People always ask me why I became an acupuncturist. And I don’t have just one answer. Sometimes I tell them how I really wanted to work with people, in all different stages of life. Sometimes I tell them how as a competitive runner, I used acupuncture for various running-related injuries with very good results. Sometimes I tell them how, as a healthy 22-year-old, I suddenly experienced half of my face being paralyzed (Bell’s Palsy), and acupuncture was my saving grace, both in terms of recovery time and in terms of managing my anxiety around suddenly appearing very differently to the outside world. I talk about my interest in other cultures and their ways of viewing the world, going back to my childhood. I talk about how as soon as I started to learn about Chinese Medicine, it just made sense to me. I talk living in Asia and being influenced by Asian ideas. I talk about how my mom first suggested that I go to acupuncture, after she used it to cure a hip injury that nothing else was working for.
All of these answers are true. But they are each only part of the story. When I look back at the events in my life that led to me being an acupuncturist, I think there really was one defining moment. It was the first time I ever went to acupuncture – I was 19, with “nothing wrong with me,” just trying out acupuncture because I was curious and it was the kind of thing I liked to try. The acupuncturist asked me questions, allowed me to tell my story, and then did her own assessments using diagnostic techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine. While she was putting the needles in, I asked her to explain what she was treating. Afterall, I didn’t have a “main complaint” per se. As she explained the pattern that she saw within me, and what she was treating, I was astounded. I remember thinking that my body was speaking a language, and she knew how to speak that language. As a runner and a dancer, I thought I was pretty tuned-in to my body. The fact that she understood what my body was telling her, at such a deep level, blew my mind. I wanted to know that language.
Years of schooling and clinical practice later, I know much of that language. And I am still blown away by what our bodies can tell us.
Modern dancer Martha Graham once said “Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.”
I think of this often, as I treat patients. Only I add “The body’s…” at the beginning.
“The body’s movement never lies…”
That movement is the energy that flows within all of us. It is telling your story, if you only know how to listen.