Acupuncture
Dear S Life,
I became interested in acupuncture largely in part because my yoga training and teaching is heavily based in Taoism and other Eastern theories. Since acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine, I’ve been wanting to experience it —the only problem? I’m deathly afraid of needles! This past September, though, I finally mustered up the courage to try.
My yoga teaching methodology is centered around the tried and true idea that everything is energy; everything is connected to everything else. The essence of acupuncture makes sense to me, since it’s also based on this notion. Energy that gets stuck or stagnant in the body or mind festers and can create dis-ease. Acupuncture is a technique designed to move qi (or energy) throughout your entire body, especially through your organs, glands, and places that seem to be blocked. In my experience, the effects are profound.
I started seeing Shane Hoffman at the recommendation of my wonderful friend Simone Shubuck. My first experience with Shane was quite memorable. He comforted me about the fact that I was petrified, and assured me that I wouldn't feel anything more than the prick of a tiny insect. After inserting the first needle into my shin, I felt a wave of tension being released, like putting a pin in a balloon and letting the air slowly leak out. I could instantly feel my energy traveling in unfamiliar yet powerful way. After about 15 more needles around the rest of my body (including my face and ears), I was left in the room for 20 minutes to absorb. I could feel an immense amount of awareness in my body, in places I normally cannot or don't access in my consciousness, and then proceeded to drop into the deepest state of meditation I’ve been in a long time. I left feeling reset and truly transformed.
Because we change and our bodies change from week to week, day to day, second to second, the position of the needles also change. Every time I’ve been back to see Shane, I’ve had a different experience. Sometime I feel the greatest amount of release in my hand, other days it’s my neck. Shane always reads my tongue before the needling begins, and gives me yet another piece to the puzzle in figuring out my personal healthy state of being. Certain things like, why I always get sick in fall, and what that means in terms of my body. What my digestion is telling me. How my period is behaving. And what the film on my tongue means. He taught me that the invisible things in life are often more powerful than the visible. It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, as they have a powerful effect on the body. Everything Shane has told me has been a practical piece of information that I can use in some way to alter my environment to my advantage. It's also helped me articulate these ideas to my yoga classes.
No one had to sell me on acupuncture since the philosophy behind the practice of it is the same as what I believe in (and what I teach to my own students), but I know that many people, including many of my friends, aren’t sold on the benefits of acupuncture. It has taken a long time for people to believe in the powers of meditation, until recent scientific discoveries about meditation’s effect on the brain were released, and I believe this will be the same path that acupuncture will take in our culture. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but if you're looking for the next trend in health and wellness that has the benefits to back it up, commit to a regular acupuncture practice and you'll definitely be ahead of the curve.