By Cleo Wolf, L.Ac.
This is a hot topic these days and a very common question. Acupuncture as a profession in the US was only born in the 1970s. Since then it has been growing like a puppy, asleep most of the time and tripping over our own feet the rest of it. Business acumen is not a strength of acupuncture school curriculums. Because of this we have not been able to respond quickly or with clarity when other medical specialties encroach onto our scope of practice.
According to the state of Maine: “Acupuncture is the insertion of fine metal needles through the skin ... to normalize physiological function, treat certain diseases and dysfunctions of the body, prevent or modify the perception of pain and promote health and well-being. It is based on traditional oriental theories.”
The term Dry Needling was coined by an MD in the mid twentieth century who used hypodermic needles to inject trigger points to relieve pain. With experimentation it was discovered that no injection was needed, acupuncture needles work better to relieve pain at trigger points, hence “dry” needling. Trigger points have been shown to coincide with traditionally identified acupoints. Acupoints are locations known to access Qi at the surface of the body. Dry needling is acupuncture with different terminology and limited application.
Qi is a term that has no direct equivalent in western languages. Qi is what animates us, so is often called simply ‘energy.” Manipulating Qi is the mechanism underlying the effectiveness of acupuncture. However the restoration of balance to the complex system that is our body-mind is what relieves pain and restores function.
Traditional oriental theory does not isolate pain from the rest of the being’s experience, recognizing that the causes lay in imbalances that should be clarified and corrected. Without doing this the problem will likely arise somewhere else or simply re-occur. Balance can be restored by many means: movement, diet, emotional/mental hygiene, lifestyle changes, and acupuncture. Understanding traditional theory guides the way.
At Jade the Acupuncturists do the Dry Needling for the Physical Therapists. This means the patient has the provider with the most training bringing their expertise to the situation. Even without full assessment the constitution is evident to the trained acupuncturist who can then adjust the needling to provide safe relief of local pain without contributing to the problem. Acupuncturists do not needle like other allied health professionals - why should they? Acupuncturists employ traditional understanding and point manipulation to achieve results.
Bottom line: You can expect better results from an acupuncturist.
A still pond,
Frog goes plop!
In 1993 a study was conducted in Washington DC to see how a group of meditators can affect social behavior in their vicinity, the results were astounding. There was a 23% drop in violent crimes. The study was conducted by a quantum physicist, John Hagelin. It was not the first of its kind but perhaps the biggest. The idea is that we each radiate quantum fields and are sensitive to that energy as it is radiated by others.
Through our practice we contribute to a “healing field”, when we heal ourselves we help to heal the world. ~Roger Jahnke
In one pointedness meditation we begin with focus on a selected meditation object, and develop strength of mind. As this grows we maintain the focus and observe thoughts as they arise and let them go, rather than beginning to think about them. We begin to appreciate and gain insight into attachment and impermanence and our own nature. We learn not to believe everything we think. Letting go of this is pure pleasure. These lessons are experiential not intellectual, so they are literally written into the fabric of our cells. This changes our vibration, the quality of the energy we emit and experience. Together, one pointedness and insight, known as shamatha and vipassana are the meditation that produces the ripple effect.
As we change so does everything around us. We add to the world we experience through a gradual process of building momentum. As we progress we become more aware of this and our impact becomes less scattered and we are more able to influence what is perceptible to us through our choices and intention. This is the message of many physicists, neurobiologists and religious leaders around the world, that we are responsible to an unknown extent for our own well being and that of the whole world, especially in our immediate vicinity. Cultivating loving kindness and compassion in meditation is the most powerful act of choice we can make. It becomes its own path, where we benefit and so does everyone else. We become consciously creative. We awaken, gradually, more and more. We enjoy life more and more. Basing change and choices on such positive foundations determines a positive outcome.
In the process of meditation we see the Ripple Effect as it is produced and experienced by ourselves and by others. It is as simple as one thing leading to another and as grand as creation.
"I grew up in Vermont, my dad took the whole family to learn Transcendental Meditation when I was ten and I have meditated ever since. I backpacked thousands of miles and lived/worked for several years on the Long Trail, Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. That quiet time in the mountains along with the TM lead me to the study of the Dharma and I ordained as a Buddhist monk. I coined the term nunk because monk and nun are technically not Buddhist terms, but help to explain the path and is gender free. Most nuns don't mind being called a monk but find a monk that is willing to be called a nun! I became a nurse to emerge from the solitude on the Long Trail, and after many years in hospital I was drawn to a simpler gentler method of restoring health. This turned out to be traditional oriental medicine."
Licensed Acupuncturist, RN, Buddhist monk
"The pursuit of health is invariably a spiritual quest."