The (Sometimes) Subtle Workings of Qi
Acupuncture is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which tiny, thin needles are placed subcutaneously in the body in order to bring a balance of energy in the body. Although the physicality of the therapy is inserting needles into the body, the real nature of it’s work is by shifting, unblocking and promoting the free flow of energy or qi of the Energetic Body. Each person produces heat, light, magnetic energy and resonate vibrations all of which interact and are affected by our external and internal experience. For example, great anger can produce considerable heat for the body whereas sitting in mindful meditation has a way of changing the very frequency in which our molecular structure vibrates. All of this is to say that the surrounding, invisible energy that we live in has a direct impact on our well-being and state of health. Health crisis can be a result (but not exclusive to) a chronic imbalance in a person’s energetic field. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) everything is made up of Qi. All things are imbued with a life force and when this energetic force becomes blocked or excessive or deficient in nature, the result can be a negative impact on our physical bodies. Ultimately, the unseen can become the seen and present itself as any numerous malaise, pain or disease. Acupuncture has the huge task of reordering or rebalancing this energy that is running amok. Make no mistake: acupuncture can have profound effects on the body but it is most important to remember that the shift is done on an energetic and sometimes very subtle level.
The prevailing western medical mindset is to deal with the symptomology of a person and to alleviate these symptoms as quickly as possible with very powerful drugs. We have become accustomed to this type of “fast-food” health service and the general public can find it difficult to accept the slower pace of recovery that acupuncture provides. There are two reasons for this slower pace. The first is the aforementioned way in which acupuncture works: by working with the subtle and sometimes capricious Qi of the body. The second is that TCM is a holistic medicine, which considers the entire person (physical, mental and spiritual health, work/home life, nutrition, exercise to name a few). The practice of such in-depth inquiry is to determine why and how the symptoms manifest. In short, TCM looks at the etiology orroot cause of the disease and individualizes treatment to that end.
Back to the delicate work of acupuncture: Because Qi can be influenced quite easily, directing it to flow in a beneficial way can be a bit unpredictable and at times, short lived. This is why a series of treatments is needed in order to redirect the Qi and maintain this new free flow. It is important to also keep in mind that the health issues we all experience, quite often, stem from a chronic imbalance of our Qi. Working with this subtle yet powerful energy proves how incredible our internal healing mechanism really is. There is a force that is intangible, at times fickle but undeniably magical. That magic is always within us. In fact, the magic is us. Acupuncture helps to unleash some of it to regain balance and to heal.