It is said in Chinese medicine that when there is pain, treat the spirit (i.e. mental-emotional wellbeing) of the patient. Within the scope of acupuncture, this treatment of the spirit is usually accomplished by incorporating points on the Heart channel and/or special points in the ear that help to promote an overall sense of calm and positivity. Many times new patients are surprised that when they come in with a local area of pain, they find that we place acupuncture needles in areas that seem completely unrelated. The truth is, there are many reasons that we might do this, but often times it can be because we are placing points that will help you feel more uplifted and in the right frame of mind for healing.
In fact, it’s my belief that this is one of the greatest reasons that acupuncture heals so effectively. As opposed to the dissociative effects of pain medication, which dull our senses and cause us to feel disconnected from our areas of injury, Chinese medicine seeks to both heal the local area of injury and furthermore create a sense of wholeness and connection throughout one’s entire mind-body. Even in the context of other western therapeutic techniques, often only specific areas of pain are focused on, and I think many people leave feeling more like fractured pieces of themselves, even if and when they are experiencing reduced levels of pain. I may be biased, I think in general people want to feel happy, whole, and recognized for their complete experience, and I love being able to work within a context of healing that is able to incorporate all of the above.